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

Imperial Anniversary Celebrations Continue at Tea Party

On Tuesday morning, a tea party for notable persons of the Heisei era was held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo in continued celebration of Emperor Akihito’s 30 years on the throne. As hostess of the event, Empress Michiko did not wear a hat and as Crown Princess Masako did not attend, the most senior Imperial family member in a hat was Princess Kiko. We don’t associate Princess Kiko with millinery surprises but that’s exactly what she delivered at this event, joining her daughters in the bandeau trend that’s sweeping the globe!

In fact, all of the Akishino princesses appeared in bandeau headpieces- Kiko in a new cream one while Princess Mako repeated her beautiful peacock blue design with diamond pattern and Princess Mako repeated her pale lemon yellow silk jacquard bandeau with floral trim behind the ears.

 

The Mikasa and Takamado princesses also attended the tea party. Princess Nobuko wore a new pleated burgundy calot (it photographed as deep scarlet in some light but read as more purple on video footage) with single feather trim. Princess Akiko repeated a cream hat with short brim and pleated hatband and Princess Yoko repeated a tall, ruched dusty pink pillbox trimmed in wispy feathers.

Princess Hisako wore an interesting leaf green flat hat with what looks like square points and feather trim while Princess Tsuguko looked lovely in an orchid purple formed beret (covered in silk, I would imagine) with feathers on the side.

I suspect the emperor’s upcoming abdication has made this anniversary celebration into such a large, multi-day event but no matter the reason, it’s great to see the Imperial family lend their support (and their hats!) and I was particularly happy to see Mrs. Sayako Kuroda  in attendance. I wish we could see better views of the Takamado princess’ hats because they look memorable. Which designs here stand out most to you?

Photos from FNN; The Asahi Shimbun and The Asahi Shimbun via Getty

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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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

This Week’s Extras

Princess Hisako publicly endorsed the Race For Water Foundation in early February with a sporty baseball hat.
On February 15, Princess Tsuguko attended the opening ceremony of this year’s Japan Grand Prix International Orchid Festival in a pink silk hat with floral trim. Her sister, Noriko Senge accompanied her and in a sweet touch, Tsuguko referenced her sister during her speech (Noriko’s personal emblem as a princess was an orchid)
The Prince of Wales presented campaign medals to the 1st Battalion Welch Guards on Tuesday while on Wednesday, the Duke of Sussex, who is Captain General Royal Marines, visited the 42 Commando Royal Marines at their base in Bickleigh to carry out a Green Beret presentation. Both wore military uniform berets for these visits.
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Back in October, we looked at the wedding of Duchess Sophie von Württemberg and Count Maximilien d’Andigné. I  came across photos of the couple’s civil ceremony which show the bride in a delicate pink floral bandeau. So pretty. Another sweet touch- Sophie wore her paternal grandmother’s wedding dress for the religious ceremony and here, for the civil ceremony, she wore a retro shift dress belonging to her maternal grandmother.
The following new millinery designs caught my eye this week:
Wonderfully graphic black felt beret with grey & cream rose by Danish milliner Katrin Cecilia Jacobsen
Marvellous red felt fedora with extended brim and belted hatband by Polish milliner Marta Ruta
Beautiful ivory upswept saucer with curling quills & pink flowers by British milliner Vivien Sheriff
Vibrant orange printed saucer hat by EnaGancio fashion, which specializes in African prints
Black straw hat with ruffled upsweep and gold straw trim by British milliner Isabella Josie
Fuchsia straw picture hat with abacca fan and straw twists by British brand Rebecca Couture Millinery
Adore the leaf trim on this elegant navy & ivory straw disc by Australian millinery student Abigail Fergusson
Luxe midnight blue velvet percher with leather flowers, straw twists & veil by Irish milliner Julie Kenny
Headpiece of more than 700 individually placed feathers made by American milliner Milli Starr

And oh my- how I adore this exquisite coral straw teardrop beaded percher with silk abacca twists by Irish milliner Michelle Gleeson. Stunning simplicity at its best.

The Japan Times published two interesting articles this week that are both an insightful read:
Princess Charlene shared this wonderful series of snaps taken during Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques’ first trip to her home continent.
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First African Experience

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Princess Madeleine shared this lovely portrait, taken for Princess Leonore’s fourth birthday and Haga Palace released these snaps of Princess Estelle on the occasion of her 7th birthday this week


On Thursday, King Harald celebrated his 82th birthday- Princess Märtha Louise shared this very fun family portrait with a sweet message wishing him a happy birthday.
We send you off this weekend with a royal red carpet moment from Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, who accompanied their parents to yesterday’s opening of a new development in Monaco. It’s worth noting that the sun was rather bright upon their arrival…
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Photos by Getty and social media as indicated

This Week’s Extras

I need to step away from Royal Hats from Monday until the end of the month for some ‘real’ work focus and travel. I’ve planned a series on past Ascot hats and ask again that in my absence, you all share whatever new hats are worn each day in the comments of these flashback posts. I promise to be back soon!  

On Monday, the Imperial family marked the 30th anniversary of Emperor Showa’s death at Musashino Imperial Mausoleum in Hachiōji, Tokyo. Empress Michiko, Princess Kiko, Princess Akiko, Princess Hisako and Princess Tsuguko all wore black hats. The Imperial Crown prince and princess marked this anniversary at the Imperial Palace, Princess Masako in an ecru silk covered hat with high, upturned Breton brim.

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Zara Tindall posed with her husband, Mike on Monday, holding a pink straw sun hat.

On Wednesday, Crown Princess Victoria visited Livgardet (The Life Guards) in Kungsängen in a military green beret.

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I dag besökte Kronprinsessan Livgardet i Kungsängen. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ På plats gavs information om Livgardet – som är ett av Försvarsmaktens största militära förband – och dess många olika ansvarsområden. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Kronprinsessan fick bland annat en presentation av 13:e säkerhetsbataljonen, vars arbete är att upptäcka, motverka och bekämpa säkerhetshotande verksamhet, både nationellt och internationellt. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Dagen på Livgardet avslutades med att Kronprinsessan fick testa Robot 57 på simulatoravdelningen. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Besöket är ett av Kronprinsessans återkommande besök inom Försvarsmakten. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @livgardet ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 📷: Astrid Emilia Amtén/Försvarsmakten

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Also on Wednesday, Princess Sofia was photographed in a pink sun hat at a polo match in Florida where she, Prince Carl Gustaf, and the King and Queen are on holiday, visiting Princess Madeleine and her family.
The following new millinery designs caught my eye this week:
Winter white beautifully embellished bandeau by Ukrainian milliner Elena Martynenko
Adore this pink straw percher with exuberant ostrich pompom by Australian milliner Meg Rafter
Forrest green velvet felt trilby with slim pale blue hatband by British milliner Bundle MacLaren
Honey orange straw percher with silk roses, veil & burnt feathers by London-based Turkish milliner Merve Bayindir
Blush straw dramatic sidesweep with pale grey looped rings from Irish milliner Aiofe Harrison
Prim Mary Poppins inspired embellished straw boater by British brand Frase Annand Millinery
I’m not usually partial to a bowler hat but adore this vibrant and fresh take on the bowler  by Italian brand Borsalino
Lovely blue straw kokoshnik bandeau with veil and white leather flowers by British milliner Justine Bradley-Hill
Amazing citrus branch headpiece by Australian milliner Rebecca Share that won top prize at Magic Millions Raceday

And from Australian milliner Danica Erard, this vibrant pink straw saucer with flying red bow around the front brim.

The Danish Royal Court shared this charming portraits of Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent to celebrate their eighth birthday.
How sweet is this snap, shared by their mum, of Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella of Monaco returning to school after Christmas break?
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Back to School 2019

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Great view of London from the cockpit of a helicopter, flown from Kensington Palace to The Royal London Hospital by the Duke of Cambridge to celebrate the London Air Ambulance’s 30th anniversary.

Photos from Getty and social media as indicated