Today marks the tenth anniversary of one of the most glittering royal weddings held during the twenty-first century so far: the marriage of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and his Aussie bride, Mary Elizabeth Donaldson. Ten years later, the pair are still happily wed, with four children and a busy slate of royal engagements to keep them occupied.
But today, let's set our time machines to May 14, 2004, and reminisce a bit about the staggeringly gorgeous jewels on display that day in Copenhagen! (And, when you're finished with part one of this pictoral trip down memory lane, head over to The Royal Roundup for a playlist of videos from the wedding day, including a weepy Frederik, a touching groom's speech, and an adorable bridal waltz!) And, because there were so very many jewel-laden royals attending this wedding, be sure to drop by tomorrow to see the second part of this sparkling spectacular!
Crown Princess Mary wore two major pieces of jewelry on her wedding day: a tiara and a pair of earrings. The tiara was a gift to the new crown princess from her parents-in-law, Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark. There's never been any information released about this tiara's provenance, although we do know that it is Mary's personal property, not a loan. Some have speculated that the tiara was purchased at auction for Mary, which is possible, but has never been confirmed. As worn on the wedding day, the tiara is made of diamonds arranged in heart and fleur-de-lys motifs. In 2011, the tiara was adapted by jeweler Marianne Dulong to include a row of pearls at the base and pearls atop each of the major elements. This adaptation isn't permanent; the tiara can now be worn in both the all-diamond and diamond-and-pearl configurations.
While the tiara might be antique, the earrings that Mary wore were definitely new. They were made by Marianne Dulong, featuring diamonds set in platinum surrounding a South Sea pearl pendant. Along with these new jewels, Mary wore two heirlooms. One was hidden away; she reportedly had her late mother's wedding ring stitched inside the gown so that it would rest just over her heart.
The other was much more visible: the wedding veil, a piece of Irish lace that was first worn by Princess Margaret of Connaught at her wedding to Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden in 1905. Princess Margaret was the grandmother of the current Danish queen. She died tragically early, and in a slightly macabre twist, this veil was draped over her body while it was on public view before she was buried. Since then, it has been worn by a number of her descendants at their weddings, including Queen Ingrid of Denmark and every single one of her married female descendants. In fact, Mary was the first non-royal-born bride to wear the veil, something that surely speaks to Queen Margrethe's affection for her daughter-in-law.
Speaking of Queen Margrethe, she busted out some major jewels to celebrate her elder son's nuptials. The tiara is a newer addition to the Danish royal vaults: the flexible floral aigrette purchased at auction by Frederik IX in the 1960s. She paired the tiara with a parure of diamonds from the Danish crown jewels. The set, which includes a necklace with seven pendants, a large floral brooch (used here to close her jacket), and pendant earrings, was made in 1840 by C.M. Weisshaupt. When the set is not being worn, you can see it on display with the rest of the crown jewels at Rosenborg Castle.
Another Danish heirloom graced the head of Princess Alexandra of Denmark on the day. Alexandra was the first wife of Crown Prince Frederik's younger brother, Prince Joachim. They separated a few months after this wedding, which was one of Alexandra's last major events as a member of the royal family. The tiara worn here by Alexandra, the Alexandrine Diamond Drop Tiara, is an heirloom from Queen Margrethe's paternal grandmother, Queen Alexandrine of Denmark. Margrethe gave the tiara to Alexandra as a wedding gift; she wore it on her wedding day and throughout her tenure as princess, and she kept it after the divorce. Some have surmised that this is the reason why the tiara worn by Joachim's second wife, Princess Marie, was a loan from Margrethe rather than a gift.
Princess Benedikte, Frederik's aunt, wore the Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg Tiara, an heirloom from her husband's family. The tiara was made by Koch in 1905; Benedikte's husband inherited it in 1976. The diamond necklace she wears is half of a diamond necklace that once belonged to Queen Alexandrine. Benedikte's mother, Queen Ingrid, had the necklace divided and gave half each to her two younger daughters, Benedikte and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece. The large floral pendant that she has suspended from the necklace here was apparently an eighteenth birthday gift from her father, King Frederik IX. Her diamond earrings were also from the collection of Queen Ingrid.
Benedikte's family, the Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburgs, were out in force for their cousin's wedding. This is Princess Alexandra, Benedikte's elder daughter. She's wearing Queen Sofia's Star and Pearl Tiara, a Swedish royal heirloom that came to Denmark with Queen Ingrid and is now in Princess Benedikte's collection. The piece coordinates nicely with the rest of Alexandra's diamond and pearl jewels. Her sister, Princess Nathalie, wore the floral tiara that Benedikte received as an eighteenth birthday gift from her parents.
The youngest of the trio of Danish sisters is Anne-Marie, the former Queen of Greece. Her jewels at the wedding are largely from the former Greek royal collections. Specifically, this is the family's emerald parure, which dates back nearly a century. The emeralds are Romanov heirlooms that traveled to Greece with Queen Olga, who was born a Russian grand duchess. They were set in the kokoshnik-style tiara later. Anne-Marie also included a nod to her own mother and grandmother by suspending some of Olga's emerald pendant drops from the other half of the necklace once owned by Queen Alexandrine.
Anne-Marie's elder daughter, Princess Alexia of Greece and Denmark, sported the diamond tiara that she's worn almost exclusively; many have speculated that she owns this piece herself, and that it was perhaps a gift from her parents. The diamond and ruby bow brooch with which she has secured her sash comes from the Danish royal family; it was the property of Queen Alexandrine, and Queen Ingrid later gifted it to Alexia. The diamond necklace and earrings are, I believe, from her mother's collection. And while all of the ladies above (save Alexandra of SWB and the bride) are wearing the Order of the Elephant, Alexia doesn't have that order. She's wearing the only order she does have: the Order of the Redeemer.
The woman who would be the crown princess of Greece today had the monarchy not been abolished -- Princess Marie-Chantal -- wore a small diamond tiara to her cousin-in-law's wedding. But it's not a family piece. The tiara was apparently borrowed from a British jewelry house, William & Son, for the occasion. She's also wearing one of her signature pieces, a necklace of South Sea pearls. And like Alexia, she's wearing a Greek order: the Order of Saints Olga and Sophia, which honors two former Greek queens. The former king of Greece has awarded this order to both of his daughters-in-law.
Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark, the younger daughter of Queen Anne-Marie, wore a Danish heirloom tiara to the wedding. The piece is the tiara given to Queen Anne-Marie by her parents as an eighteenth-birthday present (three weeks before she became the Queen of Greece). It was made by repurposing a stomacher that had first belonged to Victoria of Baden, Queen Ingrid's paternal grandmother. It's also been a bridal tiara twice, worn by both Princess Marie-Chantal and Princess Tatiana. Theodora is also wearing the Order of Saints Olga and Sophia.
Queen Silvia of Sweden chose one of the many historic parures in the Bernadotte collection for the wedding: the Napoleonic amethysts. These gems may once have belonged to Empress Josephine of France; they certainly belonged to her daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Leuchtenberg. Her daughter, also named Josephine, brought them to Sweden in 1823. However, it was Silvia who had the large necklace from the set mounted on a tiara frame. Silvia's also wearing the Order of the Elephant and the family order of Carl XVI Gustaf.
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden also chose a tiara with a backstory: the diamond buttons on this tiara may have been worn as hair ornaments by Queen Louisa Ulrika. They've been mounted on this tiara since the 1960s. It's hard to see in this photograph, but Victoria is also wearing the Order of the Elephant and her father's family order.
Princess Madeleine managed to wear not one but two tiaras to the wedding. On her head, she's wearing the aquamarine bandeau that she received as an eighteenth birthday present. Around her neck, she's wearing her mother's modern fringe tiara. Nine years later, Madeleine would chose the fringe tiara as her own bridal diadem. She's also wearing her father's family order, as well as the Order of the Seraphim.
Queen Sonja of Norway brought out another heirloom parure: the emeralds that once also belonged in the collection of the Duchess of Leuchtenberg. These jewels traveled through the royal families of Brazil and Sweden before arriving in the Norwegian royal collection in 1940. Across her left shoulder, Sonja wears the sash of the Order of the Elephant; on her right shoulder, she has pinned the family order of her husband, King Harald V.
Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway -- who was still new on the scene in 2004 -- wore her own wedding tiara, a bandeau of diamond daisies, to these royal nuptials. She paired the tiara with a pair of small diamond chandelier earrings. You can't see it here, but she's also wearing the Order of St. Olav.
Princess Martha Louise was hanging on to the '90s with her diamond Y necklace and dangling earrings, but her tiara was a bit more sentimental. It's the modern diamond tiara given to her on her eighteenth birthday by her grandfather, the late King Olav. She's also wearing the Order of the Elephant and her father's family order.
Queen Sofia of Spain sparkled in two heirlooms that came from the collection of the late Queen Ena of Spain: the diamond and pearl tiara that she commissioned from Cartier in the 1920s, and her diamond collet necklace. She's also wearing a diamond brooch in the shape of a fleur-de-lys (the symbol of the House of Bourbon) pinned to her Order of the Elephant sash, plus two diamond bracelets and a pair of diamond earrings.
This royal lady was still a week away from becoming a princess at this royal wedding. Letizia Ortiz would marry the Prince of Asturias in Madrid on May 22, but she still managed to sparkle even without a tiara at this wedding, accessorizing her dramatic red dress with a pair of diamond clips and sparkling earrings.
Letizia's soon-to-be sister-in-law, Infanta Elena, wore a tiara from her then-husband's family, the Marichalars, to the wedding. The tiara, which includes both meander and laurel wreath elements, has remained in Elena's collection even after her divorce, and she still wears it. There's speculation that the diamond and ruby necklace, bracelet, and earrings she wears here may have been wedding gifts from an Arab royal family. I'm not certain about the provenance of the diamond brooch that she has used to close her coat. She also appears to be wearing the sash of the Order of Charles III.
Infanta Cristina, the younger of the two Spanish infantas, wore a tiara from the royal collection on the day. This diamond floral tiara was made in the nineteenth century by J.P. Collins in 1879. It was given by King Alfonso XII to his fiance, Archduchess Maria Cristina of Austria. It was sold during the political upheaval of the twentieth century, but it was later reacquired by General Franco, who presented it to Queen Sofia as a wedding present in 1962. Cristina later wore it to her own wedding. She's also wearing a pair of diamond and emerald earrings, plus the same Spanish order as her sister, the Order of Charles III.
And with that, we've finished part one of our trip back in time to 2004 -- stay tuned tomorrow for the rest of the royal guests! In the meantime, enjoy this video recap of the wedding!