Emperor’s Final Ceremony At Three Palace Sanctuaries

After thirty years on the Chrysanthem Throne, Emperor Akihito’s reign came to a peaceful close today with a series of ceremonies. The day began with the Emperor paying respects at the Three Palace Sanctuaries at the Imperial Palace grounds in Tokyo. The shrine is the sanctuary of Amaterasu-omikami, the legendary sun goddess from whom the imperial line is said to have descended.

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For this “Taiirei-Tojitsu-Kashikodokoro-Omae-no-gi” ceremony, Emperor Akihito was dressed in the traditional “sokutai” outfit that only Imperial royals may wear. The sokutai centers around a voluminous draped outer robe with long, wide sleeves and a cinched waist; only the emperor may wear brown while other royals wear other colours, depending on their title. The robe often includes bird motifs (birds were considered divine envoys in ancient times) and the silk of the emperor’s robe is woven with a mythological Chinese phoenix to symbolize the arrival of peace.

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Topping the sokutai is the black “kanmuri” hat which consists of a flat, pillbox-like base and a towering, monochrome patterned tail at the back. For the ceremony, the emperor and other male royals carry a “shaku”- narrow, embellished wooden plate-like scepter.

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In this ceremony, Emperor Akihito read the “otsugebumi,” an explanation, that he would be taking part in a an abdication ceremony to pass the Chrysanthemum Throne to his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito. Akihito also read out the document at two other sanctuaries on the Imperial Palace grounds that honor past emperors and other Shinto gods.

Japanese media reported that that ten other imperial family members also donned traditional dress for this ceremony at the three sanctuaries. Photographs of this are not publicly available, although there are shots of the Akishino family arriving at the Imperial Palace. Princess Kiko, Princess Mako and Princess Kako all wore ivory silk covered bumper hats.

Special thanks to Prisma for sharing resources (including this article) explaining today’s traditional clothing.

Photos from Getty as indicated; The Asahi Shimbun and Kyodo News via Getty

This Week’s Extras

Royal Hats

King Carl Gustaf attended a farm seminar on sustainable food production on Wednesday, appropriately attired in his favourite fedora (Swedish Monarchy)

On Thursday, Princess Anne attend a party in Hamburg, Germany, marking the 91st Birthday of the Queen. She repeated her navy crin headpiece for the event.

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On Wednesday, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited the tomb of late Prince Tomohito at Toshimagaoka Imperial Cemetery in Tokyo. Princess Akiko of Mikasa greeted them in a veiled black bumper hat.

Princess Akiko, June 14, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Olympia of Greece has taken another step into the modelling world with this Dolce and Gabbana campaign shot, shared by her mother. Her large black headpiece/hairbow is….um…interesting. Lady Amelia Windsor also took part in the campaign in a more regal headpiece.

For those of you who will be in Massachusetts in August –  Flora Ogilvy shared this snap from her childhood and announced an exhibition of her father’s landscape photography  will open on Nantucket Island August 11. James and Julia Ogilvy lived in the USA during the past academic year while Julia studied at the Harvard Divinity School.

Several hats have caught my eye this week:

Bundle McLaren’s vibrant peacock and purple percher with flowers
Laura Apsit Livens’ red rimmed saucer with nautical navy and white trim
Sarah Cant’s artfully sculptural perchers
Lifted Millinery’s beautifully curved lattice brimmed percher  
Susanne Juul’s sleek picture hat with stunning embroidered hatband
Cara Meehan’s romantic and glowing gold veiled beret with silk flowers
Rachel Trevor Morgan’s shocking pink cocktail hat studded in feathers
And if you want to stand out at Ascot, try East Village Hats’  large black saucer working clock
or Philip Treacy’s triangular masterpiece (in glass?), shown here on display at the Ritz Hotel

Let’s take a minute to applaud milliners out there (without whom we would not have anything to oggle) who have been super busy over the past few weeks finishing creations for this year’s summer season. Rachel Trevor Morgan shared this photo, taken Friday in her studio, of new Ascot hats waiting for pickup, presumably all to be worn next week.

Royal Hats

Numerous tributes (Guardian, New York Times,  Telegraph, Kent Online) for Countess Mountbatten of Burma, who passed away last Tuesday at the age of 93.

Lovely shots shared by Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik of their 50th anniversary last weekend looking happy and relaxed aboard the royal yacht Dannesbrog.

Princess Charlene marked the Day of the African Child on Friday with a compelling statement on water safety.

The Swedish monarchy shared these sweet snaps of Prince Nicolas, who celebrated his second birthday.

And finally, Happy Fathers Day everyone! Clarence House and Kensington Palace posted these lovely images  in honour of today’s holiday.

Photo from Asahi

This Week’s Extras

Royal Hats

Queen Margrethe repeated her lovely pale blue hat to open a Clay Ceramic Museum in Middelfart (Danish Monarchy)

Emperor Akihito carried on the tradition of planting rice at the Imperial Palace. (Imperial Family of Japan blog)

Princess Kiko wore a demure navy pillbox hat for the 1200th anniversary of the Koyasan Shingon branch of Japanese Buddhism (Imperial Family Of Japan)

Prince Michael of Kent, Honorary Admiral of Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, viewed the Dunkirk 75 flotilla from HMS Trumpeter on Thursday (Ministry of Defence)

The Chelsea Royal Hospital Grounds is home to both the Chelsea Flower show and the Chelsea Pensioners- learn more about this group (and their wonderful tricorne hats) in this great article  (Royal Central)

Royal Hats

Prince Harry’s Sentebale garden at the Chelsea Flower show brought rave reviews from critics, family members and his proud granny (The Daily Mail). Watch his interview with the BBC here.