Guest Post: Cultural Millinery Part 3

This week, we’ve enjoyed a series of posts on the cultural side of royal millinery, brought to us by New Zealand reader Sandra. She is back today for the final installment in this series- Welcome, Sandra!

As we saw in the previous two posts, royals adapt their dress (and hats) to respect other cultures and they also accept the honor of wearing hats and costumes from other cultures. We also see numerous royals embracing the heritage of their homelands by wearing traditional and folk costumes.

The Norwegian royal women are often spotted on National Day, May 17, in a bunad consisting of a colourfully embroidered vest, apron, skirt, belt and ringed headpiece or lace trimmed bonnet. They also wear these traditional folk outfits for festive occasions, such as the recent confirmations of Princess Ingrid, Prince Sverre and Leah Behn.

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A beautiful family portrait taken for the 2019 confirmation of Princess Ingrid Alexandra shows the women of the family in bunads with personal connections. Queen Sonja (in a bunad from East Telemark) and King Harald gifted their grand-daughter a bunad from Aust-Telemark for her confirmation. Mette-Marit wore the Hardanger bunad given to her by that municipality for her 2001 wedding. 

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Queen Margrethe, Princess Benedikte and Queen Anne-Marie wore traditional bonnets on their visit to Klaksvig, Faroe Islands, in 1963. You can read more about Faroese traditional dress here

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For their visit to the Faroe Islands in 2018, Prince Frederick , Prince Christian and Prince Vincent wore folded red and blue striped woven caps; Princess Isabella and Princess Josephine wore traditional blue bonnets embroidered with flowers. 

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The Swedish royal women wear bright blue and yellow embroidered folk dresses each year on Swedish National Day. For the married women, this traditional dress also includes a white folded linen headpiece.

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For Prince Gabriel’s christening in 2017, Princess Sofia wore the traditional dress and beautifully embroidered cap from her home province of Dalarna (also the Duchy granted to the young prince at the time of his birth). 

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Princess Margaretha of Sweden is photographed with her two eldest children, all in Swedish folk costume, in London in 1966.

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The Scandinavian royals are not the only ones who embrace heritage clothing. Princess Alexandra of Hanover, standing between her parents Prince Ernst August and Princess Caroline, had trouble with the wind and the straw hat that forms part of traditional Monegasque dress. The family was marking the principality’s national day in 2007. 

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Many here will be familiar with the lace mantilla and high peineta comb which forms part of traditional dress for the royal women of Spain. In 2004, Queen Sophia wore one to the wedding of her son, (now King) Felipe.

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Queen Letizia wore a mantilla and peinetta in 2004 to meet Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. Interestingly, in 2015 she broke with tradition as a bearer of the national flag and didn’t wear black and a mantilla to a ceremony. Lace mantilla have been worn in Spain since the 17th century with the comb added in the 19th century.

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And, finally, taken around 1947, this photo shows the royal children of Greece skipping in their garden in traditional costume. From left, Princess Sophia (who became Queen of Spain), Crown Prince, later King, Constantine, and Princess Irene.

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I’m sure there are many more intriguing examples of cultural headwear to be seen and look forward to the comments section!

Immense thanks, Sandra, for this great look at royal hats with significant cultural meaning. For this week’s discussion question, let’s continue the dialogue that Sandra has already set for us, dearest readers- what other royal hats can you think of with cultural connections?

31 thoughts on “Guest Post: Cultural Millinery Part 3

  1. Thank you for this great series Sandra. I haven’t had time to comment but enjoyed all the exotic and interesting royal looks. Luckily Derek has filled in the gaps concerning the Dutch royal family.
    I’m sure there are many more things to be found about this subject: maybe somebody should write a book about it!

  2. Here a picture of then crown prince Harald of Norway in traditional winter gear.
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    • Oh, my!
      What a wonderful photo!
      Not sure he could manage a proper tack or jibe with all of this fur, but it is a great photo nonetheless. Thank you!

  3. Wonderful photos, Sandra! I think of wearing national and ceremonial dress, both of your own country and those you are visiting, with respect and conviction as part of Royaling 101. I’m especially impressed by Mary, Silvia, and Sofia for picking up the costumes of their adopted countries.

    JamesB raises the question of kilts. We don’t see William and Harry or the young Cambridges in them as we did with the previous generations. Does that raise eyebrows in Scotland?

    • I’m not sure I can answer your question about William and Harry not being kilt wearers, but I did find this circa 1933 image of royal men in tam o’ shanters – Princess Elizabeth is beside King George V, while facing them is her father, the Duke of York (later George VI) nearest the camera and, I think, his brother Prince Henry of Gloucester.

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      The only Getty image I could easily find is from 1979 of Prince Charles in a tam is the military version worn by the Gordon Highlanders.

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      • Queen Victoria’s four sons in Highland dress from 1881, I suppose from left, the caption doesn’t actually say, The Prince of Wales (future King Edward VII); Prince Albert, Duke of Edinburgh; Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught; Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany.

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  4. The photo of Princess Alexandra reminded me that Prince Albert and Princess Charlene chose traditional Monagasque outfits, with straw hats, for the little bridesmaids at their 2011 wedding
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  5. I forgot about Charles and Camilla wearing traditional Colombian vueltiaos:
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    Charles (not surprising with his interfaith work) has worn a kippah on multiple occasions, and Willem-Alexander wore one back in January:
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  6. Sandra, another great post! Would the Imperial Japanese family also fit into this with their lovely outfits during the enthronement ceremony? I’ve also included King Jigme and Queen Jetsun of Bhutan. Queen Jetsun always looks impeccable and beautiful wearing traditional Bhutanese Kira.

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    • Here’s a 1959 photo from the marriage of then-Crown Prince Akihito and Michiko Shoda at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Thanks to the Court Jeweller website, there’s some great information about the traditional outfits (the couple also had a ceremony wearing Western dress).

      Shortly before the wedding, the Edmonton Journal previewed the complicated process of putting on the traditional attire for the wedding ceremony: “It will take Miss Shoda two hours and 40 minutes to slip into her wedding dress. She will be forced to bear up under 12 layers of kimono with the outer one a silk piece in orange red. Extra hair will be woven into her own to give her a coiffure that rises and then falls back into a ponytail.”

      The Journal also noted, “Akihito will wear a pair of wide silk pants that will cover his feet and form a train in the back. Michiko will also wear a similar pair of pants. Neither will be able to move without their retainers’ help.” Akihito’s hat is called a kanmuri. See more photos at text at http://www.thecourtjeweller.com/2019/04/royal-wedding-jewels-emperor-akihito.html

      According to the very informative Sengoku Daimyo website, this type of kanmuri is made by forming paper around a wooden form. This in then lacquered and silk laid on top and lacquered again to make it very stiff. They are made to be taken apart for storage. https://sengokudaimyo.com/garb/mens-headgear

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      • Here’s an image of Naruhito wearing a ryūei-no-kanmuri headpiece for his enthronement last year. The tail at the back is rather high, isn’t it?

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  7. Thanks for this great look at cultural/traditional headpieces Sandra! I certainly learned a lot.

    The Japanese Imperial Family were in full traditional regalia just a year ago at the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito: https://royalhats.net/2019/10/25/imperial-enthronement-ceremony/

    I remember we briefly talked about the tengkolok worn by Malaysian sultans (and others):
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    The songkok is worn by the Sultan of Brunei:
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    And other traditional Brunei/Malay headpieces and outfits are shown at their finest at Brunei royal weddings:
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    The fez, as worn by Prince Moulay El Hassan of Morocco:
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    Princess Mabereng of Lesotho and Queen Masenate of Lesotho in traditional headwraps:
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    King Letsie III of Lesotho wearing a beaded and feather crown at his coronation, and then later mixing cultures by wearing an outback fedora with a more traditional wrap:
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    • Brilliant finds, Jake! I believe the blue print on Queen Mesanate of Lesotho’s skirt, head wrap and hatband here is a traditional Basotho motif.
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  8. What a well researched set of posts, thank you. I particularly love these ones, it’s wonderful to see the families connected with their countries’ long heritages.

    I was thinking it’s a shame my own royals don’t do the same (though I’m not sure what our national dress is… Morris dancers? Beefeaters?!) Other than wearing kilts in Scotland the only equivalent I could think of that involves headgear was a young Princess Elizabeth at an Eisteddfod in Wales. Embed from Getty Images

    • It’s an odd costume isn’t it? The caption to a 1926 cigarette card of Elizabeth’s parents also in this costume says: The Duke and Duchess of York were initiated into the fraternity of the Gorsedd of Bards at the Royal Welsh National Eisteddfod, Swansea. Why do they wear a costume with such religious overtones? Wikipedia says “Gorsedd Cymru was originally founded as Gorsedd Beirdd Ynys Prydain in 1792 by Edward Williams, commonly known as Iolo Morganwg, who also invented much of its ritual, supposedly based on the activities of the ancient Celtic Druidry. Nowadays, much of its ritual has Christian influence …”

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