I’m so pleased to welcome Washington D.C.-based reader Jake back to Royal Hats today for the third of a four-part series on men’s millinery. You can catch Jake and his impeccably stylish hats on Instagram or Twitter @bestdressedmenno.
When I say caps, I don’t mean ballcaps or military caps. Instead, I use “cap” as the overarching term for styles such as newsboy cap, flat cap, driving cap, ivy cap, etc. Caps are pretty democratic as a hat style (meaning they look good on most people), and while they are often associated with the working class, they have long been worn by royals and nobles as well (traditionally for “leisure activities”).
More recently, the cap has been worn by many members of the British royal family, although these outings are not always well documented.
Except for the military, the famous beret has very seldom been worn by royal men (in contrast to the plethora of beret variants worn by royal women). A few examples I’ve found, in addition to King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden in 1953, are:
Embed from Getty Images
Count Lennart Bernadotte in 2004; the Sultan of Brunei in 1933; the Duke of Windsor in 1931
It is not surprising the beret has not caught on beyond the military, for it has long been associated with more leftist politics, the working classes, and revolutionaries (think Che Guevara), images usually uncommon with royalty. But the modern beret originated as the txapela in the Basque country of France and Spain as a way to protect one’s head from drizzling rain, and later became a stereotypical symbol of France (another image that would cause shyness towards adopting this hat). Thinking about who could best pull off the beret, I nominate Grand Duke Henri and his sons, King Philippe, and Prince Harry.
Finally, as a variant on the beret, I leave you with this image of Prince George, Duke of Kent and Prince Albert, Duke of York in tam o’ shanters.
Who do you think would look best in cap or a beret?
Thanks for another interesting post Jake! Stay tuned, everyone, for the final post in this great guest series, tomorrow.
Photos from Getty as indicated