This Week’s Extras

On Wednesday, Empress Emeritus Michiko and Crown Princess Kiko, along with their husbands, visited Meiji Shrine ahead of its 100th anniversary today. The former empress wore a small cream rimmed saucer with white lattice crin underbrim and folded bow. Princess Kiko wore a white bumper hat.


The following new millinery designs caught my eye this week:
Statement waved saucer percher in orchid purple and magenta by Australian milliner Felicity Northeast
Adore the butterfly trim on this tan felt trilby by British milliner Bundle MacLaren
Large black straw saucer studded with copper velvet leaves by American milliner Laura Del Villaggio
Chic marled grey felt tall brimless hat with patent leather studded bow by Irish milliner Grainne Maher
Wonderful origami ribbon embellishment on this pink halo bandeau by Australian milliner Christine Waring
Elegant navy felt boat boater with subtle bugle bead hatband by British milliner Jane Taylor
Black teardrop with spectacular double helix inspired spiral trim by Australian brand Ana Bella Millinery
Pink and blue plaid trilby with perfect pattern matching
by British milliner Dillon Wallwork
Interesting draped crown on this wide brimmed red felt design by Russian milliner Irina Popilova
Navy satin covered trilby with angular crown by British milliner Stephen Jones
Classic ivory textured straw hat with huge Dior brim by Australian milliner Brenda Lui
Charming lilac straw cloche with hand beaded ivory straw flying bow by American milliner Tiffany Arey

Chic wool embellished hats in a rainbow of colours by British milliner Beverley Edmonson
Purple straw button percher with tall fan of pleated crin by British milliner Kerry Kernan
Spectacular wide brimmed hat in layered slate blue paraisal and sinamay (love the finged edge on the smaller brim!) with wired gold tiger lily flowers by Australian milliner Stephanie Spencer. See a top view here.

Last weekend, King Albert and Queen Paola hosted his daughter, Princess Delphine, at their home Castle Belvédère in Laeken
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The Queen’s cousin, Lady Elizabeth Shakerley (nee Anson) died this morning. She was 79.


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Lovely new photos of the Bhutan royal family released for today’s 12th anniversary of the king’s coronation

Photos from Getty and social media as indicated

This Week’s Extras

Queen Silvia celebrated Swedish National Day, along with the king, in Ludvika last Thursday in a repeated ivory felt calot hat with silk flower and brown feather trim. Festivities later in the day saw the Queen and adult princesses in folk costume with traditional white cotton folded hats.

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Also on Thursday, Prince Harry was in uniform to preside over the annual Founder’s Day Parade at the Royal Hospital Chelsea (a retirement and nursing home for former members of the British Army). Royal Hospital residents, known as Chelsea Pensioners, wore their distinctive tri-corn hats.
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On Thursday, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko conducted rites related to the abdication at the Musashi Imperial Graveyard in Tokyo. The empress emerita repeated a slate grey veiled saucer with knotted bow.
On Saturday, members of the Imperial royal family attended the 5th anniversary memorial ceremony for Prince Katsura. The Imperial royal women, who included the Empress, the late Prince’s mother, Princess Yoriko and sister,  Yasuko Konoe (formerly Princess Yasuko of Mikasa) all wore black hats.


Infanta Elena and her father, King Juan Carlos, attended the men’s singles final match yesterday at the French Open Tennis tournament in Paris in summery straw fedora hats
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The following new millinery designs caught my eye this week:
Wonderful dusky pink embellished bandeau (see the detail!) by Scottish label Angels and Insects Edinburgh
Exquisite veil on this black button percher with white silk flowers from British brand Lock & Co.
Elegant coral sinamay teardrop with crin layered bow by Irish milliner Edel Black
Fantastic pink straw boater with animated bow & hand-dyed pheasant feathers from British milliner Ian Bennett
Adore the shape and movement on this royal blue straw veiled headpiece by Irish brand Marc Millinery
Wonderful black percher with white oversize pinwheel flower by London-based Spanish milliner Rafa Peinador
Prettiest textured straw button percher with ombre straw ruffle by British milliner Ellie Vallerini
Trios of lovely lilac and pale grey designs by Italian milliner Guiliana Mio
Love the unique swirling curves this denim blue straw design from British label John Boyd
Cream straw button percher with amazing ombre fuchsia & aubergine crin trim by British milliner Tracy Miller
White and yellow marabou feather fluff hat by London-based milliner Awon Golding

Great family photo released by the Danish court on the occasion of Prince Joachim’s 50th birthday

The Duke of Edinburgh celebrates an incredible 98th birthday today and I’m sure you join me in wishing him the happiest of birthdays.
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Photos from social media as indicated

Hat From the Past

Royal Hatsto this day in 1973, 46 years ago, and an Imperial visit to Australia that saw the then Crown Princess Michiko in a halo hat with graphic pattern on the brim.

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Photo from Getty as indicated

Emperor and Empress Close Reign With Events in Tokyo

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have been busy this week, the final week before the emperor’s abdication next Tuesday, with a series of events in Tokyo. On Tuesday, two days ago, the couple visited the Mausoleum of Emperor Showa (Emperor Akihito’s late father) to report the upcoming abdication. For this rite, Empress Michiko repeated a charcoal grey disc hat with knotted bow and black dotted veil.

Designer: likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: I think this is new.Interestingly, she has a similar one in black that we’ve seen a few times (here and here and here) over the past two decades.
Later that same day, the emperor and empress visited Takao Mikoromo Seido, a temple for victims of work accidents. For this visit, Empress Michiko repeated her silver shantung silk rimmed saucer hat with flecked charcoal grey double bow in the same fabric as her jacket. The sheen on the base of the hat, thanks to that shantung silk, is so pretty.
Yesterday, the couple visited the Luxembourg Embassy to offer condolences on the death of Grand Duke Jean. Empress Michiko repeated a mini pillbox variation with raised height around the front, trimmed with a simple, fanning black silk and dotted net veil.

Designer: likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: Jan 7, 2019; June 25, 2014; and likely others

Today, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended the Midori Academic awards ceremony. For this final official engagement of the Heisei period (the emperor’s reign), the empress repeated a hat we have much admired in recent weeks. Covered in oyster silk, this saucer features an ivory crin lattice underbrim and layered bow two-toned bow, trimmed in darker grey silk piping. The detailed view of the hat, below, shows the silk covering it (and on the empress’ suit) is woven with a metallic thread woven, giving it the most beautifully gentle sparkle.

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Designer: likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: April 17, 2019March 26, 2019

Like many of you, my awareness of the Imperial royal family has grown during the later years of the emperor’s reign and my knowledge of the Chrysanthemum throne is limited at best. I have come to know Empress Michiko through her hats and have come to appreciate them and their wearer for their quiet elegance. I’m sure you join me in wishing this couple a smooth transition into their new role and the ability to truly enjoy a restful retirement which they have earned.

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

Imperial Visit to Ise Shrine

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko journeyed to Ise this week to take part in rituals at Ise Jingu Shrine related to the emperor’s upcoming abdication. One of the most sacred Shinto shrines in the country that can only be overseen by a chief priest or priestess from the Imperial family, it is currently under the charge of Sayako Kuroda, the couple’s daughter, who celebrated her 50th birthday on Thursday.

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The Emperor and Empress’ arrival at Ujiyamada Station on Wednesday gave us a great view of the oyster hat Empress Michiko recently brought into rotation.  The lattice crin underbrim and darker grey piping on the bow are delicate touches to be appreciated and ones easily missed from the further views we usually get. These subtle contrasts give layers of texture and interest to the hat, making it a much more complex and nuanced design than it appears at first glance.

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Designer: unknown. Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: Mar 26, 2019
For the visit to the shrine Thursday, the Emperor wore traditional morning suit and carried a black silk top hat.
Empress wore a pearly white rimmed saucer with pinwheel silk bow and delicate lattice crin underbrim
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Designer: unknown. Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: March 25 2014;
Following the shine visit, Empress Michiko repeated her pale pink disc with crin underbrim, trimmed with double silk bows and silk flowers. It’s another delicate design (and not grey!) that she wears really well.
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Designer: unknown. Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: Feb 24, 2019; Nov 14, 2018
For the couple’s return train journey to Tokyo yesterday, the Empress repeated her slate bluey-grey rimmed saucer with looped silk bow trim. We’ve seen this hat a few times on Michiko but it remains a great one on her- at closer view, the silk bows have the most beautiful sheen that just makes the hat.
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Designer: unknown. Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: Mar 28, 2019; June 10, 2018; Mar 29, 2018; Mar 7, 2018; Oct 29, 2017

It’s amazing to think that there will be a new emperor and empress in Japan in 10 days… and while it’s unclear what role this couple will have, I hope we’ll see them from time to time. I’ve come to appreciate many of Empress Michiko’s signature saucers – especially some of the ones here – and I would hate to see both the hats and their very dignified and elegant wearer disappear altogether from public view.

Photos from Getty as indicated