Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Royal jewels: The Vasa diadem

The Vasa diadem, currently the property of Princess Astrid of Norway, was a present from the City of Stockholm to her mother, the then Princess Märtha of Sweden, on the occasion of the reading of the banns of marriage between her and Crown Prince Olav of Norway in 1929. (Also Princess Märtha’s younger sister Astrid had been given a tiara by the City of Stockholm when she married the heir to the Belgian throne in 1926, while their eldest sister Margaretha received no such present).
The name “the Vasa diadem” derives from the tiara’s central motif being the heraldic symbol of the Vasa family, who ruled Sweden from 1523 to 1654. The diadem is in art deco style, was made by the jeweller C. F. Carlman and consists of 956 diamonds set in platinum. In keeping with 1920s fashion it was made to be worn across the forehead, a trend which was however short-lived.
Crown Princess Märtha wore the tiara frequently, particularly in the pre-war years when she was not yet the owner of the emerald parure and Queen Josephina’s diamond tiara. After the war it was most frequently seen on her daughters Ragnhild and Astrid, who were allowed to borrow it when they came of age.
Following Crown Princess Märtha’s early death in 1954, the division of her estate was postponed until her youngest child, the present King, had reached his majority. The Vasa diadem then made part of Princess Astrid’s lot and she has worn it frequently ever after.
In the course of my work on her biography she did however tell me that this tiara will return to the King following her death. The same goes for the turquoise crown which was made for Queen Alexandra of Britain and some other jewellery, while her three smaller tiaras will be inherited by her children.

(PS. From the backlinks I can see that one of those who have linked another website to this blogpost doubts its correctness and thinks that it must have been a “misprint” when I wrote that the turquoise tiara was made for Queen Alexandra of Britain. The reader offers no reasons for why he/she thinks this should be a misprint, but I can inform him/her that it is not and that the turquoise tiara was not a wedding present to Queen Maud).

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