Imperial Anniversary Celebrations Continue at Tea Party

On Tuesday morning, a tea party for notable persons of the Heisei era was held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo in continued celebration of Emperor Akihito’s 30 years on the throne. As hostess of the event, Empress Michiko did not wear a hat and as Crown Princess Masako did not attend, the most senior Imperial family member in a hat was Princess Kiko. We don’t associate Princess Kiko with millinery surprises but that’s exactly what she delivered at this event, joining her daughters in the bandeau trend that’s sweeping the globe!

In fact, all of the Akishino princesses appeared in bandeau headpieces- Kiko in a new cream one while Princess Mako repeated her beautiful peacock blue design with diamond pattern and Princess Mako repeated her pale lemon yellow silk jacquard bandeau with floral trim behind the ears.


The Mikasa and Takamado princesses also attended the tea party. Princess Nobuko wore a new pleated burgundy calot (it photographed as deep scarlet in some light but read as more purple on video footage) with single feather trim. Princess Akiko repeated a cream hat with short brim and pleated hatband and Princess Yoko repeated a tall, ruched dusty pink pillbox trimmed in wispy feathers.

Princess Hisako wore an interesting leaf green flat hat with what looks like square points and feather trim while Princess Tsuguko looked lovely in an orchid purple formed beret (covered in silk, I would imagine) with feathers on the side.

I suspect the emperor’s upcoming abdication has made this anniversary celebration into such a large, multi-day event but no matter the reason, it’s great to see the Imperial family lend their support (and their hats!) and I was particularly happy to see Mrs. Sayako Kuroda  in attendance. I wish we could see better views of the Takamado princess’ hats because they look memorable. Which designs here stand out most to you?

Photos from FNN; The Asahi Shimbun and The Asahi Shimbun via Getty

7 thoughts on “Imperial Anniversary Celebrations Continue at Tea Party

  1. I love all of these hats, but I like Kiko’s the best. Bandeaus are not my favorite, but this one has lovely detail and goes very well with her hairstyle. It’s too bad there aren’t more or better close-up photos of these hats. Am I correct in assuming that Mrs. Kuroda is not wearing a hat because only the royals wear them at this type of event? Looking at the photo and video of the assembled guests, it does appear that the other female guests were not wearing hats.

  2. Very pretty bandeaus on all the Akishino princesses, although Mako’s peacock blue is my favorite. Hope we see Princess Hisako and Princess Tsuguko repeat theirs. Both look quite promising, but it’s difficult to tell from these photos.

  3. The bandeau hats are gorgeous! I particularly love Princess Kiko’s hat. She looks so beautiful in that style. Very chic! The peacock blue on Princess Mako is so pretty.

  4. I am sad to see the Crown Princess Masako was not in attendance at today’s tea party. I too like the bandeau hats and it was lovely to see the senior princesses wearing them. Looking forward to the enthronement of the new emperor and empress.

  5. These bandeau hats seem ideal for the style of dress they wear for these events. Sometimes the hats look like they would be lovely with a suit or shorter dress but don’t flow as well with the sleeker, more evening/formal dresses. Like pairing local wines with local foods, this was easier when hat and long dress was a daily pairing and styled to go together. These are very flattering, too.

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