Royal Men’s Hats: Final Roundup

It has been wonderful to welcome longtime American reader Jake to Royal Hats for this great series on men’s millinery. He wraps up this series today but you can still catch Jake’s fashion and hat musings on Instagram or Twitter @bestdressedmenno.  Welcome back, Jake, and thank you so much for sharing your passion and millinery expertise with us!

There are of course multiple other styles of hats that men will still bring out to wear once in a while. As top hats have already been detailed through Chicago Chuck’s millinery adventures here and here, and ballcaps are so casual, I won’t discuss those styles, but I have included a final roundup of other styles to could be worn in addition to those I’ve already featured.

Porkpie: While this remains a popular style of hat (I’ve sold many this summer where I work), there are virtually no precedents for porkpies on royal heads as far as I could find. Porkpie hats, a cousin of the boater (see below) and second cousin to the fedora, are often associated with musicians and worn a bit more casually. Two royals I could see pulling off a porkpie would be Prince Harry and King Willem-Alexander.

Homburg: A cousin of the fedora, this style of hat was the royal hat to wear if one wasn’t wearing a top hat. Largely out of style these days, I can see Prince Michael of Kent rocking one with no problem. A recent example is King Olav V of Norway, while historic examples include a young Duke of Windsor and the Duke of York and King George V, below.

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Boater: A style once very common as a summer hat, now the boater (also called skimmer) is often seen as costumey. I personally find a boater looks less costumey when worn with casual clothing, although I do also wear mine while dressed up. Prince Michael of Kent, Grand Duke Henri, and the Earl of Wessex could all pull off the boater in my opinion. A very young King George VI could serve as inspiration for the youngest royals, like Prince George.

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Bowler: We do see the bowler still worn at times, especially by the Prince of Wales. Like the boater, this hat was once popular, but now is more of a stereotype. William and Harry have sported bowlers for the annual Calvary Sunday parade in Hyde Park by members of the Combined Cavalry Old Comrades Association (participants traditionally wear a suit, their regimental tie and a bowler hat) but it’s hard for me to imagine them on anyone besides British royals. What do you think?

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Ushanka: Usually beanies/watch caps/stocking caps are the go-to casual hat to keep one warm during the coldest parts of winter. If one wants to stay warm while looking more formal, try a ushanka, papakha or trapper hat. The ushanka has ear flaps that come down to cover the ears and usually ties under the chin to maintain the warmth and is style that could be worn by virtually any royal man. The Earl of Wessex wore a ushanka in Moscow, while Prince Harry donned a trapper hat while trekking across the Artic and the Prince of Wales wore a variant in Canada.

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While unlikely to catch on with most royals beyond a novelty or casual outing, here are two additional styles to check out:

Cowboy: I hear the Dowager Countess of Grantham (of Downton Abbey fame) asking when we will hear “tales of how the West was won” when I think of royals in cowboy hats. Of course, this style has been worn by British royals at the Calgary Stampede and other similar events in Canada. The Duke of Cambridge wore one in Calgary in 2011, while his uncle the Duke of York was seen in one in Alberta in 1987.

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Additionally, the Akubra, Australia’s rancher hat, has been worn by multiple royal men:

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Duke of Sussex, Duke of Cambridge and King Willem-Alexander

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Prince of Wales and Peter Phillips

Bucket: Finally, there is the bucket hat, a casual hat a step above the ballcap (if ranking hats from casual to formal). The royal most likely to wear this style is Princess Anne, but her brother Charles has also sported it, and certainly many other royals could pull this off.

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What is your final verdict? Do you think we’ll see more hats on royal men in the future, or is it only a hopeful dream of yours truly? I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief excursion into men’s hats. It was a lot of fun discovering all of these hats for you, and being able to again personally share my love of hats with the fantastic community here at Royal Hats!

My immense thanks, Jake for writing this interesting and insightful series. Let this inspire more kings, princes, dukes and their family members to take up wearing more hats!

Photos from Getty as indicated

25 thoughts on “Royal Men’s Hats: Final Roundup

  1. Thank you Jake! A fascinating and well researched series. Very enjoyable to peruse, and some wonderful vintage and historical photos were sourced and included as well. All concerned have done a wonderful job!! A delight to read and learn.

    • Thank you for reading MrFitzroyCBE! Definitely could’ve found many more photos, but then I would have time for nothing else haha.

  2. Jake, this has been a fabulous series. Every type of hat featured would be a good choice for a royal ( I make an exception for the bucket hat, which is army issue in Australia where it is known as a giggle hat. It is a practical item for conditions where a regular service hat would get in the way, such as jungle warfare, and makes sense with army fatigues and battle dress; but I don’t think it adds to anyone’s personal style outside of that context.)
    Prince Andrew wearing a forest green Tyrolean hat in 1972 (you can see it in colour here) https://www.gettyimages.com.au/detail/news-photo/queen-elizabeth-ii-with-her-sons-prince-andrew-and-crown-news-photo/1061789344?adppopup=true
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    1927- Edward Prince of Wales in a leather flying cap, part of his flying outfit (he got his pilot’s licence in 1919)
    https://www.gettyimages.com.au/detail/news-photo/the-prince-of-wales-later-king-edward-viii-ready-for-a-news-photo/188001979?adppopup=true

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the series mcncln! Hmm, didn’t know bucket hats were called giggle hats in Australia; seems a bit unfortunate haha. And while I don’t think they are the most flattering of hats, bucket hats do have their moments occasionally and are still worn with some regularity in our world, hence my inclusion of them here.

  3. Hi Jake, As an Australian I’d like to say that Akubras are worn by farmers as we don’t have ranchers here. However, thank you for including them here. Actually anyone who has a job in the country wears them as you really need sun protection here. I noticed that Akubras are quite different in style to the Canadian cowboy hats and to the American stetsons. They tend to have a shorter brim, and crown, and not be quite so curved at the sides and the most typical ones tend to have indents at the front as that’s where they’re held to take on and off the head. Although having just hopped onto the Akubra website (yes it is a brand as well as our generic name for all such hats) they do make different styles including stetsons and cowboy hats but they are not the typical ones worn by the average country person. And I say person because these hats are not just worn by men but by women too. I own one although it’s not the Akubra brand. Also we tend to gift them to our male royal visitors if they’re going out to the country or an outdoor event. Thanks for the post!

    • Yes, like Stetson here in the U.S. (or other name brand products, like Kleenex), Akubra has become synonymous with a particular style of hat, even if it’s not made by that specific company, or the company makes other things. Stetson is famous for their cowboy hats, but they also make a variety of fedoras and trilbies as well. What some may call Akubra as a general term, I would describe as “outback”. And presumably the hat Willem-Alexander is wearing in the fedora & trilby post is a genuine Akubra.

  4. Thank you Jake, for these very interesting and well documented blog posts!
    All the royal men in the pictures look so handsome in their various headwear; it makes me wonder why they (or any other men for that matter), do not wear hats more often!

    I have a question related to yesterday’s post about caps:
    While we often see British Royals wearing flatcaps, we never see them wear octagonal cut caps, commonly called “news boy” caps. (The style is becoming popular again among hipsters due to the succes of the series “Peaky Blinders”.) Is this because the news boy cap is seen as more of an American style as opposed to the tweed flat cap, traditionally worn by British farmers and gentlemen, or is their an other reason you know of?

    • I’m glad you enjoyed everything Wies! I also wonder why men in general don’t wear more hats more often. I watched a few classic movies this week from the 1950s and 1960s (Sabrina, Torn Curtain, and Love In The Afternoon), and it’s interesting how women, if they were wearing a hat, wore small hats (calots, circlets, cocktails, cloches), while the men were still often seen in fedoras, trilbies, or even a homburg. I think in the post-WWII decades, women wanted to explore hairstyles more and therefore hats became more of a special occasion accessory than everyday wear, while it wasn’t until almost the 1970s (when youth culture took front stage) that men’s hats really started to die off. But that’s just my theory.

      Concerning your question about caps, I think the newsboy cap is a little harder for some people to wear; Mike Tindall, of course, looks great in a newsboy cap, and I think it’s is wider face that helps him pull it off: https://royalhats.net/2018/03/16/cheltenham-festival-day-4-2/. I suppose I never thought of the newsboy as more “American” and the flat/driving cap as more “British”, but that could be a possible reason.

      I look best in a flat/driving cap, and while newsboy caps look okay on me, they just don’t suit me in the same way as a flat/driving cap. Duckbill ivy caps are the most difficult style of cap (in my opinion) to pull off as they are narrower and swoop up in the back more.

  5. These are some splendid photos. HatQueen, the 1866 photo of the Russian and Danish royals is amazing.

    Hoping for more male royal hats, preferably fedoras and trilbies!

  6. The British royal family turns to Canadian company Smithbilt for their cowboy hats, which have appeared on a few more royal heads!
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    • I never knew about Smithbilt before, probably because Stetson is the brand people think of here in the U.S. for cowboy hats (even though Stetson makes other styles, and other companies make cowboy hats).

  7. What a marvellous series Jake, thank you so much for your time and sharing your wealth of knowledge. Coincidentally, I found these terrific photos only yesterday.

    King Hussein of Jordan (front left), Harrow School, photographed in about 1951. And his brother, Prince Hassan bin Talal, at the Speech Day ceremonies, June 23, 1961.

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    • Magnificent example of caption writing and I love the jaunty angle of Hussein’s boater:

      Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan (right) is welcomed back to school at Harrow by Prince Mukarram Jah of India, grandson of the Nizam of Hyderabad. The Jordan Prince returned from his hiding place in Switzerland, where he had been staying with his mother, Queen Zain. The queen was reportedly hiding from her husband, King Talal, with whom she argued on the question of British-Jordanian relations.

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      • Wow, I didn’t know about the Harrow hat before. An interesting take on the boater shape, it’s strange they have such a low crown and are often worn at a cocktail percher hat angle. Great finds Sandra!

  8. We’ve also seen the Duke of Edinburgh, in bowler hats, along with the Prince of Wales, Duke of Kent and Prince Michael.

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  9. I couldn’t resist digging through the archives and found some historical bowler hats on the heads of kings, princes and dukes.

    King Edward VII
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    • King George V
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      • King Edward VIII (Duke of Windsor)
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        • King George VI
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          • And finally, a fascinating photo of bowlers taken in 1866.

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