I’m so pleased to pass the reins of Royal Hats over to longtime reader and regular commenter Jake for the second installment of a 4-part series on millinery worn by royal men. You can catch Jake and his many stylish hats on Instgram or Twitter @bestdressedmenno.
“Fedora” can be a catchall word that can describe many variations of this type of hat. Fedoras can have small and large brims, center dent crowns or teardrop crowns, upturned and downturned brims, hatbands and feathers or none at all! Fedoras can look polished traditional, weathered, and even outback-esque (think Indiana Jones); they can be made from various straw materials (such as panama straw/toquilla palm, shantung straw, toyo, raffia, sisal, and paper straw), wool or fur felts, cotton and linen, leather, and even synthetic materials. One can wear a fedora with jeans and a T-shirt, a suit, and everything in between. Worn by any gender or age, fedoras are probably the most versatile hat today.
While homburgs and bowlers were more common daytime hats for most royal men in the first half of 20th Century, the fedora sometimes was photographed on royal heads.
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King Alfonso XIII of Spain and Emperor Akihito when he was a young crown prince
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King George VI (as a young Duke of York) and Prince Nicholas of Greece & Denmark
(far right, father of Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent)
In more recent years, saw the Duke of Edinburgh wear numerous straw designs and since the Duke’s retirement, King Carl XVI Gustaf has taken the leading role with his fedoras.
Otherwise, it’s rare to find a fedora on any of their colleagues. A couple exceptions include the Earl of Wessex, who owns a wide brim panama fedora, and Mike Tindall, who has worn trilbies occasionally, but usually at casual outings (a bit more on trilbies below).
I have some suggestions of fedoras and the royal men who could wear them. A teardrop-shaped crown fedora often looks good on those with squarer faces (like me!), so I think King Willem-Alexander, Prince Carl Philip, Prince Harry, Prince Daniel of Sweden, Prince Charles, and Crown Prince Haakon could all pull off this style quite well.
A general fedora (often with a center dent crown shape) could be worn by others, such as King Felipe (taking a cue from his sister the Infanta Elena), Crown Prince Frederik (whose father wore many styles of hats), Emperor Naruhito, King Philippe (as Crown Prince), and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, but virtually any royal man could pull off a fedora in my opinion. The Danish royals, like Prince Joachim and his sons, could support Danish hatmaker Hornskov hats (not an official or paid endorsement, just a suggestion!). Even African royalty have occasionally donned fedoras, such as King Letsie III of Lesotho.
Finally, there is also the trilby, which is a sibling of the fedora. A trilby is quite similar overall to a fedora, except it has a much smaller (stingy!) brim that curls up around the back. As previously stated, Mike Tindall wears this shape well.
Some of the younger royals (such as Frederik & Mary’s sons, or Viscount Severn) could wear a trilby as a transitional hat. I also think Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg would look good in a trilby. Even Prince Michael of Kent could rock one again, as he did so when he was younger.
What do you think about the fedora and trilby? Who would you like to see in these styles? Are there photos I missed of royal men in fedoras?
Thanks for another interesting post, Jake! Readers can jump over to this post for more information on this history and characteristics of a fedora, or this post for the same on a trilby.
Photos from Getty as indicated