30 January 2014

A Tiara for Sofia?

Sofia Hellqvist at the wedding of Princess Madeleine in 2013 [1]
Once again, rumors are flying in Sweden that Prince Carl Philip, the only son of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, will soon announce his engagement to his long-time girlfriend, Sofia Hellqvist. The prince has been dating the former model and reality television star for three years, and she's been invited to several major royal events, including the christening of Princess Estelle and Princess Madeleine's wedding.

The newest set of engagement rumors reported by Swedish gossip magazines center on the couple's plans to move into Villa Solbacken, the former residence of Prince Bertil and Princess Lilian. Carl Philip inherited the home from his uncle in 1997, with the stipulation that Bertil's widow would be able to continue to live there until her death. Princess Lilian died last year, and Stoppa Pressarna! (a publication that sounds not even a little sensational) reports that Carl Philip is beginning renovations on the property. The article stresses that Carl Philip and Sofia don't plan to move into the home together until after they are married, even though the pair are already cohabiting. Svensk Damtidning thinks that the pair are surely planning to start a family of their own soon, and their article even speculates that maybe they'll marry at a church in Sofia's hometown.

These kinds of rumors have popped up occasionally since the royal court confirmed the couple's relationship, and surely one of these days they'll be true. All I know is this: royal weddings in Scandinavia are some of the sparkliest around, and if the papers are speculating about a wedding, it's time for us to start speculating about a wedding tiara!

Clockwise from top left: Queen Sofia's tiara [2]; the Boucheron laurel wreath tiara [3];
the six-button tiara [4]; and the Connaught diamond tiara [5]
So shall we start taking wagers? Here are my top four choices for a tiara for Sofia, should she decide to use one from the Bernadotte family vaults:

Queen Sofia's Tiara: Okay, I've chosen this one primarily because of the name that the royal court uses for the piece. It's probably a bit too severe for a bridal tiara -- it is known as the "nine prong," after all -- and it is notoriously difficult to wear. But it's also a tiara that originally belonged to Sofia of Nassau, the Swedish queen who shares our potential princess's first name, and it sparkles like you wouldn't believe.

The Boucheron Laurel Wreath Tiara: Sofia would have to borrow this piece from her potential sister-in-law, Crown Princess Victoria, who inherited the tiara last year from the late Princess Lilian. Since Carl Philip seems to be patterning his royal role after that of his uncle Bertil (he's taken on some of Bertil's patronages, and he does own the late prince's home), it wouldn't surprise me at all if Sofia patterns her own potential royal role after Lilian's. What better way to demonstrate that than wearing one of Lilian's most important pieces of jewelry? The tiara also has another Sofia connection -- it was given by Queen Sofia to Princess Margaret of Connaught as a wedding present.

The Six-Button Tiara: again, I'm thinking of tiaras with links to the late Princess Lilian. This piece features diamond rosette buttons that originally adorned the crown of the first Bernadotte king. The buttons were made into a tiara for Princess Lilian sometime in the last half of the twentieth century. It's not terribly bridal, but maybe it would look more appropriate for a wedding when paired with a veil?

The Connaught Diamond Tiara: one of the most romantic-looking pieces in the Swedish royal collection, I'm always shocked that it's only been worn by a bride once (that would be Princess Christina in 1974). It's delicate, it's an Edwardian heirloom -- what more could a new princess want?

So, what do you all think? Will Sofia and Carl Philip be heading down the aisle soon? Which tiara would be your favorite for this potential princess -- one of these pieces, another Bernadotte tiara, or a completely new sparkler?

1. Cropped version of a photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
2. Cropped version of a photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
3. Cropped version of a photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
4. Cropped version of a photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
5. Cropped version of a photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.