Umbrellas or parasols were invented around 2000 years ago by either the Egyptians or Chinese. Histories of both the countries indicate the use of parasols by monarchs, kings and the like. Servants of the highest rank only were allowed to hold the parasols over the royalty.
Parasols were big in size as compared to the umbrellas we use today. They were essentially used for protection from the sun and were not water proof. Waterproof umbrellas were invented in China. They either waxed the umbrellas or used silk to make them water proof.
Umbrellas soon became popular in Rome and Greece. Men did not use umbrellas viewing them as a female accessory. Women used umbrellas held by servants or put on top of carriages. These umbrellas were of the collapsible kind. It was Jonas Hanway, founder of English Magdalen Hospital who brought about a change. He carried the umbrella for 30 years despite being criticized. Following his lead, men too started using umbrellas.
Today, umbrella is no more a privilege of royalty but is used by the common man across the globe.