15 February 2014

Saturday Sparkler: The Brabant Laurel Wreath Tiara

Queen Mathilde wears the Brabant Laurel Wreath Tiara in 2010 [1]
Most of the senior royal ladies in Europe have multiple tiaras at their disposal, some of them personally owned, some of them loaners from the royal vaults. Up until her husband's accession to the throne last year, however, Queen Mathilde of the Belgians had only ever worn two tiaras in public: the diamond bandeau owned by her mother-in-law, Queen Paola, and this one, her diamond laurel wreath tiara.

Queen Mathilde [2]
The laurel wreath is a classic tiara shape, and most royal families have at least one in their collection. But Mathilde's tiara isn't from the Belgian vaults; this one is her personal property. The laurel wreath was given to Mathilde by a group of Belgian aristocrats as a wedding present in 1999, when Mathilde married Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant. It was an especially fitting present, as Mathilde was born a member of Belgian nobility. In 2013, in fact, Mathilde became the first-ever queen of the Belgians to actually have been born a Belgian.

But even though the tiara is relatively new to Mathilde, it's still an antique. It was made by Hennel & Sons, an English firm, in 1912. Since it's the only tiara that Mathilde personally owns, it's lucky that it can also be worn as a necklace -- two for one, if you will. She's worn it to numerous royal occasions over the years, and I imagine that it will continue to be a staple in her jewelry collection, even though she has a diadem reserved for Belgian queens -- the Nine Provinces Tiara -- now at her disposal. (And I'm still hoping that eventually her collection will grow in size -- perhaps it's time for a new king to gift his queen with an additional tiara?) [3]

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. A version of this post originally appeared at A Tiara a Day in April 2013.