Royal Hats In Washington: Jordan, Bahrain & Kuwait

Jake Short, longtime reader, hat aficionado (follow him on Instagram or Twitter) and dear friend of Royal Hats, joins us today for the third part of an extended 2022 series on different royal hats that have been worn on visits to his home city, Washington DC. Thank you, Jake, for this leading us on another learning journey!  

In the US, when one mentions royalty, the British Royal Family is almost always the first to come to most people’s minds. If not the British Royals, then usually it’ll be another European royal family. But of the 29 independent monarchies that exist today (when one groups the UK and Commonwealth realms together), 13 are in Asia, and 7 of those are in the Middle East. Today we will look at the headwear worn by royals from of 3 Middle Eastern countries: Jordan, Bahrain, and Kuwait. 

Jordan

The House of Hashim is the second oldest reigning royal house in the world (after Japan’s House of Yamato) and the branch of the family that remains on the throne in Jordan isn’t known to wear many hats in general (except for the keffiyeh, which is discussed below). This was no exception when visiting the US. King Hussein and his son Prince Faisal (half-brother of current King Abdullah II) both wore military officers caps during trips to the DC area in 1959 and 2012 respectively.

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While King Hussein’s last wife Queen Noor wore hats on visits to the UK and France, I couldn’t find any record of her in any sort of headwear in Washington, DC. Queen Noor was born Lisa Halaby in DC and for a time as a child, attended National Cathedral School.

2016 saw a different kind of hat on a Jordanian royal: a mortarboard cap worn by Crown Prince Hussein during graduation ceremonies as he received a bachelor’s degree in international history from Georgetown University in DC.

Bahrain
The first Emir of Bahrain from 1961 until 1999, Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa wore a keffiyeh to meet Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.
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As illustrated in the photographs above, a keffiyeh is a traditional Arabian headdress. Made from a square scarf usually made of cotton, it is anchored to the head with an agal. While the keffiyeh is recognized as a cultural headdress, it is a practical one as well, providing its wearer protection from sunburn, dust and sand.
Emir Isa bin Salman’s son Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa changed his title from Emir to King in 2002. When his son, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, met with President Barack Obama in May 2015, he wore a keffiyeh anchored with the most traditional style of agal, a black cord woven from goat hair and worn wrapped twice around the head.
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Kuwait

Finally, more keffiyehs were worn by Kuwaiti royals in DC. During President Lyndon B. Johnson’s final state dinner at the White House in December 1968, Emir Sabah Al-Salim Al-Sabah (Sabah III) and members of his retinue can be seen in white keffiyehs.

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Sabah III’s successor was his first cousin once-removed, Emir Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah (Jaber III), who spoke at the White House in 1990.

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Jaber III’s second cousin Saad Al-Salim Al-Sabah was Crown Prince when he visited with Ronald Reagan in 1988. He would later rule as Emir Saad I for only 9 days due to ill health before being voted out by the Kuwaiti parliament the same day he submitted a letter of abdication. Jaber III’s younger brother Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (Sabah IV) was seen at the White House in 2018.

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Following Sabah IV’s death in the fall of 2020, his younger brother Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (Nawaf I) became the Emir of Kuwait and remains so today. 

My next post will continue with headwear worn in Washington by royals from Oman, Qatar, the UAE and Afghanistan.

Most of our attention here at Royal Hats is paid to the European and Imperial royal houses where women are the primary hat wearers. It’s an interesting change to look at the monarchies where men wear the headwear!  Thanks Jake, for this addition to what is a fascinating series. 

Images from Getty as indicated  

Monaco Royal Wedding: Other Reigning Royal Houses

With lots more hats to still admire, we continue our look at the July 2, 2011 religious wedding of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene with guests from The Netherlands, United Kingdom and Jordan, Thailand and Morocco.

Princess Máxima, as was her title at the time, debuted a hat at this wedding that has since become one of her most-worn pieces. In warm-hued caramel straw, the familiar ‘slice’ shape is sharply upturned on one side that curves back off the face to effectively highlight it. The hat is simply trimmed with a wide Petersham ribbon hatband in the same colour tied in a side bow. The combination of caramel hat and tangerine silk dress was a little out-of-the-box but worked well on Máxima, brilliantly playing of Willem-Alexander’s crisp white tropical dress military uniform.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne. Dress by Natan.

The Countess of Wessex topped her sleek slate grey pleated sheath dress with an exuberant hat. A large grey saucer, placed at a steep incline, the design’s focus was its trim- large sprays of cut feathers in varied shades of grey and finished with a sizable diamanté cluster on the outer side of the hat. The colour variation in the feather trim gave great depth and movement to the hat and while the overall look was monochrome, the sleek lines of the dress contrasted with the hat’s lavish trim to provide enough textural contrast that kept the look anything but flat.

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Designer: Jane Taylor. Dress by Amanda Wakeley.

Princess Michael of Kent wore one of her characteristically wide brimmed hats, a finely woven white straw design with low crown and curved brim trimmed with an oversize beigey-blush silk rose under one side of the brim.  You’ll notice no seam at the base of this hat’s crown, its smooth lines flowing out to the brim, like a cloche. The seamless shape creates a downward front curve of the hat, pulling it down visually, and making me really wish the flower was above the brim in a more traditional placement to lift the look. As it is, almost touching Marie-Christine’s shoulder, the flower competes with her amazing necklace. Although, who, am I kidding, we’re all unable to divert our eyes from those sleeves.

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Princess Sara al Faisal of Jordan (second wife of Prince Faisal bin Hussein) brought some colour to this wedding’s fashion with a head to toe look in vibrant magenta. Her button percher, covered in what looks like the same silk as her dress and jacket, was trimmed with a large silk rose and deep burgundy curled cut feather. Different shades of deep pink in the rose trim gave the hat great dimension and saved the overall look from being one-note.

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While not in hats, Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana of Thailand and  Lalla Meryem of Morocco and her daughter, Sharifa Lalla Soukaïna Filali, represented their respective countries in exquisitely beautiful national dress that deserves inclusion in our sartorial tour of this event.

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Well, what do you think, dearest readers? Which hats and ensembles stand out here are your favourites?

Jump to this post for an index of other royal hats that appeared at this wedding. 

Photos from Getty as indicated 

Greek Royal Wedding 20 Years On: Other Royal Guests

Today we wrap up our look back 20 years to the July 9, 1999 wedding of Princess Alexia and Carlos Quintana with a view of the remaining royal guest’s hats. We’ll start with Grand Duchess Josephine, who wore an ecru straw boater variation.  The hat’s tall, flat crown was wrapped in a folded straw hatband that tied in a bow at the back, centered with a straw rosette. A subtle curve in the brim (upward in front, downward in back) gave some movement to the design.

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Queen Noor of Jordan (the eighth queen in attendance, for those of you counting!) wore a beautifully embroidered while silk scarf with scalloped edge.

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Crown Princess Katherine of Yugoslavia wore an ivory sinamay hat with tall crown and upturned kettle brim edged in pale peach silk. Overlapping figure eights in ivory sinamay and peach silk with a large trimmed cream feather completed the design.

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Crown Princess Margarita of Romania, as was her title then, topped her cream suit with a navy straw boater variation with tall crown and short brim, simply trimmed with a wide navy silk hatband.

Princess Miriam of Bulgaria wore an ecru straw brimmed hat with what looks like a crin overlay.

Princess Rosario of Bulgaria wore a fantastical gold lattice straw Philip Treacy hat with fluted crown that extended into a wide, gently sideswept brim. The hat, which linked to gold embroidery on the waist of her Valentino skirt, was lavishly trimmed with gold silk flowers and leaves and sinamay twists, all studded with a mass of gold arrow trimmed feathers.

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Princess Carla of Bulgaria wore a purple sinamay teardrop layered percher hat trimmed with painterly silk flowers in dark burgundy. It’s a hat with deep richness I think I’d really like if we could better view it’s detail (and see it with a less jarringly contrasting, more harmonious ensemble). I suspect Queen Margarita of Bulgaria also attended this event (bringing up the queen tally to nine!) but I’m afraid, photos elude me.

That concludes our look back at this wedding and the 26 royal hats worn to it. Some of you have commented on the prevalence of wide brims- what else do you notice about this particular group of hats?

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Photos from Getty as indicated; LANGEVIN JACQUES/CORBIS SYGMA; ORBAN THIERRY/CORBIS SYGMA; BEIRNE BRENDAN/CORBIS SYGMA

Funeral of Grand Duke Jean: Royal Guests

The funeral of Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg was attended by representatives from nearly every European royal house, many who wore hats. Out of respect for this event and the Grand Duke’s memory, this post contains photos only (no commentary) and is not open for comments.

Monarchs from Denmark, Sweden, Liechtenstein and Norway:

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Spanish, Romanian and Greek Queens:

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Dutch, British and Norwegian Royals:

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Spanish, Italian, Bulgarian and Portuguese Princesses

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Jordanian and Moroccan Royals:

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Marlene Koenig, author of Royal Musings, published a full guest list here. Representatives from numerous abolished, lesser known European monarchies (mostly French, German and Prussian) were in attendance but have not been included here- you can see them at this comprehensive post over at Luxarazzi.

Photos from Getty as indicated 

Hat From the Past

Royal Hats to this day in 1984 when Queen Elizabeth wore a beautifully stitched teal blue tam ‘o shanter hat with ostrich feather trim by Simone Mirman while on a state visit to Jordan. Queen Noor’s black and white floral turban made and equally strong millinery style statement.

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Photos from Getty as indicated