30 August 2014

Saturday Sparkler: The Antique Corsage Tiara

In Scandinavian royal families, it's something of a tradition for a princess to receive her first tiara as a gift on her eighteenth birthday. In Denmark, King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid gave all three of their daughters, including Queen Margrethe II, eighteenth-birthday tiaras. Today, let’s talk about the birthday gift bestowed precisely fifty years ago today on the family’s other queen: Frederik and Ingrid’s youngest daughter, Anne-Marie. (Happy Birthday, Your Majesty!)

Queen Victoria of Sweden

The tiara that was given to the future Greek queen began its life as another piece of jewelry: a corsage ornament (or stomacher) that belonged to Queen Victoria of Sweden, Anne-Marie’s great-grandmother (hence the piece’s usual name).

Queen Ingrid of Denmark

The corsage was inherited by Victoria’s granddaughter (and Anne-Marie’s mother), Queen Ingrid, who was born a Swedish princess. Ingrid wore the piece, which is made of diamonds and pearls, as a necklace and as a brooch; it was she who had the piece mounted on a tiara frame as a gift for her daughter.

Anne-Marie wears the tiara

Anne-Marie received the tiara fifty years ago today, on her eighteenth birthday in 1964. But not even three weeks later, she wasn’t a Danish princess anymore — she turned eighteen on August 30 of that year and married King Constantine II of Greece in Athens on September 18.

Theodora wears the tiara

But although as queen she had access to many of the large and historical diadems of the Greek royal family,
Anne-Marie still wore her birthday tiara fairly frequently. When her own daughters, Alexia and Theodora, grew to adulthood, they too wore their mother’s tiara at various royal events.

Marie-Chantal wears the tiara on her wedding day

In recent years, the tiara has become something of a secondary wedding tiara for the family (with the Khedive tiara, of course, on reserve as the wedding tiara for all of Queen Ingrid’s female descendants).

Tatiana wears the tiara on her wedding day

Both of Anne-Marie’s daughters-in-law have worn this tiara on their wedding days: Marie-Chantal Miller (who wed Crown Prince Pavlos) in 1995 and, more recently, Tatiana Blatnik (who married Prince Nikolaos) in 2010. I imagine we’ll see it once more on a bride when Prince Philippos, her youngest son, eventually marries.