Royal Hat Round Up

Numerous royal hats have been worn over the past month:
April 22: Princess Benedikte repeated her sky blue felt hat with pinched fedora crown and sharply upfolded brim on one side.

April 28: Empress Masako wore a short brimmed cream silk covered hat for the Midori Prize Ceremony.

April 30: King Carl Gustaf and Prince Carl Philip in uniform caps at the king’s birthday celebrations
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April 30: Crown Princess Mary in a new plaited bandeau by Tasmaian milliner Haidee Neall for the 75th anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood in Denmark.
May 4: Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko departed Japan to travel to London for the coronation, Princess Kiko wore a blue hat that’s recently undergone a design change.
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May 9: Queen Máxima repeated a blush silk abaca calot headpiece studded with tiny beads on the first day of a visit to Wadden Islands.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne.  Claes Iversen suit and Burberry raincoat.
Previously Worn: Jan 31, 2023; Sep 15, 2017Nov 3, 2016;  Oct 25, 2015 Apr 2, 2014 

May 10: Princess Hanako in a lovely pale pink brimmed hat for the Asia-Pacific Festival & Charity Bazaar.

May 10: For the second day of a visit to Wadden Islands, Queen Máxima repeated a headpiece of black silk rosettes studded with gold feathers and a small black birdcage net tulle veil.

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Designer: Laura Noetinger. Zara suit and Natan Coat.  
Previously Worn: Oct 8, 2015; April 13, 2011May 4, 2009

May 11: For the start of the Italian state visit to Norway, Queen Sonja repeated her taupe leather pillbox.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne.  
Previously Worn: May 25, 2022; Sep 6, 2016

Crown Princess Mette-Marit wore a new brimmed hat in pale pink straw braid.

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Designer: unknown. Natan cape and Valentino dress.  
Previously Worn: This hat is new

May 11: Queen Máxima attended the B for Goods Leaders Summit conference in Amsterdam in a repeated pleated red turban.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne. Dress by Natan. 
Previously Worn: Sep 19, 2021; Oct 16, 2018; March 20, 2015.

May 12: Lady Louise Windsor took part in the Royal Windsor Horse Show in a repeated a dark blue felt fedora with leather hatband and feather trim.

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Designer:  Hayfield England. Stella McCartney Coat. 
Previously Worn: May 14, 2022 
Previously Worn by the Duchess of Edinburgh: July 3, 2021

May 14 : Lady Louise Windsor enjoying the Royal Windsor Horse Show in her mum’s camel felt fedora with feather hatband.

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Designer:  Suffolk Fedora in Camel from Hicks & Brown
Previously Worn by the Duchess of Edinburgh: Dec 22, 2019; Aug 25, 2019Dec 23, 2018May 14, 2018

May 15: Princess Akiko in a pale cloche with short brim for the Aoi Festival

May 16: Queen Máxima repeated a warm brown straw picture hat with high upswept slice brim to open the Van Gogh Village Museum in Nuenen.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne. Claes Iversen dress​
Previously Worn: Sep 15, 2021;  Jul 7, 2021;  Jul 2, 2019;  May 25, 2018;  Feb 18, 2017; Nov 28, 2016Nov 1, 2016; Sep 14, 2016; Jun 2, 2016; Apr 21, 2016Mar 10, 2016

May 16: King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia visited Kalmar County as part of King Carl-Gustaf’s Jubilee celebrations. The king wore his Borsalino tan fedora to plant an Öland oak tree in the City Park.

May 17: Princess Anne was in uniform for the Passing Out Parade of First Aid Nursing Yeomanry

May 18: The Duchess of York in a green jeweled headband from The Party Papillon.

May 18: King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia opened the “Jubilee exhibition in glass” exhibition at Solliden Castle, the king in his Borsalino tan fedora.

May 18: Empress Masako, Crown Princess Kiko, Princess Hanako, Princess Nobuko and Princess Hisako all attended the annual Japanese Red Cross Society national convention.

May 18: National Day in Norway saw King Herald and Crown Prince Haakon in top hats, Queen Sonja in a white rounded pillbox and Crown Princess Mette-Marit in her gold Prada headband woven with a pink ribbon.

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May 22: Princess Benedikte repeated her navy straw hat with upfolded brim and floral trim for her namesake race at Klampenborg Gallop Track.

May 24: Empress Masako in a sharp navy and white hat for the 50th anniversary memorial service for WWII sailors.

Which hats here stand out most to you?

Images from social media as indicated 

Royal Hats In Washington: Japan

We continue extended series on different royal hats that have been worn on visits to Washington, D.C. researched and written by Jake Short, longtime reader, hat aficionado (follow him on Instagram or Twitter) and dear friend of Royal Hats. Jake, it’s so great to have you back for the fifth post in this series!  

Outside of politics, the National Mall, and the Smithsonian museums, Washington, DC is perhaps best known for its annual cherry blossom festival. Every spring the city comes alive to celebrate, decking itself in pink and white as the Yoshino Sakura cherry trees bloom along the Tidal Basin, at the National Arboretum, and elsewhere. While the crowds can be overwhelming and annoying, the cherry blossoms here truly are a sight to behold (even though I am a night owl, I highly recommend going for sunrise). Last year was the 110th anniversary of this gift of the cherry blossom trees from Japan. Therefore, we are now going to look back at the Japanese royal hats for this installment of the series. I have tried to follow the Japanese naming system of last name, first name as much as possible; all errors are my own, and I apologize in advance for them.

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The cherry blossoms planted around the Tidal Basin were a gift from Mayor Ozaki Yukio of Tokyo in 1912. In 1910, the mayor was part of a Japanese delegation that visited DC, led by Prince Tokugawa Iesato. This trip was linked with the gifting of 2,000 cherry trees, but they unfortunately arrived diseased and had to be destroyed. Dismayed at this, a second gift of 3,020 saplings were sent in 1912; the original idea of having cherry trees originated with Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore after she had visited Japan in 1885 and had experienced the beauty of their blossoming herself. On 27 March 1912, US First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda Iwa, wife of the Japanese Ambassador to the US (seen in a floral Edwardian hat with veiling in this photo sometime around 1920), planted the first trees in a small ceremony that unfortunately seems to have no surviving photographs I could find, if any were taken at all.

In 1965, First Lady Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson recreated this ceremony with the Japanese ambassador’s wife by starting the planting of an additional 3,800 Yoshino cherry trees; Lady Bird Johnson wore a black Breton style hat for the event. The only royal hats I’ve found directly with the cherry blossoms have been the light colored hat with floppy eyelet brim worn by Kikuko, Princess Takamatsu and the fur felt fedora worn by Nobuhito, Prince Takamatsu (brother of Emperor Hirohito [Shōwa]), when they visited on 16 April 1931.

A brief timeline of the history of the cherry blossom relationship between Japan and Washington, DC can be found  here (it features another hat on Viscountess Chinda Iwa).

Prince Tokugawa Iesato visited the US and DC multiple times, including in 1921 when he wore a (presumably) silk top hat during the Washington Naval Conference. The prince was a member of the Tokugawa clan and related to the last Shogun of Japan.

Due to the isolationism of Japan until the 19th Century then being on the opposing side in World War II, it’s not surprising Prince Tokugawa Iesato was one of the only Japanese royals to visit the US before 1945. In the second half of the 20th Century and into the beginning of the 21st Century, such visits have become more frequent. In 1965, Prince and Princess Mikasa visited the DC Chapter of the American Red Cross. Princess Yuriko can be seen in a floral covered 1960s style cloche, while her daughter Princess Yasuko (sister-in-law to Princesses Nobuko and Hisako) wore a white Breton hat.

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In the fall of 1975, Emperor Hirohito (Shōwa) and Empress Nagako (Kōjun) spent 2 weeks in the US. Upon arrival in DC, they were officially greeted at the White House by President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford. The Empress wore a black and white ensemble, with a white bumper hat featuring a small knot on the front.After the official welcome on the South Lawn, the Fords hosted the Emperor and Empress for tea and conversation in the Red Room.

The next day, there was a visit to Arlington Cemetery and Mt. Vernon, both in neighboring Virginia. While at Mt. Vernon, the Empress wore a simple cloche hat with a small bow (similar to this hat in powder blue/perwinkle worn on a different day during their visit to the US). The Emperor also conducted marine laboratory studies at the National Museum of Natural History while in DC (sadly sans hat). Finally, an in-depth direct look at the itinerary of their visit with the Fords can be found here.

12 years later almost to the day after the visit of his parents, then-Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko visited DC. For their arrival at Joint Base Andrews on October 5, 1987, Crown Princess Michiko wore a black pillbox with flower. She changed for the America-Japan Society luncheon later that day to  a percher cocktail hat with a stylized bow trim, presumably in the same color and fabric as her skirt suit.

The next day the Empress wore a stylized boater in white and navy blue to another luncheon at the Department of State. That same day they were seen at Arlington Cemetery; Michiko wore another boater, this time in black and white with a small floral trim.


During their third day in DC, they visited Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland (a DC suburb), to observe Japanese classes; Michiko wore a third stylized boater placed like her signature saucer hats we are familiar with.

In 1994, Akihito and Michiko returned to DC, this time as Emperor and Empress. They arrived at their accommodation at Blair House, across the street from the White House, with the Empress wearing a signature wide disc hat with a bouquet of small flowers for trim.

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For their welcome at the White House on 13 June, the Empress wore an ombre sunshine yellow and white ensemble that featured a small percher disc hat with a large flower. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton wore a rare hat for the occasion as well, a beautiful classic portrait hat in a peachy beige color that featured a bow at the back.

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On 14 June Their Imperial Majesties visited the Library of Congress and an elementary school in Virginia, where the Empress wore one of her signature percher pillboxes in white with green and white floral trim.

As they left Blair House on 15 June at the end of their visit to DC, the Empress wore another small percher hat while Secretary of State Warren Christopher gave them the official goodbye.

Unfortunately, there has not been an official visit to DC by Japanese royals since 1994. I hope this will change in the near future and we’ll get a visit from Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, but I would also welcome a visit from my personal favorite Japanese royal: Princess Hisako (come visit our cherry blossoms!).

Post-scripts:  In a royal-adjacent and DC-adjacent hat was Owada Yumiko, mother of Empress Masako, when she and Owada Hisashi greeted Akihito and Michiko in New York City during their 1994 US visit. Masako’s father was then the Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations. Yumiko is wearing a camel-colored felt hat with a large bejeweled hat pin.

For a non-royal, but hatted, cherry blossom visit, here I am enjoying peak bloom in 2021, when I debuted my custom-made fedora by Hornskov in the appropriately named color “cherry blossom”. I, of course, will wear this hat at every visit to the cherry blossoms from now on.

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Thank you, Jake, for another well researched post! I didn’t know the history and Japanese connection to the Washington DC cherry trees and this was most insightful. And dare I say, your cherry hued fedora is as stunning as any royal hat!  Thank you so much for this series.

Images from Jake Short; Getty as indicated; Harris & Ewing; Dirck Halstead, The Asahi Shimbun, The Ashi Shimbun, The Ashi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun and The Asahi Shimbun via Getty

Emperor Naruhito Celebrates Birthday

Members of the Imperial royal family greeted visitors from the balcony of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo yesterday on the emperor’s 63rd birthday.

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Empress Masako arrived in a vibrant blue velvet pillbox.

Princess Aiko wore a blush silk covered hat with short, upturned Breton brim trimmed with a triple pleated, draped hatband and bow at the back. It’s a piece that at closer view, I suspect, would show exquisite balance and beauty.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Crown Princess Akiko repeated a bumper hat covered in pale citrusy green patterned silk jacquard.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Dec 23, 2015

Princess Kako repeated a draped turquoise silk bandeau headpiece trimmed with a folded side bow appliqued in the same beaded lace as her gown.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Jan 13, 2023; Jan 18, 2022

It’s lovely to see this tradition return for the first time during Emperor Naruhito’s reign.

Images from Getty as indicated 

Imperial New Years Lectures and Poetry Reading

The 2023 New Year’s Lectures and Poetry Readings took place last week at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

January 13: Ceremony of the Kousho Hajime (New Year’s Lectures)

Crown Princess Kiko repeated an ink blue velvet covered wide bandeau trimmed with embroidered lace applique flowers on one side.  Princess Kako repeated a bandeau of the same shape draped in turquoise silk.

Princess Kiko’s bandeau was previously worn: Feb 23, 2022; Feb 23, 2020
Princes Kako’s bandeau was previously worn: Jan 18, 2022

Princess Akiko repeated a palest yellow silk covered saucer with raised brim around the back, trimmed with a draped hatband and bow. Princess Yoko wore a sleek new pillbox covered in vibrant cerise silk.

Princess Akiko’s hat was previously worn: Dec 5, 2021

Princess Hisako and Princess Tsuguko repeated silk covered hats. Princess Hisako’s bumper, in muted pink printed jacquard, features an indented crown and twist on one side. Princess Tsuguko’s pistachio green pillbox with triple layered sash across the top of the hat embroidered with the same vine pattern as on the collar of her gown. The lily-of-the-valley blooms that originally embellished this hat but were removed for its last outing have magically appeared again!

Princess Hisako’s hat was previously worn: Feb 23, 2020; Feb 24, 2019;
Princess Tsuguko’s hat was previously worn: Mar 23, 2021; Feb 23, 2020Oct 25, 2019May 4, 2019

January 18: Utakai Hajime (Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading)

Crown Princess Kiko repeated a blush silk jacquard printed bandeau with folded cuff across the front. The design is trimmed with organza flowers on one side.

Previously Worn: Nov 16, 2019

Princess Kako wore a new royal blue silk covered percher trimmed with a swirl of crin studded with silk roses. The updated neckline on her gown and new hat transform this ensemble into one much more sophisticated than its original form, a great evolution for a maturing princess. Kako suits the scale and placement of a percher so well.

Previously Worn: this hat is new

Princess Nobuko topped a plum velvet gown with a matching boater hat with brim raised on one side, anchored by a large silk flower.

Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

Princess Akiko repeated a cream silk covered hat with short brim and triple layered hatband.

Princess Hisako repeated a striking teal silk pillbox hat trimmed with intricate embroidery around the side of the design along with feathers and a silk ribbon cockade. It’s worth noting that the matching gown bodice and sleeves have been remade. Princess Tsuguko’s blue silk covered hat with trilby-style raised brim around the back has also been changed since it’s last outing. Gone is the previous hatband of silk leaves, replaced with a more streamlined and angular hatband and a swath of net veil.

Princess Hisako’s hat was previously worn: Jan 14, 2016;
Princess Tsuguko’s hat was previously worn: Mar 26, 2021

There are some striking looks here- which ones stand out to you most?

Images from social media as indicated 

Milliner Profile: Ahko Hirata

This week, Princess Aiko stepped out in a hat with floral trim. The floral trim was a Goyo azalea, Aiko’s personal emblem, incorporated into the hat’s design by Japanese milliner Ahko Hirata.

Fellow royal follower and expert on the Imperial royal family, Prisma, shared this week that the wonderful waved royal blue hatband Empress Masako wore on November 13 to the National Sea Enrichment Festival in Hyogo was also Ahko Hirata’s design. Hirata also designed the first hat Masako wore as empress on May 4, 2019, a wonderful yellow silk bumper with hatband beaded with a diagonal rising sunbeam motif.


Ahko Hirata was not on my radar and should have been- her late father was the first Japanese milliner to train in couture techniques in Paris and was Empress Michiko’s go-to milliner for decades. Ahko’s aesthetic, not surprisingly, is different than her father’s designs, but no less impeccable or memorable. This profile gives a glimpse into her millinery story.