Imperial Royals Attend Spring Garden Party

On Wednesday, members of the Imperial royal family joined the emperor and empress at the the Akasaka Imperial Gardens in Tokyo for the spring garden party, an annual event that brings us a parade of Imperial royal hats.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

Empress Michiko topped her ice blue silk suit with a small saucer hat in the same hue, trimmed with blue camellia flowers and a flat bow around the front.

Embed from Getty Images

Crown Princess Masako wore a pale pink straw hat with domed crown and short kettle brim, trimmed with a wide ruched straw hatband that finished in a large bow at the side. The bow makes the hat, I think, softening the angular lines of the crown and giving the piece some much needed energy.

Apr 25, 2018 | Royal Hats

Apr 25, 2018 | Royal Hats

Princess Kiko and Princess Mako wore hats in the same domed crown and kettle upturned brim shape. Princess Kiko’s hat, in pale blue, is delicately trimmed with a wide silk ruched hatband and silk blossoms on the side. Princess Mako’s white design, which has a wider brim than her mother’s design, is trimmed with a wide turquoise hatband and origami flowers that circle the hat. The combination of wider brim and higher contrast trim (with interesting origami) makes this a winner for me.

Apr 25, 2018 | Royal Hats

Princess Nobuko stood out in a light purpley-grey hat with gentle side upsweep on the brim. The hat is exuberantly trimmed in a side spray of feathers and a wide swath of lavender and dark purple net tulle wrapped around the base of the crown that gives great movement to the design and links so well with the sheen of purple shades visible across the weave of her silk suit. Prinkess Akiko topped her pink suit with a matching hat with button crown, short cartwheel brim and bow on the side. Princess Yoko matched her pale yellow suit in a coordinating silk wrapped pillbox hat.

Apr 25, 2018 | Royal Hats Apr 25, 2018 | Royal Hats

Princess Hisako wore a peach hat with square crown and widely rolled brim (the brim looks to be in the same silk jacquard print as her jacket while the crown looks to be a solid colour). Princess Tsuguko paired her burgundy silk dress in a matching bumper hat wonderfully trimmed with a wide silk bow and flowers on the side. Princess Ayako topped her yellow dress with a white button percher hat embellished with yellow and white flowers around the top half of the hat’s circumference. The floral trim on the hat references the ruffle on the hem of her dress, making a wonderfully coordinated and balanced head-to-hem look.

Apr 25, 2018 | Royal Hats

Apr 25, 2018 | Royal Hats

How great it is to see a variety of colour, trimmings and shapes on the Imperial Royals?! These nine hats, each of which I believe is a new piece, certainly made for a colourful millinery parade. Which designs stand out most to you?
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Imperial New Years Lectures 2018

Yesterday, members of the Imperial Royal Family attended the Ceremony of Kosho Hajime (Imperial New Year’s Lectures)  at Imperial Palace in Tokyo. A tradition of royal enlightenment since 1869, these Imperial New Year’s Lectures saw experts in the field of human, social and natural sciences address the royal delegation in their respective fields. When the lectures began 149 years ago, the daytime dress code across royal courts for ladies reflected the prevailing Victorian fashions of the time- long gowns with hats. This event is one of a handful each year that maintains this dress code, giving us the rare opportunity to see hats with full length gowns.

Imperial Royal Family, Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

Crown Princess Masako made her first appearance at this event in 15 years in a repeated Breton hat. Made of the same hint-of-blue silk jacquard as her gown, the hat features a pork pie style crown and characteristic rolled Breton brim.

Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats  Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Dec 9, 2014Dec 23, 2013; Dec 9 2010; Dec 23, 2009; Dec 9, 2006Dec 23, 2005

Princess Kiko topped her celery green gown with a matching capulet style hat that I believe is a new addition to her wardrobe. Following a classic capulet shape (a calot with extended front combined with a bumper brim around the front and sides of the piece), the hat is trimmed with a small back bow and covered in the same lace that adorns the top of Kiko’s gown. Princess Mako made her last appearance at this event in a repeated navy velvet, rounded edge pillbox hat trimmed with a bow on the side in the same blue silk as her gown.

Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

Previously Worn: I believe Princess Kiko’s hat is new. Princess Mako wore this to this same event in 2016  

The Mikasa and Takamado princesses also attended this event. Princess Nobuko wore a wonderful pale green pillbox trimmed with a giant ivory silk flower that I believe is new. Princess Akiko repeated a pale pink silk calot trimmed with silk rosettes. Princess Yoko wore a majenta textured pillbox. Princess Hisako topped her elegant dove grey gown with a matching bumper hat with side feather trim that I believe is new. Pricess Tsuguko also went with a new design that looks to be a burgundy silk tam variation trimmed with flowers on the side. Princess Ayoko repeated her pale yellow silk jacquard gown and matching calot bandeau trimmed with silk flowers and leaves on each side.

Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

These lectures always brings some millinery surprises and such is the case this year, even with a few repeated pieces. I missed seeing Princess Hanako, who always stands out at this event. What hats stand out to you here this year?

This Week’s Extras

Royal Hats

Princess Hisako in a chic fedora on December 24 at the 39th Empress Cup All Japan Women’s Football Championship Final in Osaka (Sponichi)

Dec 24, 2017 | Royal Hats

Four of the Romanian princess attended a Christmas Day service at Savarsin church. Princess Margareta wore a  textured fur pillbox while Princess Elena wore a black fabric hat with cuffed fur brim.

Dec 25, 2017 | Royal Hats

Dec 25, 2017 | Royal Hats

On December 25,  members of the Imperial royal attended a memorial ceremony at the Imperial Palace on the anniversary of Emperor Taisho’s death. Princess Kiko and Princess Mako are pictured below- Princess Nobuko and Princess Yoko were also present.


On Dec 27, the Imperial Royal family attended an annual end of year family luncheon at the Imperial Palace. You can see Prince and Princess Akishino, Princess Mako, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako arriving here.

Several new millinery designs jumped out at me this week:

 Astoundingly glamorous jewel toned turban from Philip Treacy
Red felt percher pork pie with black feathers from Irish milliner Aoife Harris Design
Two stunning hats with hand beaded trim here and here from German milliner Nicki Marquardt
Royal blue silk covered pillbox percher with irises and lace from London milliner Cara Meehan
Felt trilby with intricately beaded hatband from London based millinery Bundle MacLaren

And a hat perfect for New Year’s Eve, this grey silk shantung beret percher with insert panel of sparkling paillettes from UK milliner Dillon Wallwork

#dillonwallwork #dillonwallworkbespokehats #couture

A post shared by Dillon Wallwork (@wallworkdillon) on

 Royal Hats

Excellent translation of Princess Stephanie’s recent interview by our friends over at Luxarazzi

More Christmas photo greetings:




Happy Christmas from us all ❤️🎄❤️🎄

A post shared by Marie-Chantal Of Greece (@mariechantal22) on



We end the week with a wonderful video clip, taken during King Harald and Queen Sonja’s 80th birthday gala dinner back in May when their grandchildren interviewed some of their guests. It’s utterly charming.

Photos from Sponichi, Royal Family of Romania

This Week’s Extras

Royal Hats

Carina Axelssohn shared this snap taken with her dogs on a mountain walk last Sunday in a fuzzy faux fur hat

Sweet red double hair bow for Princess Estelle on Thursday to receive the Swedish royal family’s Christmas trees along with her mum and brother (Swedish Royal Court). She also wore a glittery hairbow and feather boa to a pantomime theatre performance yesterday.

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary in Australia on Tuesday in sporty hats for a sailing race

Princess Yoko in a black bumper hat at a Dec 5 memorial for the late Prince Mikasa (Imperial Family of Japan)

June is such a busy month here at Royal Hats, it’s no wonder we missed Princess Nobuko paying a visit to the JS Takanami. Her hat, a wide brimmed white straw design, has an unusually shaped brim and looks to be embellished with some sort of net tulle wrap and a bow at the back. It’s a unique shape for an Imperial royal hat. 

Kensington Palace confirmed that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will attend church with the Queen and royal family on Christmas morning. For those of you waiting for Meghan’s first royal hat, I suspect that will be it. Also- mark your calendars for May 19 and hope for a daytime wedding. Daytime = HATS!!

New millinery designs shared this week that stand out to me include:

British millinery Stephen Jones pushes creativity again with this hat made of 35mm film
Lovely loden green felt fedora with a delicious hit of fuschia from Goldust Millinery
Red straw statement hat with floral appliques and pleated pink crin halo brim from With Grace Millinery
Beautiful white straw wide brimmed hat covered in beaded black applique from Nerida Fraiman
Yellow and green crystal tipped feather fascinator from California based
Stunning royal blue fedora/pork pie hybrid (that looks far better than it sounds!) from Susanne Juul
The navy straw-base cocktail hat with twists, veil and jewelled button by British milliner Edwina Ibbotson
worn by J.K. Rowling on Tuesday
to receive the Companion of Honour at Buckingham Palace

And this stunning dark plum fedora with floral embroidered applique by British Layla Leigh Millinery

 Royal Hats

Sneek peek at the Spanish royal family’s Christmas photo card

Princess Charlene shared the sweetest holiday snap of Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, taken by Vanessa Von Zitzewitz

New pictures released this week of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, including a sweet snap of the Grand Duchess with her pups

Princess Martha Louise of Norway posted this Christmas wish, showing her great sense of humour (and a touching reminder that royals deal with many of the same life challenges as the rest of us)

A stunning new portrait of the Duke of Edinburgh painted by Australian born artist Ralph Heimans for an exhibition at the Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle in Demark

Imperial Royal Memorial and Tour

Last Friday, Princess Yuriko of Mikasa attended a service at Toshimagaoka Imperial Cemetery in Tokyo to commemorate the 1st anniversary of the death of her late husband, Prince Takahito. For this memorial, she wore a veiled black bumper hat.

Princess Yuriko, Oct 27, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Mako, Princesses Akiko and Yoko of Mikasa and Princesses Hisako, Tsuguko and Ayako of Takamado all wore veiled black bumper hats.

Oct 27, 2017 | Royal Hats Oct 27, 2017 | Royal Hats

Oct 27, 2017 | Royal Hats Oct 27, 2017 | Royal Hats

On October 29, Princess Akiko braved the rain in a repeated a white pillbox hat for the enshrinement of Prince Mikasa’s spirit at the Imperial Palace.

Oct 29, 2017 | Royal Hats

Over the weekend, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited Fukuoka and Oita Prefectures. For a visit to a robotics innovation center on Saturday in Kitakyushu City, the Empress wore a large white (or cream? oyster?) domed saucer trimmed with a large bow that looked to be embroidered in a lattice pattern with metallic thread.

Oct 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown. Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: the bow seems new… who knows about the saucer. 

The focus of the visit, the 37th National Meeting for the Healthy Ocean, took place Sunday in Munakata City. Empress Michiko wore a smaller scale saucer in pale bluey-grey trimmed with a multi-looped silk bow that circled around the left side of the design. The sheen of the silk bow gave a bit of contrast to the hat, which was, I suspect, covered in the same fabric as Michiko’s suit and caped jacket. The shade of blue is more becoming on her than the dull grey we often see her wear.

Oct 29, 2017 | Royal Hats Oct 29, 2017 | Royal Hats

Oct 29, 2017 | Royal Hats Oct 29, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown. Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: I believe the hat is new

The visit concluded yesterday with a stop in Kitakyushu Eco-Town Center. Empress Michiko repeated a familiar hat for this leg of the visit, a denim blue saucer trimmed with an angular, flat folded blue and gold bow.

Oct 30, 2017 | Royal Hats Oct 30, 2017 | Royal Hats

Oct 30, 2017 | Royal Hats 

Designer: unknown. Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: Oct 26; 2016; Sep 28, 2016Jan 29, 2016Oct 30, 2015May 21, 2015Apr 9, 2015
The last hat has made seven appearances during the past two years, leading me to wonder if the Empress’ larger saucer hats (like the first one) are repeated with interchangeable trims to coordinate with her attire. I seldom see them repeated as much as the blue hat… but perhaps, it is simply a favourite. What do you think of this group of hats?
Photos from Sankei; AsahiAsahi and Asahi via Getty; JijiAsahi; Asahi; Kyodo NewsKyodo News and Kyodo News via Getty; Sankei, Mainichi and Asahi

October Review: Week 3

Last week in royal hats was quieter than the first two weeks this month but still brought us a number of lovely designs. Here are are the royal hats worn between October 15 and 22:

Tuesday, October 17: Princess Nobuko attended the Murayama City Rose Festival in a repeated cream hat with navy hatband.

Oct 17, 2017 | Royal Hats Oct 17, 2017 | Royal Hats

Tuesday, October 17: Princess Alexandra attended a Service of Celebration for the Centenary of Lady Margaret School at Westminster Abbey. She repeated her dark turquoise blue straw picture hat by Rachel Trevor Morgan with gold silk ruched overlay, trimmed with gold edged blue silk flowers. It’s a hat we’ve not seen since its first wearing at the Cambridge’s wedding in 2011.

Thursday, October 19: Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako attended the 70th anniversary ceremony of the Japanese junior high school education system. Princess Masako repeated a cream felt hat with upturned Kettle brim, simply trimmed with a hatband in the same rosy beige hue as her suit.

Oct 19, 2017 | Royal Hats

Thursday, October 19: Princess Yoko visited Toyama Prefecture October 18-19 to attend the 19th Hokuriku Welfare Golf Tournament. For the event, she repeated a yellow cloche hat with white, upfolded brim.

Oct 19, 2017 | Royal Hats

Thursday, October 19: Queen Elizabeth attended the 70th anniversary parade of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Hyde Park. She repeated the raspberry pink Rachel Trevor Morgan designed hat with sloped crown, pale grey and pink stacked hatbands and straw flowers with crystal centres we saw her debut earlier this summer.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

 

Friday, October 20: The Imperial Family gathered to celebrate the Empress’ 83rd birthday. Crown Princess Masako repeated a pale blue silk jaquard hat with bumper hatband and rolled brim, Princess Kiko wore a brimless cream hat and Princess Mako wore a peach cuffed calot with side bow detail.

Oct 20, 2017 | Royal Hats

Oct 20, 2017 | Royal Hats  Oct 20, 2017 | Royal Hats

Friday, October 20: Princess Hisako of Takamado opened an exhibition at the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo. She wore a striking new hat with cream crown and grey bumper brim, brimmed with feathers across the front.

Oct 20, 2017 | Royal Hats

Oct 20, 2017 | Royal Hats Oct 20, 2017 | Royal Hats

Saturday, October 21: Queen Elizabeth attended Champions Day at Ascot Races in her repeated pink felt hat with slim multi-wrap hatband and feather koosh on the side.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

That, I believe, catches us up to today! Do any of these designs receive your nomination for top hats worn this month?

Photos from Asahi ShimbunSankei; News 24

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.