Masako Supports Red Cross For First Solo Engagement As Empress

Empress Masako, Crown Princess Kiko, Princess Hanako, Princess Nobuko and Princess Hisako enjoyed a joint engagement today at the Japanese Red Cross Society’s annual meeting in Tokyo. For Masako’s first solo official duty as empress, she repeated a cream bowler variation hat with domed, straight-sided crown and upturned kettle brim, trimmed with a wide navy hatband folded into a flat bow at the back. It’s a prim hat that pairs well with her navy and cream suit.



Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This is tricky by my guess is it’s the same as the one worn May 26, 2018

Crown Princess Kiko repeated a bumper hat covered in the same finely striped ice blue silk as a matching suit. Bias placement on the brim give a diagonal contrast to the stripes, breaking up the one-note ensemble. Views from this hat’s last outing show it also has a small posy of silk flowers tucked behind the brim on one side.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: April 26, 2016

Princess Hanako repeated her ecru square crowned hat with double sidesweeping brim, simply trimmed with a wide silk hatband in the same colour. The brim shape and tall, angular crown are elements we don’t often see on Imperial royal hats and Hanako caries it very well.

Designer: 
Previously Worn: May 13, 2015; July 10, 2014 

Princess Nobuko paired a white hat with flat crown and rolled brim with her blue silk, the two pieces drawn together with a blue silk hatband and side bow.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

Princess Hisako repeated a pale grey hat with flat crown and gently curved saddle brim. The hat appears to have undergone tweaking since its first appearance last fall- gone is the flat hatband in the same fabric as the matching jacquard suit and in its place are stacked applique cutouts from the floral fabric (maybe with some lace as well?). The resulting 3D hatband gives fantastic interest and dimension to the small scaled hat and leaves me wondering why such embellishment isn’t seen on hats, more.

Designer: 
Previously Worn: October 1, 2018

I can’t imagine that the all cream and blue/grey palate worn by the Empress and Imperial princesses is a coincidence and one wonders the behind-the-scenes logistics that accompanies such planning (I suppose the Empress can’t wake up and say, “No, I think I’ll wear the pink instead….”!). Thoughts about this quintet of Imperial royal hats?

Photos from The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun and The Asahi Shimbun via Getty; social media as indicated 

Imperial Enthronement

Emperor Naruhito was enthroned yesterday in a ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, attended by the royal family. The Imperial princesses all wore sparkling tiaras (jump over to this post at The Court Jeweller for an excellent review of the tiaras). Crown Princess Kiko appeared, for the first time, in the Crown Princess Parure with scrolled tiara while Empress Masako looked wonderfully regally (and beamingly happy) in the the Meiji Tiara, a tiara reserved for the empress.

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Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

Following the enthronement ceremony, Imperial family members greeted the new Imperial couple (see this in full in the first embedded video at the bottom). Crown Princess Kiko paired her cream jacquard silk gown with a matching bumper hat, covered in the same fabric and simply trimmed with an embroidered cuff at the back. Princess Mako repeated her seafoam cream bandeau-calot, covered in the same dotted silk as her gown. The hat is beautifully finished with a bias silk binding and spray of silk flowers on the right side.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe Crown Princess Kiko’s hat is new. Princess Mako’s hat was worn February 24, 2019; September 4, 2017

Princess Kako repeated her buttercup yellow padded bandeau headpiece. The design is covered in the same floral jacquard silk as her gown and trimmed with silk blooms behind her ears. Princess Hanako of Hitachi was also in yellow silk with a statement hat. The straw base of this design has a rolled brim that looks to be covered, on both sides, with tiny, individual silk blossoms and is finished with a feather pouf at the back.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Princess Mako’s hat was worn February 26, 2019; February 24, 2019;October 20, 2018; January 14, 2015 I believe Princess Hanako’s hat is new.

Princess Yuriko of Mikasa wore a slate blue silk covered pillbox embellished twisted silk roses and leaves. Princess Nobuko of Mikasa topped her oxblood lace gown with a lace and silk organza striped turban trimmed with a large flower with wired starburst organza petals on the side.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I don’t believe we’ve seen either hat before

Princess Akiko repeated her pink silk gown and crescent bandeau headpiece. Yesterday’s video finally gives us a view at the bandeau’s detail, showing a wonderful lattice pattern woven in silk ribbon anchored with pearls. Princess Yoko continued with more millinery surprises, topping her flowing gown with a percher hat in pink silk, worn on the right side of her yead. The design looks to be trimmed with cream beads- a detail we’ll have to wait for a better angled look to see for certain.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Princess Akiko’s headpiece was worn January 11, 2018; I believe Princess Yoko’s hat is new

Princess Hisako of Takamado topped her vibrant cereulean blue silk gown with a matching domed bumper hat. The upturned edge of the brim is covered in matching blue feathers and there looks to be a spray of silk flowers on the right side of the design. Princess Tsuguko repeated a purple floral headpiece that wraps around the right side of her head- a headpiece I can’t wait to see in greater detail!

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe Princess Hisako’s hat is new. Princess Tsuguko wore this headpiece January 16, 2019 (I still think it’s a reworked version of the headpiece she wore January 14, 2015)

Finally, the new emperor and empress ended the day with a return to the Imperial Palace to greet Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko. For this visit, Empress Masako donned a bumper hat covered in the same dotted jaquard silk print as her warm ivory hued gown. The left side of the brim is beautifully draped in four pleats that echo a simlar detail on the gown’s waist- subtle touches, indeed, but ones that are impeccably executed.

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Embed from Getty Images

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

There seems to be an overall feeling of goodwill toward the emperor and empress- I’m sure you join me in wishing them the very best as they transition into their new roles.

Photos from Getty as indicated; Newsletter Communication Center

Abdication Marks Start of Reiwa Era

The 30-year Heisei reign officially ended today with the abdication of Emperor Akihito. The abdication ceremony was held in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.


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Crown Princess Masako looked radiant in an exquisite new hat. The design features a domed crown covered in pearlescent silk and a lace covered bumper brim- the same scroll patterned lace as was on her gown. The hat shape works well with the high collared gown and the pieces combine to make an elegant and very regal look.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat news

Princess Kiko repeated a bumper hat in palest celery green silk. The raised brim is overlaid in the same lace as on Kiko’s gown. I prefer Kiko in more saturated colours but it’s not surprising to see her in a pale hue for such high profile events. The lace overlay on the hat’s brim provides a lovely, textural frame around Kiko’s face.


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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: December 23, 2014

Princess Mako repeated a cuffed calot hat covered in the same ice blue floral printed jacquard silk as her gown. The blue silk flowers that adorned this hat at its first outing are visible in the photo below.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: January 15, 2016

Princess Kako repeated a royal blue bumper hat with brim edge embroidered with the same royal blue bugle beads that trim the basque waist of her gown.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: January 10, 2015

Princess Hanako wore a pillbox hat with domed crown, wrapped in a pleated silk wrap (or bumper brim?) and trimmed with a multi-looped bow. I believe this hat is new (the gown was paired, at its last outing, with a different hat). Princess Hisako repeated the deep purple bumper hat with ostrich feather pouf at the back we last saw her wear at the 2015 New Year’s Poetry Readings. Princess Tsuguko repeated the burgundy silk covered beret she wore for the 30th anniversary celebration of the emperor’s reign back in February. This view shows lavish floral and feather trim on the side of the design and a burgundy net veil that, I suspect, swaths the entire hat.

Princess Yoko topped her mint green silk gown with a matching veiled percher hat worn at a wonderfully rakish angle on the side of her head. The ensemble has a vintage, 1940s vibe to it that she wears very well. Princess Akiko repeated her lime-yellow silk gown with matching bumper hat with what looks like inlaid silk stripes on the side of the raised brim. Princess Nobuko paired her pale sage green silk gown with a matching brimless hat trimmed with a large ecru silk flower and veil. Princess Yuriko (Yoko and Akiko’s grandmother) repeated her deep eggplant purple, low profile bumper hat with bow at the back.

The Imperial royals know how to do retrained, elegant looks better than any other royal house and today was no exception. You can watch highlights of today’s abdication ceremony here along with commentary and an interesting overview of the Emperor’s life (start at 12:00). In recent days, NHK World also broadcast a 3-part documentary on Emperor Emeritus Akihito that I found informative, enjoyable and highly recommend:

Part I: Emperor of A Defeated Nation
Part 2: The Two Of Us
Part 3: The Symbol Of A Nation

The Reiwa reign of Emperor Naruhito began at the stroke of midnight (Japanese time) on May 1. His enthronement ceremony will follow tomorrow.

Photos from Getty as indicated; Kyodo News, Kyodo News and Kyodo News via Getty; NHK World

This Week’s Extras

Last Friday, April 5, Princess Beatrice visited the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre in a black leather bandeau headpiece. While it looks eerily similar to one recently worn by her sister, the two pieces are different (the central knot on this bandeau is visibly bigger).

On Wednesday, members of the Imperial Royal Family visited the Emperor and Empress to offer congratulations on their 60th wedding anniversary. All the princesses were in hats- Crown Princess Masako in a repeated cream pleated bumper; Princesses Kiko, Mako and Kako in cuffed calot hats; Princess Hanako in a pink brimmed hat with ruffled feather trim; and Princess Yuriko in a green silk covered bumper hat with side flower.
 
Princess Nobuko repeated a green silk bumper hat with lace covered crown and Princess Akiko wore a yellow silk bumper hat previously worn by Princess Hanako. Princess Yoko repeated her peach textured pillbox, Princess Tsuguko repeated her peach silk bumper with pleated leaf motif around the outside brim and Princess Hisako repeated a royal blue silk ensemble with bumper hat.
King Carl Gustaf in his trusty fedora on Thursday for a visit to a solar farm
Crown Princess Mette-Marit shared these snaps of her family enjoying a day out skiing
The Cambridges were spotted at Burnham Market international horse trials in Norfolk where they joined Mike and Mia Tindall to watch Zara compete. Prince William sported a natty flat cap.
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Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!! Oh my goodness!!! . On Friday, the two families joined up to watch Zara compete in the Burnham Market International Horse Trials in Norfolk. Look at Mia holding her godfather’s ears! An onlooker said: “They were just like any other family, enjoying a day out and having a lovely time. There were no tantrums thrown by the kids and they all seemed very down to earth. A few people noticed them, but generally everyone just carried on as normal” #littlecambridges #babycambridges #littlewindsors #zaraandmike #zaratindall #zaraphillips #miketindall #miatindall #dukeofcambridge #princewilliam #duchessofcambridge #katemiddleton #catherineduchessofcambridge #dukeandduchessofcambridge #williamandkate #princegeorge #princesscharlotte #princelouis #princeharry #duchessofsussex #meghanduchessofsussex #meghanmarkle #royalfamily #theroyalfamily #britishroyalfamily #britishmonarchy #britishroyals #britishroyalty #houseofwindsor

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Princess Charlene was at the Turffontein Racecourse in Johannesburg, South Africa yesterday to attend her namesake race day annual event. She topped her royal blue dress and bolero jacket by Terrence Bray with a black floral and crin fascinator
Rachel Trevor Morgan, Noel Stewart and Edwina Ibbotson have curated a hat exhibition ‘Unveiled- The Craft of Millinery’ that will be open May 8-12 in London (May 8-10 at the Artworkers Guild and May 11-12 at Fenwick of Bond Street). Featuring the work of 14 milliners, the exhibition will also include workshops and a curators talk you can register to attend here. Also launched this week was this year’s Royal Ascot Millinery Collective. So lovely to see an Australian milliner (Jill Humphries of Jill and Jack Millinery in Melbourne) included in this year’s lineup!
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The following new millinery designs caught my eye this week:
Autumnal orange felt sidesweep with fantastic feathers by Australian milliner Neil Grigg
Luxuriously smooth lines on this pale pink leather percher with bow by British milliner Fi Graham
Whimsical wired floral black headpiece of dotted net by Australian milliner Lisa Hughes
Eye catching oversize purple straw saucer with orange straw twists by UK brand Rebecca Couture Millinery
Love the classic 50s vibe on Jane Taylor’s white straw and black patent braided pyramid hat
Adore the movement on this royal blue feather headpiece from Melbourne-based Jill and Jack Millinery
Punchy black and citrus yellow scheme on this floral trimmed black straw percher by British milliner Jess Collett
Beautiful cream straw sidesweep with golden peach flying bow by British milliner Vivien Sheriff
Orange straw fez with orange & fuchsia sleek square flowers by Irish brand Martha Lynn Millinery
Bold navy felt halo headband with pinwheel bloom and curling quills by UK brand Hatonista Millinery

And from British milliner Natasha Mobey, this wonderfully creative handwoven basket of straw folded cranes, created for London Hat Week.

This summer’s special exhibit at Buckingham Palace focuses on Queen Victoria’s reign with a wonderful look at pieces from the 1851 Stuart Ball.
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Lovely portrait of Princess Ariane released Wednesday for her 12th birthday
Sweet snap of three generations of Swedish royals enjoying their visit to the Schönbruun Zoo in Vienna, Austria

Photos from FNN; The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun

Imperial Royals Celebrate Emperor’s 30th Anniversary

January 7, 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of Emperor Akihito’s accession to the Chrysanthemum throne. This anniversary was officially marked yesterday with a series of celebrations, beginning with the Emperor and Empress receiving family members, all in formal daytime court dress, at the Imperial Royal Palace. Crown Princess Masako repeated a blue silk bumper hat- a short video clip shows this piece has an interesting twisted brim around the back, something I don’t think we’ve been able to see until now.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Dec 9, 2018; Dec 9, 2017; Dec 9, 2015
Princess Kiko wore a cuffed calot hat covered in peach silk that I think is a new design for her. Princess Mako repeated the bandeau calot she wore on the day of her engagement announcement back in September 2017. Not visible here, the piece is trimmed with silk roses and leaves on the right side. It’s an interesting choice, particularly as her dotted silk gown has previously been worn with a matching bespoke calot covered in the same fabric. Princess Kako repeated her soft yellow spadded bandeau trimmed with a trio of silk blossoms on the bottom of each side, tucked behind her ears. Check out this bandeau’s previous outings on October 20, 2018 or January 14, 2015 for a better view. 


I believe Princess Hanako repeated her dark green velvet bowler hat with raised brim around the back, trimmed with ostrich feathers (and is that a bow I see?). Princess Yuriko of Mikasa (grandmother to Princess Akiko and Princess Yoko) wore a low-profile bumper hat in deep eggplant purple with ribbon detail on the back. 

Princess Nobuko of Mikasa wore a n open ring-shaped headpiece wrapped in green velvet. Princess Akiko topped her blue silk suit (with beautiful cutwork collar and yoke) with a matching silk rolled brim hat trimmed with ostrich feathers and blue veil. Princess Yoko’s tall, pale gray-green silk hat with high cuffed bumper brim had a retro 1960s feel, amplified by its placement on the back of her head. 

Princess Hisako of Takamado topped her textured pale lilac suit with a matching flat crowned hat with double brim, the outer one wrapped in the same fabric as her suit. Princess Tsuguko was also in a flat-crowned design, her repeated peach silk hat trimmed in looped peach fabric around the bumper brim.

The Emperor and Empress then attended an event hosted by the Japanese government at National Theatre in Tokyo. Empress Michiko repeated her slightly domed saucer hat covered in pale pink silk with white lattice crin underbrim, beautifully trimmed with silk cherry blossoms and a luminous silk bow

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While the hat is not unlike Michiko’s other hats in terms of shape and scale, the colour is a slight departure (so good, right?!) and the trim is simply lovely. It’s a good hat for her as saucer hats go and I’m glad she chose something outside her usual grey palate for this celebration.
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Embed from Getty Images
Designer: likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: Nov 14, 2018

The evening saw a dinner at the Imperial Palace (Crown Princess Masako arrived in plum and Princess Kiko in vibrant blue) while today, most of the extended Imperial royal family was seen at a formal tea party. These photos certainly don’t show great view of these hats- despite these shortcomings, do any hats stand out to you?

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

Hat From the Past

Royal Hats to this day in 1965 when Princess Hanako, who was on a ten day official visit to London with Prince Hitachi, donned a fur hat for a visit to Buckingham Palace.

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Photo from Getty as indicated

Princess Hanako Returns To Public Life

After several months out of the public eye to treat  lumbar spondylosis, it was wonderful to see Princess Hanako out and about today at the 42nd Asia-Pacific Festival and Charity Bazaar in Tokyo. For this visit, she wore a spring green suit with matching hat, covered in the same fabric. A modified bowler, the hat features a rounded crown and flat brim, whimsically trimmed with a wide swath of dotted white veil. The veil trim does wonders to lift the hat, which is a rather staid shape on its own, as does the colour.

Apr 18, 2018 | Royal Hats   Apr 18, 2018 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

It’s so lovely to see Princess Hanako again- I’m sure you join me in wishing her the very best in her continued recovery. What do you think of her fresh green hat today?

Photos fromAsahi and Mainichi