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 

This Week’s Extras

Just fitting in this post while I step away for a day- I’ll be back to finish coverage of Lady Gabriella Windsor’s wedding tomorrow!

Back on May 4, Prince Mihailo and Princess Ljubica of Serbia christened their daughter Natalija in the church of St. George at Oplenac. Princess Ljubica wore a cream straw disc base percher hat with straw loops and ostrich feathers.
Last Sunday, the Prince of Wales took part in the Cavalry Sunday parade, an annual march and commemorative service held the second Sunday of May by the Combined Cavalry Old Comrades Association in Hyde Park. He sported the traditional black felt bowler hat worn by retired regimental members to this event.
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On Monday, the Earl of Wessex donned a dapper cream straw fedora for The Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards Presentations in the gardens of Buckingham Palace.
Also on Monday, Princess Hisako wore a cream silk covered bowler trimmed with a modern floral motif and a very interesting, octagon shaped upturned kettle brim for her departure en route to Sweden. I’m not sure I like the brim shape but it’s undisputably unique.
Princess Beatrix celebrated the bicentenary of the Hermien Mill in Harreveld on Friday, repeating her navy straw hat with domed crown wrapped in layers of wide straw ribbon.
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Yesterday, Crown Princess Kiko attended the 30th National Greenery Conservation ceremony in Tottori in a cream hat trimmed with a pale green hatband (not a coincidence, I’m sure!)
The Duke of York was photographed yesterday in more rehearsals for upcoming Trooping the Colour. The Duke was appointed Colonel of Grenadier Guards in 2017 (taking over from the role his father had held since 1975) an will review the troops in this regiment on June 1 to make sure they are in tip top shape for the Queen’s birthday parade on June  15
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Today, Princess Yoko donned a tall, flared pink cloche hat for youth tennis championships in Kashiwa.

This week, I updated the post on all of Queen Máxima’s signature upswept brim ‘slice’ picture hats and was gobsmacked to realize she has 25 (and counting) of this style! Jump to the updated post for a peek.
The following new millinery designs jumped out at me:
Brilliantly practical straw percher with interchangeable trim from British milliner Fernanda Lewis
Two great picture hats (one with lovely ombre ruffle & one with pink perspex bow) by British milliner Ellie Vallerini
Exquisite movement on this crin trimmed black straw beret percher by Scottish milliner Maggie Mowbray
Pale grey saucer with iridescent pinwheel of layered crescent petals from London-based milliner Merve Bayindir
Red button percher with swirling scarlet cherry blossoms by Irish milliner Suzanne Ryan
Bandeau headpieces with colourful, statement-making trims from British milliner Jess Collett
Striking black and white design, amazingly made without a hat block by Australian milliner Louis Macdonald
Lovely colour story on this lilac and peach floral trimmed boater from Irish milliner Carol Kennelly
Stunning midnight blue beaded pillbox percher with flying bow by New Zealand milliner Anel Heyman
Adore the ribbon pinwheel trim on this cream straw trilby from period-inspired British brand Bea & Evie
Fantastic statement star magnolias on this magenta hugger percher by Australian brand Murley and Co.
Pattern! Vibrant floral printed black straw boater with feather trim by Canadian-based brand Jaycow Millinery

 

Princess Märtha Louise was in a lot of headlines this week after announcing a new relationship. Here’s the interview she and her new partner Shaman Derek Verrett conducted to address some of the controversy:
Princess Benedikte’s daughter, Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, was married to Count Michael Ahlefeld-Laurvig-Bill’s wedding yesterday. Interestingly, she wore a floral tiara from her new husband’s family. Princess Märtha Louise (and Shaman Derek Verrett) were among a handful of family and royal guests.
Wonderful footage of the entire Cambridge family exploring the “Back to Nature” garden the Duchess was part of creating at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.


And, we wrap up this weekend with a start to the Royal Ascot countdown… it’s just 4 weeks away!

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Imperial Royals Appear On Palace Balcony

On Friday, the Japanese royal family appeared balcony of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo for the emperor and empress’ first official public appearance.

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Empress Masako chose vibrant yellow for this debut, a colour we’ve not seen on her in recent memory. Her silk covered hat features a domed crown and tightly upturned kettle brim, trimmed with a hatband embroidered with diagonal stripes of gold and saffron bugle beads.

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The beaded hatband links with the exquisite starburst (or rising sun?!) motif around the collar and cuffs of her gown with a slight but very welcome contrast provided by the diagonal direction. It’s a matched ensemble, for certain, but such is the Imperial way at events as high profile as this and it’s wonderful to see something on the empress as sunny as her smile has been this week. Dare we hope it’s a foretaste of more vibrant hats to come?!

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Crown Princess Kiko repeated a bumper hat covered in cream silk printed with a small floral jacquard pattern. The hat is simply trimmed with the same finely braided trim as on the bodice seams and cuffs of her gown. Kiko’s ensembles are always impeccably finished and I suspect the subtle detail in this hat is best viewed at closer range.


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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: January 15, 2016; December 23, 2011

Princess Mako repeated her cuffed calot hat and gown in printed pale gold silk. The hat is simply trimmed with a bow at the back.


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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: January 16, 2017; December 23, 2015

Princess Kako followed her sister’s lead, repeating a cuffed calot hat and gown in pink silk printed with a small floral motif. As far as calots go, this has a lovely shape emphasized by the cuff. The right side of the hat is trimmed with pink silk flowers.


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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: December 23, 2015

Princess Hanako brought some of her characteristic millinery pizzazz with a heart shaped hat in the same periwinkle blue silk as her gown. The hat’s crown features an inlay of pleats- a unique detail I can’t remember seeing on another royal hat. The pleats emphasize the unusual heart shape; the hat is finished with a small, rolled brim and spray of silk lilies of the valley at the back. The design feels rather creative for an Imperial hat, something I’ll always applaud!


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

Princess Yuriko, who will celebrate her 96th birthday next month, looked regally elegant in her deep green pillbox hat trimmed with a silk rose at the side.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: April 10, 2019

Princess Nobuko topped her melon hued gown with a pleated bandeau-calot in a slightly lighter shade, trimmed with orange silk rolled rosettes and bow loops on the side. The different shades of peach, melon and orange work so well to create a look that is interestingly nuanced but still, very coordinated


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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this is nes

Princess Akiko repeated her pale blues silk covered Breton hat trimed with ostrich feather wrap that fills the surface of the brim, and a dotted net veil.  The hat’s narrow brim suits petite Akiko very well and, as I’ve mentioned before, does not overwhelm the amazing cutwork on the collar of her gown.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: February 24, 2019; January 16, 2019

Princess Hisako paired her salmon pink paisley floral high necked gown with a beautiful brimmed hat. The design, which features a shallow crown, is trimmed with a lace hatband and delicately patterned veil that overlays the brim. The plain salmon silk covered hat is further trimmed with a spray of silk blooms and leaves on the side. We consistently see the Imperial royals in hats and gowns of the same hue but the different materials used on the two pieces here give such lovely contrast and interest to the ensemble. It’s just exquisite.

Designer:
Previously Worn:

Princess Tsuguko wore a percher hat in a beautifully patterned green silk. The teardrop shaped base is trimmed with a layered sash across the top of the hat embroidered with the same vine pattern as on the collar of her gown, and is finished with a trailing spray of blossoms on the side. The embroidered detail gives lovely dimension to the pieces and the balance of high collar, hairstyle and angle of hat placement (set off by that stunning aquamarine brooch) is just superb.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

This event leaves me hope-filled for an increase of more colourful and creative millinery on the Imperial royal ladies during this Reiwa era. There are some wonderful hats here- which ones stand out most to you?

Photos from Getty as indicated; The Asahi Shimbun via Getty; Newsletter Communication Center; Jiji; Mainich

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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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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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

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

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