Imperial Royals Mark Passing of Princes

June 6 marked the fifth anniversary of the death of Prince Tomohito of Mikasa. As per tradition, a ‘grave festival’ was held at Toshima Oka cemetery in Tokyo. The Imperial family was led at this event by the late Prince Tomohito and Princess Nobuko’s daughters Princess Akiko and Princess Yoko; their grandmother, Princess Yuriko of Mikasa, Crown Prince Naruhito, Prince and Princess Akishino were also in attendance with the women in veiled black bumper hats and the men in morning dress, carrying silk top hats.

Princess Akiko and Princess Yoko, June 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Akiko and Princess Yoko, June 6, 2017 | Royal Hats Princess Yurko of Mikasa, June 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Prince Naruhito, June 6, 2017 | Royal Hats Prince Fumihito and Princess Kiko, June 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

The event was also attended by former princesses Mrs. Sayako Kuroda (Prince Naruhito’s sister, the former Princess Nori) and Mrs. Noriko Senge (former Princess Noriko of Takamado) who repeated the dress code of pale grey dresses topped with black veiled bumper hats.

Mrs. Sayako Kuroda and Mrs. Noriko Senge, June 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Today, a similar event was held at the same cemetery and shrine, this time to mark the third anniversary of the passing of Yoshihito, Prince Katsura. Similar black, veiled bumper hats were worn again for this event by Princess Yoriko of Mikasa (Prince Katura’s mother), Princess Kiko and Mrs. Sayako Kuroda. Again, Crown Prince Naruhito attended in morning dress, carrying a black silk top hat.

 Princess Yuriko of Mikasa, June 6, 2017 | Royal Hats Crown Prince Naruhito, June 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

 Princess Kiko, June 8, 2017 | Royal Hats Princess Kiko, June 8, 2017 | Royal Hats

Mrs. Sayako Kuroda, June 8, 2017 | Royal Hats

The attendance of Sayako Kurado and Noriko Senge at these events feels noteworthy. Since the 1947 Imperial Household Law, Japanese princesses have lost their royal status upon marriage – until recently, former princesses did not attend royal events and appeared to be completely cut off from their royal relations. While these were family events (and as such, follow different rules than official Imperial ones), Princess Mako’s upcoming engagement announcement has started chatter about revising this law to allow Imperial princesses to retain some of their status (especially with a single male in the current young generation). I can’t help but hope that the appearance of Sayako and Noriko this week is a sign that, at the very least, the inpterpretation of this law is starting to change.

Catching Up On Royal Hats

After a short vacation, I’m back refreshed and ready for what will be a very busy upcoming month of royal hats! Thanks so much for keeping the conversation going while I was away- you readers are absolutely wonderful. A few of you have requested a post with photos of all the hats we missed over the past week – here we go.

May 21:  Princess Anne attending Day 2 of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2017 in a repeated hat with tall, navy straw crown and cream brim trimmed with navy straw bow loops, silk flowers and feather quills. She wore it most recently in June 2015 at garden party (jump to this post for better views).

May 24: Queen Sonja of Norway opened the 65th Bergen International Festival in a repeated gold straw hat with high, domed crown, flat brim and wide silk hatband we saw her last wear in June 2015.

Queen Sonja, May 24, 2017 | Royal Hats

May 24: The Duchess of Cornwall presented RAF Halton with new colours. She repeated a hat by Lock and Co. with a tall crown, upturned kettle brim and side bow in nubbly natural straw.

May 24: The Duke of Edinburgh and the Earl of Wessex presented the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award gold awards at Buckingham Palace in a pair of straw Panama hats

May 25: Queen Elizabeth visited the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and an equestrian farm in Staffordshire, repeating the orange straw cloche with wrap around the crown that she first wore for Ascot last year. Designed by Angela Kelly, the hat is trimmed with orange straw bows, silk roses and royal blue feathers.

May 25: Empress Michiko, Princess Kiko, Princess Hisako and Princess Nobuko attended the Japanese Red Cross Society annual meeting. Empress Michicko repeated a white saucer with blow and transparent lattice underbrim and Princess Kiko repeated a bowler variation with upturned, kettle brim and pleated hatband in the same ice blue printed silk as her suit. Princess Hisako wore a charcoal grey straw design with wide, dotted hatband sash that tied in a bow at the side while Princess Nobuko repeated a white hat with rolled brim and crisp navy hatband with white pinstripes.

Imperial Royal Family, May 25, 2017 | Royal Hats

Empress Michiko, May 25, 2017 | Royal Hats  Princess Kiko, May 25, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Hisako, May 25, 2017 | Royal Hats  Princess Nobuko, May 25, 2017 | Royal Hats

May 25: Princess Eugenie co-hosted a Buckingham Palace garden party with her father to celebrate the Centenary of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). She wore a new gold straw hat with inverted crin brim by Nerida Fraiman (it’s the Crin Disc Gold from SS 2017). I adore the shape and sheen of this design.


May 26: Princess Anne delivered closing remarks at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2017 (read parts of her speech here). She looked fantastic in an emerald green dress topped with a cream straw hat with diagonal crown and sharply upturned brim on one side. The hat is trimmed with a mass of cream feathers on the lowered side of the brim and stacked hatbands in gold and caramel straw. While the hat follows a very similar shape and colour to the one she debuted for Easter last year, I think this one is different. Have any of you seen it before?

May 27: Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko travelled to Toyama to attend the 68th National Tree-Planting Festival. On the first day of their three day visit, Empress Michiko repeated a large, white, domed saucer hat trimmed in a black and caramel striped silk bow she most recently wore during their last visit to this region in October 2015.

Empress Michiko, May 27, 2017 | Royal Hats

May 27: Charlotte Casiraghi photographed attending a wedding in Italy in a white cuffed calot hat. It’s a repeated pice that was worn several decades earlier by her mother, Princess Caroline.

Hermosa #CharlotteCasiraghi asistiendo a una boda en Roma | 27 de Mayo 2017

A post shared by Charlotte Casiraghi (@charlottexcasiraghi) on

Is it the same hat? #carolinedemonaco #princesscarolineofmonaco #charlottecasiraghi #Monaco

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May 28: Empress Michicko on Day 2 in Toyama in a large white saucer with a coordinating bow to her lime and black and white hounds tooth checked suit she first wore June 1, 2014. How wonderful is that hit of lime!

Empress Michiko, May 28, 2017 | Royal Hats  Empress Michiko, May 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

Empress Michiko, May 28, 2017 | Royal Hats 

May 28: Queen Elizabeth en route to Crathie Church for Sunday Service in a repeated magenta straw hat with upswept brim, white straw hatband, straw loops at the side and a pair of magenta feathers. Jump over to this post for better photos from this Rachel Trevor Morgan design’s most recent outing in May 2016.

May 29: Empress Michicko wrapping up the visit to Toyama in her repeated, teal blue, rimmed saucer with grey, black and white plaid bow in the same silk as her skirt. She wore it last June 4, 2016

Empress Michiko, May 29, 2017 | Royal Hats  Empress Michiko, May 29, 2017 | Royal Hats

May 31: Today, The Duke of Edinburgh hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the London Youth charity’s 130th anniversary. He looked rather dapper in his straw Panama hat.

I think that catches us up! I think there’s only one hat here that didn’t make it into your discussion- Princess Anne’s cream straw hat worn with the green dress. I think this is a knockout outfit for her and am curious to hear what you think. Any final thoughts on the hats we’ve seen over the past week?

Wrapping Up Imperial Royal Tour

In the midst of a busy schedule of royal events over the past two weeks, I completely forgot to wrap up the Imperial visit to Thailand. My apologies!

On Sunday, March 5, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko arrived in Thailand (see their departure from Vietnam earlier that day at this post). The Empress disembarked the flight in a new grey saucer hat with flat bow across the front, trimmed with a dotted black net tulle veil. The addition of the net veil is a trimming departure for the empress, one that gives a bit of textural contrast to the hat.

Empress Michiko, Mar 5, 2017 | Royal Hats

Empress Michiko, Mar 5, 2017 | Royal Hats  Empress Michiko, Mar 5, 2017 | Royal Hats

After a quick 24-hour visit, the Imperial couple departed on Monday, March 6 to return home. For their departure, Empress Michiko wore her ninth new hat of the tour. The pale grey rimmed saucer hat is trimmed with a double looped half bow in the same darker grey silk as her dress. This design is not a departure from anything else we’ve seen on the Empress, although the balance between the saucer brim and the side bow is particularly pretty in this piece.

Empress Michiko, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

The royal couple arrived home on the evening of Monday, March 6. The Empress disembarked the Japan airways jet in a repeated saucer hat in the same tiny black and white check as her coat, trimmed with a large curved bow.

Empress Michiko, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Empress Michiko, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats  Empress Michiko, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Empress Michiko, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: Designer: unknown
Previously Worn:March 18, 2016January 19, 2015

Most of the extended Imperial royal family greeted the Emperor and Empress at the airport. Crown Princess Masako wore a new black (or navy?) hat with upfolded velvet brim, edged in braid trim. Some of you may recall that she wore a green version of this same for the Emperor and Empress’ departure.

 Crown Princess Masako, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Crown Princess Masako, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Kiko,  Princess Kako both wore variations on bowler hats while Princess Mako repeated a navy cloche with upturned, short trim trimmed with a bow on the side. 

Imperial Royal Family, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Imperial Royal Family, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Hanako repeated a white cloche variation with short mushroom brim and wide grey ruched hatband. Princess Nobuko looked to be wearing a large navy saucer hat (worn at a wonderfully jaunty angle) while her daughters Princess Akiko wore a grey trilby with navy hatband and Princess Yoko sported a white design with short brim and tall crown. Princess Tsuguko of Takamado looked to be wearing her navy indented pillbox with back bow and Princess Ayako topped her camel coat with a matching hat that appears to be trimmed in a Lady Amherst pheasant feather.

Imperial Royal Family, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Several of you have commented about the tradition for extended Imperial family members to greet the Emperor and Empress at their departure and arrivals home- it is a lovely tradition and one that allows us to see lots of hats! Which designs here stand out most to you?

The Imperial Household Agency announced last week that the gruelling pace of this tour caused sickness for the Empress, who has now suspended engagements in order to recover. We wish her the very best in her return to health.

Imperial Royals Set Off For Vietnam

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko departed Japan yesterday en route to Vietnam where they will take part in a six-day visit. The royal couple were seen off at the airport for this historic visit (Akihito is the first emperor to visit Vietnam) by members of their extended family. Empress Michiko looked very smart in her repeated black saucer hat trimmed in origami folded bow, backed in the same black and white hound’s tooth check as her skirt.

Empress Michiko, Feb 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: Mar 16, 2015

Crown Princess Masako topped her emerald coat with a matching hat in velvet felt. The flat crown and upturned brim shape of this hat is one we’ve seen on Masako before but in a saturated colour and with the addition of braid around the brim edge, the familiar shape is transformed into something special.


Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: this hat is new

Princess Kiko wore a cloche variation in camel felt with diagonally upturned brim. The brim shape is an unexpectedly pert departure for Kiko that works well for her.

Princess Kiko and Princess Masako, Feb 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: this hat is new

Princess Mako and Princess Kako both sported bowler variations with rolled brims and squared crowns in chocolate brown felt. This side-by-side view of these two very similar pieces shows the significant difference that subtle changes in crown height or tightness of brim roll can make to the overall look of a hat.

Designer: unknown
Princess Mako’s hat was worn Jan 30, 2016 and Nov 29, 2013
Princess Kako’s hat was worn Jan 30, 2016. I believe it was also worn by her mother, Princess Kiko on Nov 29, 2013 

Princess Nobuko and Princess Hanako both sported navy and white hats (far left, below). Princess Nobuko’s winter white felt ddesign (a fedora variation maybe?) featured an upturned brim and navy hatband while Princess Hanako’s hat contrasted a cream brim against a navy crown. Both hats are sharp, stylish pieces that I wish we could see up close.

Princess Nobuko and Princess Hanako, Feb 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe both hats are new

Princess Akiko repeated her winter white cloche hat with an upturned cuff brim while her sister, Princess Yoko topped her yellow coat with a matching bowler variation with yellow squared crown and rolled ivory brim. Princess Tsuguko of Takamado wore what looks like an ecru bumper hat with large bow trim at the side.

Princess Tsuguko, Princess Yoko and Princess Akiko, Feb 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Tsuguko, Princess Yoko and Princess Akiko, Feb 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: all are unknown 
Previously Worn: Princess Akiko’s hat was worn Jan 26, 2016. I believe Princess Yoko and Princes Tsuguko’s hats are new. 

When the royal couple touched down in Hanoi, Empress Michiko embarked in a mushroom grey hued suit with coordinating hat. One of her larger saucer shapes, the hat is simply trimmed with a curling ribbon in the same two shades of grey as her silk suit. It’s a simple hat but one that works really well with this ensemble.


Designer: Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new
There are some nice surprises in this group of hats- which designs stand out to you?
Photos from Getty as indicated; Shizou Kambayashi via Associated Press; Kazuhiro Nogi via Getty; REUTERS/Issei Kato

Imperial Royals Attend New Years Poetry Reading

The annual ceremony of New Year’s Poetry Reading (Utakai Hajime) was held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Friday. As per tradition, the Japanese royal ladies attended this event in court dress, just as they did for the annual New Years lectures last week. As host of the event, Empress Michiko was again not required to wear a hat.

Imperial Royal Family, Jan 13, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Kiko repeated her pale lime pillbox hat with lattice woven detail to match the bodice of her gown. The lattice looks to give some much needed texture to the hat and ties the ensemble together, beautifully.

Princess Kiko, Jan 13, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Dec 23, 2013Dec 23, 2006

Princess Mako topped her gown with a bumper brimmed calot hat. While both pieces are impeccably cut, the head to hem use of the same printed blush pink silk makes the ensemble rather bland.

Princess Mako, Jan 13, 2017 | Royal Hats   Princess Mako, Jan 13, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Dec 23, 2015

We can usually count on Princess Hanako to spice things up in the Imperial fashion stakes and she certainly delivered! Her rose silk hat featured a pork pie style crown around which was set a moulded brim. While the shape was interesting on its own, the hat was trimmed with feathers at the back and a half overlay of the same lace used on her gown. The half overlay is a wonderfully interesting design detail- not only does it make use of the lace’s beautifully scalloped border, it gives some textural contrast to the hat, saving the ensemble from head-to-toe lace overkill. This hat keeps drawing me in for a closer look, something that rarely happens with Imperial royal hats and that makes me love this piece all the more.

Princess Hanako, Jan 13, 2017 | Royal Hats

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

What do you think of this trio of Imperial royal hats?

Photo from The Asahi Shimbun via Getty, NHK and Sankei

Imperial New Years Lectures 2017

Members of the Imperial Family gathered yesterday at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo to take part in the Kousho Hajime (Imperial New Year’s Lectures).

Imperial Royal Family, Jan 11, 2017 | Royal Hats

Held annually since 1869, the Court Dress code for this event sees all the ladies in gowns and hats except for Empress Michiko, who forgoes a hat as she is officially hosting the event in her home. Princess Kiko repeated the blue grey calot she wore to the lectures last year.

Princess Kiko, Jan 11, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Mako repeated a turquoise pillbox with bumper-style raised sides she first wore for her grandfather’s 80th birthday three years ago.

Princess Mako, Jan 11, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Hanako of Hitachi repeated the vibrant blue leopard printed silk gown and matching bumper hat with feather trim that she wore for the New Year’s Poetry reading last year.  While the detail on this hat is not visible on this photo, jump over to this post for a better view taken during its first outing.

Princess Hanako, Jan 11, 2017 | Royal Hats

Photos from The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, and The Asahi Shimbun

Japanese Royals in Italy

Prince Fumihito and Princess Kiko visited Italy earlier this month. While their program included visits to the Vatican and Bologna, some of their time in Rome was not covered by the mainstream media and we missed a new hat worn by Princess Kiko on May 11 (thanks to reader Angela for finding this!). In natural textured straw, this design features a rounded crown and cartwheel brim and is trimmed in a wide hatband in the same navy silk stripe as Kiko’s dress. The scale of the piece is much larger than she usually wears and the overall ensemble is a far more bold and graphic one than we have seen on her in a very, very long time. It’s not the best hat or dress she has ever worn, but it is a departure and that’s worth something in the world of Imperial Royal fashion.

Princess Kiko, May 11, 2016 | Royal Hats

Thanks again, Angela, for passing this along. What do you all think of this uncharacteristically graphic hat on Princess Kiko?

Photo from EPA/Angelo Carconi via Alamy