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Hat’s Worn By Royals – 5 Fascinating Facts

By Taylor James


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Zulu Hats Make The Headlines

Back in 2011, on a South Africa tour, The Duchess Of Cornwall bought a traditional Zulu hat from a market trader in Soweto, one of the many townships within Johannesburg. The royal couple was having a wonderful time, with Charles encouraging Camilla to try on some hats. Remarking on the craft ship of the hats, Camilla bought the hat for £20 from a female stallholder. She was supporting a business in one of the most deprived apartheid locations in South Africa.

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie’s Hats at Prince Williams Royal Wedding, 2011

Both Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie received criticism for their artistic, sculptural hats and headpieces worn at the Royal Wedding at Westminster Abbey between Catherine Middleton and Prince William.

Despite the online commentary of their choice of headwear, multiple entries onto ‘Worst dressed’ lists, and a Facebook page dedicated to their hats. The Princess’ Philip Tracy creations raised over $100,000 for UNICEF and Children In Crisis, the designer revealed while appearing on the BBC’s top-rated show Dessert Island Discs. The Irish milliner is the go-to royals and celebrities alike. Meghan Markle, Lady Gaga, and Madonna all trust Philip Tracy to create Avant-Garde sculptural fascinators, hats, and headpieces for events varying from race-day to world concert tours. Read more about why royals wear hats here.

Imperial House Of Japan Western Fashion Adoption

The women of the Imperial House Of Japan followed the tradition of western royals by adopting hats into their fashion. During daytime ceremonies, where women wear the robe Montante and the Emperor wears his formal morning coat, hats communicate their individuality while abiding by Japanese cultural traditions. Empress Emerita Michiko wears small, disc-like silhouettes, while Empress Masako prefers wider style hats with brims.

Princess Margaret, The Queen’s Mother & Queen Elizabeth II’s Rebel Milliner 

Princess Margaret, the rebel royal, known for her quick wit and playful and sometimes difficult demeanor, instructed a fellow rule-breaker, Simone Mirman as her milliner in 1952 after deeming their then milliner, Aage Thaarup, too expensive. Milliner broke with tradition and protocol, arriving at Buckingham Palace, London, through the palace’s front door.

Simone Mirman embraced a challenge, working with some of the most prominent designers of the time, Rose Valois in Paris and Elsa Schiaparelli in London. She also ran an off-ration millinery salon in an attic during the second world war. Simone Mirman was a rebel with a stylish, royal cause throughout her career. Eventually, her work with the British Royal family and flexibility to design for each of the three royal’s tastes and design requirement was rewarded with a royal warrant of Queen Elizabeth II and the Queen Mother in recognition of her millinery. Read more about Queen Elizabeth II’s hats in this article.

Exotic Headwear – The Next Generation of Royal Millinery

Meghan Markle’s milliner, Awon Golding, is the award-winning designer to watch. Awon considers traditional headwear too traditional and aims to bring exoticism to her headwear and her style-conscious, high-profile clientele. Netting meets diamantes for Awon’s creations. Fluffy textures, modern shapes, and bold uses of color are her millinery domain, and while Meghan Markle opted for the more demure of her directions, they signal a new style direction for young royals.  

Find out about Kate Middleton’s hat in this article.

About Taylor James

As Philip Treacy once said, “How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about.” And on that note, I hope you enjoy your hats and find the site useful. Learn more about Hat Realm's Editorial Process.