Friday, 26 March 2010

Royal jewels: Princess Ingeborg’s star tiara

Among Princess Ingeborg of Sweden’s favourite pieces of jewellery was a turquoise tiara comprised of three large stars linked by two removable arches. Princess Ingeborg wore it frequently, particularly in later years after she had given her grand emerald parure to her daughter, Crown Princess Märtha of Norway, in 1940. Above is Princess Ingeborg pictured with the star tiara in 1938.
In his frequently unreliable book Juvelerne i det danske kongehus (2001), the Danish schoolteacher Bjarne Steen Jensen guesses that Princess Ingeborg had received this tiara as a wedding present from her mother, who had again been given it for her own wedding by her mother, Queen Lovisa of Sweden and Norway. This is however not only mere speculation, but also wrong.
The tiara was not an heirloom, but a wedding present to Princess Ingeborg of Denmark from her first cousin, Emperor Nikolaj II of Russia, when she married Prince Carl of Sweden and Norway in 1897. Princess Ingeborg was close to her Russian relatives and there were supposedly many letters from the last Tsar in the suitcases filled with her correspondence which were burned following her death.
During her own lifetime Princess Ingeborg often lent her tiaras to female relatives, which explains why the star tiara was worn by Crown Princess Märtha for a dinner in the Norwegian Club in London in 1937 and for the 80th birthday of King Gustaf V of Sweden the following year.
After Princess Ingeborg’s sudden death in 1958, this tiara was inherited by her eldest daughter, Princess Margaretha of Denmark. When she died in 1977 it became the property of her youngest daughter-in-law, Countess Ruth of Rosenborg.
A few years ago Countess Ruth gave the tiara to her eldest son Axel’s wife, Countess Jutta of Rosenborg, with the intention that it shall in future be inherited by the eldest son in each generation to designate the line descending from the late Prince Axel of Denmark. Thus one can expect its next wearer to be Sidsel Lykke Nielsen, the fiancée of Countess Jutta’s stepson Carl Johan.


  1. Not that I care much about the subject, but what is your sources for your information that the star tiara was a wedding gift?


  2. A bit odd to ask if one does not care, but anyway the answer is that Princess Ingeborg told Countess Ruth, who told me.

  3. Not odd at all ... :-) I am not particularly interesed in the topic of tiaras, but I felt the article missed a reference - when one makes the claim that someone is wrong, then one should back up it up.


  4. Is the star tiara the same one we have seen Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, Prince Wilhelm's wife, wearing or is that another one? I don't recall exactly how it looked but it was something similar, it had three stars.

  5. I would like to know why do you consider Bjarne's book to be "frequently" unreliable source? Thank you.

  6. Dag - you do have a point, yet you ought to bear in mind that this is a blog and not an article in a scholarly publication, so it is the nature of things that references will not always be given here.

    I guess the fascination of tiaras for many lie not only in the fact that they are beautiful works of art, but also that so many of them tell a story of dynastic fortunes and misfortunes and that their provenance frequently say much about dynastic alliances.

    Sofia - I am afraid I cannot answer your question properly, as I cannot remember having seen a photo of Princess Maria with such a tiara. Tiaras with three stars were however quite popular at the time (Princess Ingeborg's mother also had a similar one, which was inherited by another branch of the family), so it need not necessarily be the same.

    Tamara - I consider Bjarne Steen Jensen's book frequently unreliable because there is a huge number of factual mistakes in it and often these are obviously the author's guesses and assumptions even though they are presented as indisputable facts. To take one example out of the top of my head Jensen says that Princess Margaretha's floral tiara was inherited on her death by her son, Count Flemming, "and is now worn by Countess Ruth". This puzzled me as Countess Ruth has to the best of my knowledge never been seen wearing it and when I asked her about it, she confirmed that it never belonged to her husband. On Princess Margaretha's death it was inherited by her other son, Prince Georg, who sold it. Thee are a number of other examples and it is therefore my impression that one should be careful using the information in Jensen's book unless it can be confirmed by another and more reliable source.

  7. Hi. I enjoyed reading about this star tiara. I have been doing a little research about them and can't believe how many there are. I only wish the royals would wear them more often. I would really like to see some recent color pictures of these family heirlooms.


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