Royal Men’s Hats: Fedoras and Trilbys

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Guest Post: Men’s Hats

Longtime reader and regular commenter Jake, who lives in Washington DC and can be found on Instgram or Twitter @bestdressedmenno, entertained us last summer with his stylist-eye picks for hats from the wardrobes of Queen Elizabeth and Queen Maxima (part 1 and part 2) he’d like to see repeated. This week, he joins us for the first half of a 4-part series on a genre of royal hats that, unfortunately, has nearly disappeared. I’m so pleased to welcome Jake back to Royal Hats!

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a hat fanatic and that I have a sizable collection I wear. It’s been good to see more formal hats make a comeback in the past 10-15 years here in the U.S., and I’ve been happy to be a part of that comeback (I like to think I was an early adoptee haha!).

Unfortunately, most royal men we see seldomly wear a hat. Even Charles, the Prince of Wales, who is often on best-dressed lists, rarely dons a hat beyond Ascot and military events. The royal men most likely to sport a hat today would be King Carl XVI Gustaf, the Earl of Wessex, Mike Tindall, and before his retirement, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The hat styles we usually see are a military uniform cap, top hat, knit beanie/skullcap, or ballcap, meaning either extremely formal or quite casual. Certainly there have been some appearances of a fedora, trilby, flat cap, or bowler, but these have been irregular, to say the least.

Therefore, I’ve decided to take a look at some more “every day” hat styles and throw some suggestions out into the universe as to which royal men should try these styles, hoping they will catch on. Upcoming posts will focus on fedoras, caps, and a roundup of miscellaneous styles. 

To get us started, here are some flashback photos of royal men in hats that could still be worn today:

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Albert, Duke of York; Emperor Hirohito; Crown Prince Olav of Norway; Lord Louis Mountbatten wheeling the future Edward VIII; Prince Andrew of Greece (father of the Duke of Edinburgh)

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Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma (husband of Grand Duchess Charlotte); King Bhumibol and King Gustaf VI; George, Duke of Kent and Edward, Prince of Wales; King Alfonso XIII; Albert, Duke of York

Finally, as one of the most fun finds in my research for these posts, here are a few photos of (then) Crown Prince Akihito shopping for hats at Lock & Co. Hatters in London in 1953:

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What kind of hats would you like to see worn by royal men? Which royal men do you hope add some hats to their closets in the future?

Thanks so much, Jake, for this introduction and look back at some wonderful hats. The shots of young Akihito at Lock & Co. are simply marvelous! Stay tuned tomorrow, everyone, for the second post in this series.  It’s going to be a fedora frenzy!

Monday Multiples: Queen Elizabeth

Thanks to Jimbo for providing the introduction and background research for this “Monday Multiples” series.

Jimbo’s Introduction: SIMPLY MAUVE-lous! Even though Queen Elizabeth looks great in practically every color imaginable, there is no disputing how wonderful and regal she appears in ANY shade of purple! Here is a fantastic pair of hats, both of which could have been pinched from Queen Maxima’s closet!  Two hats, two suits/coats – three combinations for all to enjoy.

Look #1: Mauve widely woven straw ruched toque hat with silk flowers on the side, worn with a grey, gold and mauve floral printed skirt and blouse and a mauve crepe coat worn March 17, 2000 in Australia, May 09, 2000 on the Millenium Bridge Walkway and June 9, 2001 at the Epsom races

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Look #2: Mauve straw hat with tall crown, sidesweeping brim and large twist trim worn with a solid dress and patterned jacket worn  June 23, 2000 to Royal Ascot and November 14, 2001 to Goodenough College in London

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Look #3: The blouse, skirt and coat from Look #1 with the hat from Look #2 worn June 06, 2002 to a London Hindu Temple

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Which combination to you think works best?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

Unusual Color Scheme?

This week’s discussion question has us diving back into Queen Elizabeth’s millinery closet. It’s going to be a colourful discussion as we explore, dearest readers, which one of her hats contains the most unusual (or unique) combination of colours? 

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A tutti fruitti angular cloche at Royal Ascot in 2009 and a lilac & turquoise hat at a 2008 palace garden party

Photos by Getty as indicated

Monday Multiples: Queen Elizabeth

Thanks to Jimbo for providing the introduction and background research for this “Monday Multiples” series.

Jimbo’s Introduction: On April 21, 1986, Queen Elizabeth celebrated her 60th birthday by gifting US: two hats on the same day, and they couldn’t be more different!  The sunny yellow brim-less tam which matched HM’s cheerful spring coat could be seen from the Buckingham Palace balcony very easily.  For the Royal carriage ride, a black straw hat with a wonderfully unique brim was chosen – sheer and wavy.  Her Majesty chose the same ensemble two months later for the Royal Ascot, sans coat this time.  Chic and elegant.

Look #1:  Yellow stitched tam trimmed with white braid and silk flowers and leaves worn February 17, 1986 in Nepal and on April 21, 1986 on the Buckingham Palace balcony

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Look #2: Black straw crowned hat with transparent, waved brim also worn on April 21, 1986 and on June 18, 1986 to Royal Ascot

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It’s not often that the Queen changes hats half way through an event. Which hat do you prefer most with this yellow coat?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

Square Hats?

When I came across this undated photo (late 1940s I would guess) a few months ago, the square shaped hat brim on a young Princess Margaret intrigued me. How many other square royal hats can you remember, dearest readers? I can only think of one…

Monday Multiples: Queen Máxima

We’re going to take a quick series detour today into Queen Máxima’s closet. Jimbo’s posts will return next week!

Today we’re going to look at the three neutral hued hats that Queen Máxima has paired with her Natan emerald silk suit:

Look #1: With a beigey-pink ruched calot hat by Fabienne Delvigne worn September 14, 2014 

Look #2: With a golden-wheat straw Fabienne Delvigne slice hat worn June 18, 2016 

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Look #3: Almond straw cloche with side feather spray by Fabienne Delvigne worn May 28, 2019

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Which hat do you prefer most with this suit?

Photos from Getty as indicated; Patrick van Katwijik via Corbis