Royal Hats In Washington: Afghanistan, Oman, UAE and Qatar

We continue an extended 2022 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 to continue with the fourth post in this series!  

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 them, 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 of 3 of these countries: Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). But first, let’s take a quick historical look at Afghanistan.


Afghanistan was an Emirate and later a Kingdom until 1973 when a coup d’etat overthrew King Mohammed Zahir Shah while he was out of the country for medical treatments. After the Taliban regime was overthrown in late 2001, Zahir Shah was able to return to Afghanistan, being named “Father of the Nation”, a title he held until his death in 2007 (while not in DC, Zahir Shah can be seen in a karakul hat alongside Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2004).

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In September 1963, the King and Queen Humaira Begum visited DC, first arriving at Langley Field (now Langley Air Force Base) in southeastern Virginia and the Queen was seen wearing a white 1960s style cloche/peach basket hat and sunglasses in the video below. The next day they arrived at the White House for an official welcome ceremony that saw the Queen in a typical 1960s turban and President Kennedy’s sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver can be seen wearing a subtle netted veil over her hair (First Lady Jackie Kennedy was still recovering after the loss of their newborn son Patrick only a month earlier).


In March 1938, Sultan Said bin Taimur of Oman visited DC and was the first Arab head of state to do so in an official visit. The Sultan arrived at Union Station wearing a colorful and patterned massar turban, and later met Vice President John Nance Gardner wearing the same massar. The massar is distinct to Oman and is quite different from most headwear in the Gulf states; it is usually made of wool (often imported from India) and can be wrapped around the kuma cap to help give it more structure. The massar and kuma cup are often more colorful as well (as was seen on reigning Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said during the recent Belgian visit to Oman).

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Sultan Qaboos bin Said visited DC only once during his almost 50-year reign before he died in early 2020. In 1983 he wore a pure white massar when arriving at the White House and later wore a colorful one during a state dinner with the Reagans. You can see both in action in this video of the Sultan’s visit.

United Arab Emirates

As the name suggests, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm Al Quwain), each led by its own sheikh (an honorific title used by many Arabian royals), and in turn one of the sheikhs serves as President (Raʾīs) of the UAE for a 5 year term (although usually the president is from Abu Dhabi and the prime minister is from Dubai). The Emirati we at Royal Hats are most familiar with (thanks to Royal Ascot) is current UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, former husband of Jordanian Princess Haya.

Photographed visits to DC by Emirati royals have been intermittent, and those featuring headwear (based on what I found) are restricted to the wearing of the keffiyeh, also known as the ghutrah, with an agal (I will discuss these in more detail in a future post focused on Saudi Arabia).

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, can be seen in a white keffiyeh secured by a black agal in visits to the White House in 2011 and 2015.

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Mohammed’s older half-brother Khalifa, the current Raʾīs of UAE, visited the White House in 1998 when he was still Crown Prince, also wearing a keffiyeh.

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2003 saw a visit from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai to the National Building Museum in central DC wearing another white keffiyeh. Crown Prince Mohammed of Dubai’s younger brother Sheikh Hamdan wore yet another keffiyeh at the White House in 2003.

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The former Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, can be seen in a keffiyeh in 1997 below and in 2003 alongside is son.

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Emir Hamad abdicated in 2013 in favor of his son Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who visited the White House in 2015, seen below. In a break from the keffiyehs, Hamad’s wife and Tamim’s mother Sheikha Moza can be seen in a subdued navy turban and outfit during a visit to the Capitol building in 2019.

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While the headwear from these royals wasn’t as numerous or varied as some, they still warrant their own mentions, especially as we might be familiar with what they look like, but may not always understand their significance or who is wearing them. I hope you enjoyed this journey through the hats of most of the Middle Eastern royal families while they were in DC!

This is such an informative series, Jake, and so well researched. I’ve said before that most of Royal Hats’ focus is on hats worn by women in the European and Imperial royal houses and this provides an insightful look at royal houses where headwear is primarily worn by men. I found your introduction of the massar hat of Oman particularly fascinating. Thank you so much, Jake, for this series.

Images from Getty as indicated  

Dutch Royals Welcome Guests From Mozambique & Qatar

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima rolled out the red carpet this morning at Palace Noordeinde in The Hague to welcome President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique and his wife Isaura Nyusi on a visit to the Netherlands. For this official welcome, Queen Máxima repeated her beige straw moulded turban. While not my favourite of shapes, this hat’s styling- with Máxima’s hair down, a vibrant Roksanda dress and diamond jewels- is spot on. I think the bell sleeves of this dress required a brimless hat for this ensemble to balance and this one fits the bill.

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Designer: La Condesa design from Eudia. Dress by Roksanda
Previously Worn: May 1, 2015

This afternoon Queen Máxima was joined by Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar for the Seminar On Protection & Education In Conflict Zones at the The Hague Institute for Global Justice. Sheikha Moza, who gave the keynote speech at the conference, wore a voluminous pale pink turban. This retro design is not for the faint of heart and Moza carries it well. It’s an interesting piece of millinery that meets both the dress requirements of her religion and Moza’s well known love of couture.

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 Thoughts on this pair of turbans today in The Hague?
Photos from Getty as indicated

Best New Royal Hat of 2015: Monaco, Greece, Dubai and Qatar

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While many of you are eagerly awaiting this year’s new millinery from the British royal family, we must first peek at hats from Monaco, Greece, Dubai and Qatar. Some of this year’s most luxurious hats were worn by princesses and sheikhas from these countries- click on any of the photos to jump back to original posts to see additional description and detail of the hats.

The hats with the most votes across this semifinal will move forward to a final poll. If you don’t think any of these hats are worthy of the title of Best of 2015, save your vote (or jump back to vote again for hats from Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands or Luxembourg and Norway). You can vote for multiple hats up to four times per day so please, get voting!

Princess Charlene of Monaco and Princess Caroline of Hanover and Monaco

1.Princess Charlene, May 10, 2015 | Royal Hats  2.Princess Charlene, November 19, 2015 in Akris | Royal Hats  3.Princess Caroline, May 10, 2015 in The Madagascar Hat Company | Royal Hats  4.Princess Caroline, August 1, 2015 | Royal Hats

Beatrice Borromeo and Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece

5.Beatrice Boromeo, May 10, 2015 | Royal Hats  6.Beatrice Borromeo, November 19, 2015 | Royal Hats  7.Princess Marie-Chantal, June 18, 2015 in Philip Treacy | Royal Hats

Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan, Sheikha of Dubai and Sheikha Mozah of Qatar

8.Princess Haya in Philip Treacy, June 16, 2015 | Royal Hats  9.Princess Haya, June 16, 2015 in Philip Treacy. Suit by Chanel | Royal Hats  10.Sheikha Mozah, August 8, 2015 | Royal Hats

Do you think any of these hats deserve to be named best royal hat of the year? Cast your vote below. Voting will remain open until January 1, 2016.

Cathching Up With Sheikha Moza

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and Sheikha Mozah have been travelling in France and Croatia over the past two weeks during which time the Sheikha has worn some beautifully chic summer hats. On July 29, the royal couple visited the hospital in Arles, France where the Van Gogh famously stayed in 1888 and 1889. For this visit, Sheikha Mozah wore a natural straw hat trimmed with a cafe au lait hued band and bow around the crown. A coordinating stripe beneath the brim finished the classic picture hat and tied it perfectly to her brown and green floral dress.

Sheikha Mozah, July 29, 2015 | Royal Hats

In early August, the couple toured an organic farm in Southern France. Sheikha Mozah topped her blue floral dress and navy jacket with a natural straw hat trimmed with a navy bow. The hat’s brim, which was turned up on one side and fell in relaxed waves on the other, is just the kind of chic piece one imagines wearing in the French countryside, I think.

Sheikha Mozah, August 2015 | Royal Hats Sheikha Mozah, August 2015 | Royal Hats

Last Thursday, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and Sheikha Mozah arrived in Šibenik, Croatia where they were greeted by Her Excellency Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, president of the Republic. For their arrival, Sheikha Mozah topped her Ulyana Sergeenko couture ensemble with a black silk turban. 

Sheikha Mozah, August 6, 2015 | Royal Hats

Sheikha Mozah, August 6, 2015 | Royal Hats

On Saturday, the royal couple explored the historic centre of Šibenik, cruised around Visovac Island and toured Krka National Park. Sheikha Mozah wore a straw hat with square crown and cartwheel brim which was edged in an upfolded stripe of cream straw and trimmed with a cream silk band around the base of the crown. The darkened shade of the natural straw was a perfect compliment to the Sheikha and the pairing of the hat with her floral dress was perfect.

Sheikha Mozah, August 8, 2015 | Royal Hats

Sheikha Mozah, August 8, 2015 | Royal Hats

The couple concluded their Croatian visit in Rijeka where the Sheikha wore another Ulyana Sergeenko couture dress topped by one of her de rigeur matching turbans. While no one wears a turban better than Sheikha Mozah, I think her straw hats are so wonderfully chic. It’s lovely to see her in hats for a change, isn’t it?

Photos from Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned

East and West

Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser Al Misnad, wife of the Emir Of Qatar, is visiting the Netherlands. Today she and Princess Máxima visited the Shell Technology Centre in Amsterdam. Princess Máxima wore a charcoal grey wide brimmed hat that worked, I think, because her hair was pulled into a low side chignon. I’m not sure grey is her best colour but it worked well with the colour blocking of her entire ensemble.

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Sheikha Mozah looked elegant, as always, in navy blue. I love how stylishly she integrates her religious head covering with her couture – so very modern.

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Photos from Getty as indicated