Imperial Couple Welcome US President

Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko formally welcomed U.S. President Barack Obama at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo today. The Empress repeated a hat from her recent tour of India- this large white saucer hat trimmed with a large green leaf and cascading pink petals. Our view of this hat today shows that unlike many of Michikos saucer hats which are completely flat, this hat has a gently rounded crown. I love that this hat has more of a traditional hat shape, and am always happy to see the Empress in some colour. The larger size of this hat also suits her very well, don’t you think?

Empress Michiko, April 24, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: December 2, 2013

Who Wore It Best: April Poll

The Royal Hats Blog

The Royal Hats Blog

As spring unfolds around many of us and we find the days of April slipping away, I thought we might face off two decidedly spring hats. These two beauties, both pale pink straw picture hats with diagonal brims, are both the creation of Belgian designer Fabienne Delvigne. The only question remains, Who Wore It Best?

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa in Fabienne Delvigne, May 24, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog      Queen Máxima, Nov. 22, 2013 in Fabienne Delvigne | The Royal Hats Blog

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, May 24, 2013 and Queen Máxima, Nov. 22, 2013

This poll will remain open until midnight GMT on May 1 and I will unveil the winner soon thereafter. As always, you are welcome to vote as many times as you wish. Good luck!

Photos from Patrick van Katwijk via Dutch Photo Press and Luis Acosta via Getty

Hat Types: The Cloche

Cloche | The Royal Hats Blog

History: Invented by milliner Caroline Reboux in 1908, cloche hats became a popular fashion accessory during the 1920s and early 1930s. The name is derived from cloche, the French word for “bell”. The cloche enjoyed a resurgence in the spotlight during the the 1960s and has recently come back in vogue, thanks to popular British TV show ‘Downton Abbey’.  

Characteristics: A fitted, bell-shaped hat that conforms to the head. Cloche hats are worn low on the forehead, with the wearer’s eyes only slightly below the brim

Royals Associated with this Hat Style: Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, royal women with retro style

The Duchess of York, 1927 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Sonja, October 26, 2010 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Elizabeth, 1966 | The Royal Hats Blog

The Duchess of York (before she was the Queen Mum) 1927; Queen Sonja, October 2010; Queen Elizabeth in 1966 

Viscountess Linley, June 1998 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Mabel, April 2005  | The Royal Hats Blog rincess Maxima, April 2003 | The Royal Hats Blog ara Phillips, March 2010  | The Royal Hats Blog

Viscountess Linley, June 1998; Princess Mabel, April 2005; Princess Maxima, April 2003;  Zara Phillips, March 2010 

Tatiana Santo Domingo, July 2011 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Caroline, November 19, 2007 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Silvia, August 2012 | The Royal Hats Blog rincess Alexandra, Dec. 2012  | The Royal Hats Blog

Tatiana Santo Domingo, July 2011; Princess Caroline, Nov. 2007; Queen Silvia, Aug. 2012; Princess Alexandra, Dec. 2012 

While the cloche is a relatively simple shape of hat, I think it is one of the most difficult hats to wear. Not everyone looks good in a hat worn so closely to the head and the low brim of a cloche does not lend itself well to royal life (a life that is all about being seen). That is probably why we don’t see it worn very much. What do you think of the cloche?

Photos from: Mary Evans via Tips; isifa via Getty; Rex via WeWomen; Tim Graham, Julian ParkerMichel Porro and  Samir Hussein via Getty; Bauer Griffin via Style Bistro; Alain Benainous via Getty; Mikael Fritzon via ANP; and Jean-Claude Ernst via Taggeblatt

Birthday of Queen Elizabeth

A Birthday4Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 88th birthday today. For the past week I have searched for a hat I would like to suggest for her to wear this year… to no avail. I suppose it’s like shopping for the person who has everything- the Queen has worn so many varied styles, shapes and hues of hats that I find it impossible to suggest something new for her to try. I also adore the millinery partnership the Queen has forged with British milliner Rachel Trevor Morgan and, quite simply, can’t imagine improving upon it. So instead of suggestions something we would like Queen Elizabeth to wear, I thought we would reverse gears and look back at her life, in hats. Which one of Queen Elizabeth’s do you think is most memorable? Which ones are your favourites or stand out in your mind most? Here are some to get us started.

Princess Elizabeth on her 13th birthday, April 21, 1939

Queen Elizabeth during the 1961 tour of India

Celebrating her Silver Jubilee in a Frederick Fox design on June 28, 1977

Queen Elizabeth, June 18, 1977 in Frederick Fox | The Royal Hats Blog

Meeting South African President Nelson Mandela, March 23, 1995

On the Thames for her Diamond Jubilee Flotilla in a design by Angela Kelly, June 3, 2012

Photos from Getty Images as indicated and Douglas Kirkland via Corbis

Catching Up With the Young Royals

While most of the royal media’s attention has been on a certain young Prince’s tour down under, two other young royal ladies recently stepped out in hats. For her mama’s return to competitive riding this weekend at the SYMM International Horse Trials, little Mia Tindall made her official royal hat debut in a knitted white cap complete with bunny ears.


On April 16, Princess Estelle of Sweden joined her mother, Crown Princes Victoria, at the Aquarium Skansen in Stockholm to open an exhibit on frogs. Estelle wore a double bow barette in her hair and as usual, looked adorable.

Princess Estelle, April 16, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Estelle, April 16, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Estelle, April 16, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog

Photos from Getty Images as indicated and BestImage via Pure People

British Royals Celebrate Easter

Members of the British Royal Family attended Easter Sunday Service this morning at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Queen Elizabeth led her family with the debut of a new hat in palest blue-grey straw; this hat featured an asymmetrical upturned brim, a domed crown with straight sides, and a mass of silk blooms on the side. This is a shape and style of hat we have seen a number of times of Her Majesty but it works so very well for her that I’m quite pleased to see it again.

Queen Elizabeth, April 20, 2014 in Rachel Trevor Morgan | The Royal Hats Blog  Queen Elizabeth, April 20, 2014 in Rachel Trevor Morgan | The Royal Hats Blog

Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan
Previously Worn: This is a new hat

Princes Anne repeated a hat I have affectionately named “Old Faithful” (what else can you call a hat that has been in royal service since 1969?!). We last saw this black homberg with studded band around the crown at the Cheltenham races, an event which suited the retro and informal vibe of this hat very well. Today, for Easter Sunday, I thought it looked awkward and  out of place.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: March 15, 2014; this event in the mid 90s and this event in 1969

The Countess of Wessex debuted an interesting beret-style percher hat entirely covered in feathers. Aside from the large black claw-like plumes which topped this hat, I liked it. This hat is a great shape on Sophie and the mottled colour created by the overlapping feathers leaves a rather painterly impression. It was also a beautiful compliment to Sophie’s impeccable coat. I also loved that it’s a departure from anything we have seen on Sophie before.

2014-04-20 2

Designer: unknown. 
Previously Worn: This is a new hat

Princess Eugenie repeated one of her lily hats. While difficult to tell in this photo, this is the same green straw beret trimmed with oversize white calla lily that she wore to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party last year. Green is always beautiful on Eugenie although the giant lily still doesn’t work for me. Scale it back by half, and we’d have a winner.

Designer: Robyn Coles
Previously Worn:  May 30, 2013

Lady Sarah Chatto repeated the cream saucer hat we have seen on her a number of times before. Sarah usually chooses monochrome hat and dress combinations and it was a refreshing change to see her pair this hat with nautical navy and white. While Lady Serena Armstrong-Jones has some of the most memorable hats in the British royal family, today she chose a rather sedate beige beret. Until we see it from a better angle (or with a more interesting ensemble), I’m pained to have to declare this hat a yawner.

2014-04-20 4

Designer of Lady Sarah’s hat: Stephen Jones
Previously Worn: June 5, 2012; June 10, 2011
Designer of Lady Serena’s hat: unconfirmed. My guess is Stephen Jones
Previously Worn: June 18, 2011

With the absences of the Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Beatrice and the Duchess of Cambridge, I’m afraid today’s lineup of British royal hats fell a little flat. Where there any that stood out as your favourites?

Photos from Getty as indicated and: Oli Scarff via Getty; David Hartley/Rex via The Daily Mail

Cambridges Celebrate Easter

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended Easter Sunday Service at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia this morning. As expected, Kate wore a hat for the service- a grey percher hat trimmed with a large multi-looped organdie bow (hand dyed, I suspect). I loved how the fussy hat contrasted with the very clean lines of Kate’s coat and I thought her hairstyle showed off the hat to excellent effect. It’s a great hat for Kate, isn’t it?

Duchess of Cambridge, April 20, 2014 in Jane Taylor | The Royal Hats Blog


Designer: Jane Taylor
Previously Worn: This is a new hat