Friday, 12 October 2012
Royal jewels: Queen Maud’s grand diamond tiara
The tiara was a wedding present to the then Princess Maud of Britain when she married Prince Carl of Denmark in 1896. She wore it to the coronation of her parents, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of Britain, on 9 August 1902 and was also portrayed with it on several occasions during her first years as Queen of Norway after 1905. There is also a miniature in which she wears the tiara with the turquoise prongs, which were later removed and apparently used for other pieces of jewellery.
For the first decades of her husband’s reign, this tiara and a pearl and diamond tiara which had also been a wedding present, were Queen Maud’s only substantial tiaras. Following the death of her mother in 1925 she also inherited the Maltese cross circlet and a turquoise and diamond circlet shaped as an open crown, giving her a wider range of choice. It seems she wore her grand diamond tiara for the wedding of her son, Crown Prince Olav, to Princess Märtha of Sweden on 21 March 1929.
When Queen Maud went to England in the autumn of 1938, she took most of her jewellery with her to have it cleaned. When the Queen died during in London during that stay, her jewels remained in her native country and were kept at Windsor Castle until 1953, when Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Märtha brought it home following the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of Britain.
However, as Crown Princess Märtha died the following year, she never got the chance to use her mother-in-law’s jewellery, which was stored away until 1968, when Crown Prince Harald married Sonja Haraldsen. The jewels were then divided among King Olav’s three children and the grand diamond tiara went to Princess Ragnhild, who had until then had only one tiara.
Princess Ragnhild wore her grandmother’s diamond tiara to several of the royal events she attended in the following years. But from the 1990s the ageing Princess was rarely seen with this grand piece, which is probably rather heavy, opting instead to wear her other tiara, consisting of platinum circles set with large pearls, which she had inherited from her maternal grandmother, Princess Ingeborg of Sweden, in 1958.
I understand that, under a family agreement, the diamond tiara will, following the death of Princess Ragnhild, pass to the King to be worn by other members of the royal family. The platinum tiara will on the other hand remain in the Lorentzen family, as this was inherited by Princess Ragnhild directly from her Swedish grandmother.