Catching Up Imperial Family Milestones

In last weekend’s “Extra’s” post, we celebrated the December 5 official presentation of Princess Aiko following her 20th birthday, dazzling in a diamond tiara and necklace borrowed from her aunt, Sayako Kuroda.
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It turns out that members of the Imperial royal family also gathered for this celebration, the ladies in hats as well! Princess Kako was seen arriving at the Imperial Palace in her pale sage green silk jacquard covered calot hat with cuffed bumper brim, trimmed with a spray of silk flowers on the side.

Previously Worn: Dec 23, 2019; Apr 10, 2019; 
Princess Hanako repeated her dark green velvet hat with clamshell-shaped bumper brim trimed with an ostrich plume and bow at the back.  Princess Yuriko wore a turquoise printed silk draped pillbox (or maybe a toque shape?) with rolled rose and leaves made of the same fabric, placed on the side of the design. 

 Princess Hanako’s hat Previously Worn: Feb 24, 2019; Jan 14, 2015;  Jan 10, 2014; Jan 4, 2011
Princess Nobuko looked to be wearing a new dusty pink silk covered pillbox high on the back of her head. Princess Yoko repeated her tall salmon pink silk covered pillbox wrapped in a double fringe of feathers in the same hue. Princess Akiko looked to be wearing a new cream hat with shallow crown and brim covered in a beautifully draped hatband that tied in a side bow.

Princess Yoko’s hat Previously Worn: Mar 23, 2021;  Nov 8, 2020; Oct 25, 2019; Apr 10, 2019
Princess Hisako repeated a salmon pink velvet pillbox with indented pork pie crown, trimmed in pink, peach and burgundy velvet applique flowers that also embellish the neck and shoulder lines of her matching gown. An interesting note from Imperial family expert Prisma- while this ensemble dates back until at least 1992, it was worn, most recently, in January 2014 by Princess Noriko! Princess Tsuguko looked to be wearing a silvery blue silk covered pillbox that I believe is new.

Previously Worn: Jan 15, 2014 (by Princess Noriko); Jan 14, 1992
Sayako Kuroda was also in attendance in a pale green silk calot covered in a ruched dotted white veil.

On December 9th, Empress Masako celebrated her 58th birthday. She arrived at the home of her parents-in-law in a pale blue silk covered bumper hat.

Sayako Kuroda was also seen arriving at the Imperial Palace to greet the Empress on her birthday in a pleated ecru calot hat.

Which ones of these eleven hats stand out most to you?

Images from social media as indicated 

Ethiopian Royal Hats Part IV: Visits With Foreign Royals

I’m so pleased to welcome back longtime reader, hat aficionado (follow him on Instagram or Twitter) and friend of Royal Hats, Jake Short, for the fourth post in a 5-part series on the history and hats of the Ethiopian Imperial Family (see Part 3 here).  

Visits With Foreign Royals

State and official visits to Ethiopia and abroad were also more common during the later decades of Haile Selassie’s reign. In 1954 the Emperor, along with his youngest son Prince Sahle Selassie and granddaughter Princess Seble Desta (daughter of Princess Tenagnework), visited President Dwight D. and First Lady Mamie Eisenhower in Washington, DC (a clearer photo of this meeting can be seen here). Another visit to DC in 1963 saw the Emperor in a military cap and Princess Ruth Desta in a typical 1960s domed turban, while US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy wore a pillbox hat (seen here in color).

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Haile Selassie visited the Netherlands in 1954 and was photographed holding a plumed ceremonial military hat while Queen Juliana wore a calot with swooping feather trim.

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Fifteen years later In January 1969, Queen Juliana reciprocated with a state visit to Ethiopia, accompanied by Prince Bernhard, Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus. For their arrival in Addis Abeba, Haile Selassie wore a formal bicorn hat while Juliana wore a black hat with woven halo brim studded with turquoise flowers. Princess Beatrix wore a tall, patterned turban.  


During this visit, these wonderful photos were captured with the Emperor in his military cap and Queen Juliana in turbans- one covered in pleated ruffles and the other, smooth.

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During this trip, Queen Juliana was photographed at a children’s hospital in a capulet hat made of chunky, textured braid that was popular at the time. Another day, she repeated the black straw halo brimmed hat (with turquoise flowers removed!) while Princess Beatrix wore a white plaited pillbox.  On January 31, 1969, Queen Juliana wore a dark bumper hat while Princess Beatrix wore a navy brimmed hat in chunky navy straw braid with navy hatband tied in a side bow. Finally, Queen Juliana donned another turban for a visit to the Holy Trinity Ethiopian Orthodox Cathedral; Princess Beatrix paired a white and black pinstriped dress with a dark hat with wide, upturned brim. 

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King Paul and Queen Frederika of Greece visited Addis Ababa in 1959. Here they are seen with the Emperor and Empress, all wearing hats suited to their rank and typical for that time.

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A decade later in 1969, the Emperor met Pope Paul VI, who wore a white zucchetto skullcap.

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Again in his military cap, Haile Selassie is seen with other royals at a ceremony in Iran in 1971 to celebrate 2,500 years of the Persian Empire; Queen Fabiola and King Baudouin of Belgium (with Princess Anne of the UK behind them), Queen Ingrid and King Frederik of Denmark, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece (behind Emperor Haile Selassie), and Shah Reza Pahlavi and Shahbanou Farah Diba of Iran can be seen wearing hats (many more royals were also in attendance at this grand event).

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Relations with the Japanese Imperial Family, another reigning imperial family, were cordial and saw multiple visits. Haile Selassie visited Japan in 1956 with his eldest daughter Princess Tenagnework (seated, wearing a veiled calot), her daughter Princess Aida Desta (wearing a feathered casque hat), and Prince Makonnen, Duke of Harar. Crown Prince Asfaw Wossen and Crown Princess Medferiashwork visited Japan in 1959; while neither wore hats during a duck hunting session, their hosts Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko did. Crown Princess Medferiashwork was seen during this same visit in a toque-like hat during a visit to a department store.

Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko visited Ethiopia in 1960, with Akihito (carrying a top hat) being formally received by Emperor Haile Selassie at the airport. Crown Princess Medferiashwork wore a calot while she and Michiko visited a girls’ school; Medferiashwork was later seen in a headscarf when she accompanied Michiko and Akihito (both in hats) on a visit to Mt. Entoto just north of Addis Ababa.

Finally, there were multiple interactions with the British Royal Family. A 1954 state visit to the UK by the Emperor and his son the Duke of Harar began at Victoria Station, where Queen Elizabeth II greeted Haile Selassie, who wore a ceremonial military hat trimmed with lion’s mane!

The Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, Princess Mary, and Princess Alice, the Duchess of Gloucester, who all wore calots typical of the mid-1950s.

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The Queen wore a petaled/feathered calot as she, the Emperor, and the Duke of Edinburgh traveled to Buckingham Palace.

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A 1965 visit to Ethiopia by the Queen and Prince Philip saw only military hats from the host royals (the Empress had died in 1962, and there is a lack of photos of other female royals to determine their level of participation in the visit). 

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Queen Elizabeth, as you’d expect, wore several hats during this visit.

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While the visit saw no royal hats otherwise, there were many instances of tribal hats and headpieces worn by those who came to meet the royal guests.

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Another informative post, Jake- thank you! The Ethiopian princesses’ calots and half hats during the Japanese visit (and reciprocal visit five years later) are beautiful examples of fashion of the time! It’s also a fascinating reminder how millinery styles changed (inflated!) from the 1950s to the 1960s! How well did Queen Juliana’s cream turban pair with her 1960s sunglasses?! Such a fun look!

Jake returns next week for the final post in this series. 

Images from Getty and BNA Photographic

Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading 2021

Last Friday, The New Year’s Poetry Reading (Ceremony of the Utakai Hajime) took place at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Closeup views of the hats worn to this event again show their beautiful detail, something which I thought warranted a second look!

Crown Princess Kiko Kiko repeated the pale lime silk jacquard floral gown with matching bumper hat she first wore last November for the Rikkoshi-Senmei-no-Gi. It’s an impeccably made piece with cuffed brim covered in wide bias alternating sections of  smooth and smocked silk, the same lime silk jacquard of her gown. Smocking is not something we see on many royal hats and it lends such textural dimension to the piece. Princess Mako repeated her turquoise silk covered bumper hat with, as this picture shows, a wonderful layered, striped silk bow at the back. Princess Kako repeated her lemon yellow silk jacquard bandeau trimmed with silk flowers on the sides.

Designer: unknown
Crown Princess Kiko’s hat was previously worn: Nov 8, 2020
Princess Mako’s hat was previously worn: Nov 18, 2019; Jan 11, 2019; Jan 12, 2018; Jan 11, 2017; Dec 23, 2013
Princess Kako’s hat was previously worn:  Nov 10, 2020; Nov 18, 2019; Feb 26, 2019;
Feb 24, 2019; Jan 14, 2015

Princess Nobuko topped her denim blue beaded gown with a matching pillbox covered entirely in feathers and worn back on the crown of her head. It’s a lovely scale and colour on Nobuko and the movement and texture provided by the feathers makes it a fantastic piece to accompany her gown. Princess Akiko repeated her pale yellow bumper hat trimmed in a wrap of pleated crin and generous spray of silk flowers at the back.

Designer: unknown
Princess Nobuko’s hat:  I believe it is new
Princess Akiko’s hat was previously worn:  Nov 8, 2020;  Oct 25, 2019; Apr 10, 2019


Princess Hisako repeated her vibrant green low-crowned bowler hat with curved brim and slim hatband, trimmed wiht a mass of green feathers at the back. The different shades of green on the feather trim makes this hat come alive, linking with the green embroidery on Hisako’s gown and giving the monochrome ensemble lightness and lift.

Designer: unknown
Previously worn: Oct 29, 2019; Jan 16, 2019

The only new hat at this event was an ice blue, short-brimmed design on Princess Tsuguko. The small scale design gets visual impact from the trilby-esque curved brim and hatband of silk leaves that encircle it, linking with the vine pattern in the silk jacquard of her jacket and skirt. It looks to me like the hat is covered in plain silk and the leaves cut from the printed jacquard silk (same as the gown), a subtle touch that makes the all blue ensemble less one note.

Designer: unknown
Previously worn: I believe this is new

Again, these closer views of these hats show great detail and utterly impeccable finishing. They are so very, very,  beautifully made.

Which hats here stood out most to you?

Images from social media as indicated

Imperial New Year’s Lectures 2021

The Imperial New Year’s Lectures (Ceremony of the Kousho Hajime) were finally held Tuesday at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

Crown Princess Kiko repeated a grey-blue silk brocade gown with shimmering beaded bodice. Her half hat, in the same silk, features crisp pointed corners on each side and stripes of slim silver beads across the crown. Princess Mako repeated an ice blue silk jacquard and matching half hat with short, upfolded brim. The closeup photo seen below shows beautiful detail on the hat- tiny sparkling beads around the brim edge like those around the collar of Mako’s gown, and the loveliest white and blue silk flowers. Princess Kako rounded out the Akishino’s trio of blue in her deep royal silk gown and matching bumper hat with intricately beaded brim edge.

Designer: unknown
Crown Princess Kiko’s hat was previously worn: Jan 12, 2016; Jan 15, 2014
Princess Mako’s hat was previously worn: Jan 16, 2020; Apr 30, 2019; Jan 15, 2016
Princess Kako’s hat was previously worn: Jan 16, 2020; Oct 29, 2019; Apr 30, 2019; Jan 9, 2015

Princess Nobuko paired her terra cotta pink gown with an oversize silk floral headpiece. It’s a departure from much of the Imperial millinery we see, making it a favourite for me!

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Oct 29, 2019

Princess Akiko Princess Yoko repeated pillbox hats, Akiko’s in lime-yellow silk with beaded detail on the side and Yoko’s in salmon pink with layered stripes of feather trim.

Designer: unknown
Princess Akiko’s hat was previously worn: April 30, 2019; Jan 14, 2015; Jan 10, 2014
Princess Yoko’s hat was previously worn: Nov 8, 2020; Oct 25, 2019; Apr 10, 2019

Princess Hisako wore a deep purple stylized bowler hat with ostrich plume at the back. The lattice printed silk of her gown is repeated on the hat’s wide hatband. Princess Tsuguko repeated her green silk jacquard covered pillbox hat with 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 have been removed, a detail I’m a little sorry to see.

Designer: unknown
Princess Hisako’s hat was previously worn: I believe this hat is new
Princess Tsuguko’s hat was previously worn: Feb 23, 2020; Oct 25, 2019; May 4, 2019

The views of these hats show more detail than we usually see and my, are these details impeccable. The beading is particularly fine and makes me wish we could see all Imperial hats at close view simply to admire how beautifully they are made.

It’s been a long while since we had such a group of hats to admire- which designs here stood out most to you?

Images from social media as indicated

Imperial Crown Prince Proclaimed

Last Sunday, the Imperial royal family celebrated Rikkoshi-Senmei-no-Gi, the final ceremony in the Emperor’s enthronement that officially proclaims the new crown prince which had been postponed seven months due to the global pandemic.

Empress Masako arrived early in the morning to prepare for the day of ceremonies in her oyster silk covered bumper hat.

Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Kiko followed an hour later, Kiko in a pale lime silk jacquard floral gown with matching bumper hat. The cuffed bumper brim on this design is covered in wide bias stripes of smooth silk and silk smocked in the same fine pattern as the waist on Kiko’s dress. This smocking gives some textural dimension to the hat, especially when punctuated with the small shiny silk stripe between each section. While a subtle detail, it is impeccably executed and once again, shows incredible quality and millinery skill.

At eleven o’clock that morning, the Imperial royal family gathered for the Rikkoshi-Senmei-no-gi ceremony where the new Crown Prince was officially proclaimed. Emperor Naruhito and Crown Prince Akishino wore traditional sokutai robesand the distinctive black kanmuri hat. Empress Masako and Crown Princess Kiko wore junihitoe multi-layered kimonos with the triple pronged golden headpiece and elaborate sculpted sweeping ponytail that is worn with this costume.

Members of the extended Imperial Royal family were in attendance, the ladies in court dress (gowns and hats).

Princess Mako repeated a blush dotted silk jacquard gown and matching bumper brimmed calot hat. Princess Kako repeated a scarlet bandeau headpiece trimmed with silk flowers.
Princess Mako’s hat previously worn: Nov 16, 2019; Jan 13, 2017; December 23, 2015;
Princess Kako’s hat previously worn: Feb 23, 2020; Oct 25, 2019
Princess Hanako topped her apple silk gown with a matching saucer percher hat with pleated rim, embellished with ivory feathers and silk leaves. Princess Nobuko wore a bandeau headpiece covered in periwinkle blue silk, trimmed with feather flowers on the side.
Princess Nobuko’s hat previously worn: Feb 23, 2020
Princess Akiko of Mikasa wore a lemon yellow bumper hat wrapped in a swath of pleated crin and trimmed with a spray of silk flowers across the back. Princess Yoko repeated a pale coral textured pillbox.
Princess Akiko’s hat previously worn: Oct 25, 2019; Apr 10, 2019
Princess Yoko’s hat previously worn: Oct 25, 2019; Apr 10, 2019
Princess Hisako wore a standout hat with crown in the same vibrant green silk as the cuffs on her gown. The hat’s cartwheel brim appears to be  covered in overlapping ombre leaves and an overlay of veil. Princess Tsuguko repeated her burgundy bumper hat with veil and side silk floral trim.
Princess Hisako’s hat: I believe this hat is new
Princess Tsuguko’s hat previously worn: Apr 30, 2019; Feb 26, 2019; Jan 10, 2018 
Following the ceremony, the Crown Prince and Princess worshipped at Kashiko-dokoro shrine which is located on the grounds of the Imperial Palace. They were joined by several of the Imperial princesses who wore pale gowns and repeated ivory hats.

That evening, the emperor, empress, crown prince and princess took part in the Choken-no-Gi (First Audience ceremony), the women in glittering diamond parures complete with impressive tiaras.

The vibrant hats worn by the Imperial princesses at the Rikkoshi-Senmei-no-gi stood out to me- weren’t they wonderful?!
Photos from social media as indicated; The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun via Getty;