11 April 2015

Saturday Sparkler: The Alexandrine Diamond Drop Tiara

One of the perks of being a royal princess is that you often receive your very first tiara on your eighteenth birthday. Some of them are dinky (like Crown Princess Victoria’s birthday tiara), some are modern (like Princess Märtha Louise of Norway’s birthday tiara), and some, like this one, are historic family pieces. On her eighteenth birthday, fifty-seven years ago this week, Margrethe II of Denmark’s parents gave her this diamond drop tiara, which originally belonged to her grandmother, Queen Alexandrine.

The tiara was made for Alexandrine in 1912, the same year that she became queen. When she died in 1952, the piece was inherited by her elder son, Frederik IX; he passed it along to his daughter Margrethe as a birthday gift six years later.

Margrethe wore the tiara more frequently when she was younger — the delicate tiara, which features scads of teardrop-shaped diamonds suspended en tremblant, is small, and perhaps better suited for a princess than a regal queen.

In 1995, the tiara changed hands once more. Margrethe gave it to her new daughter-in-law, Alexandra Manley, the bride of Prince Joachim. It was her bridal tiara, and in fact, for Alexandra’s entire ten-year tenure as a Danish princess, this was the only tiara she wore.

When Alexandra and Joachim divorced, she retained the tiara, taking it out of the family for the first time in nearly a century. (Intriguingly, Margrethe did not give a tiara to Joachim's second wife, Princess Marie -- instead, she offered her Princess Dagmar's Floral Tiara as a long-term loan. Maybe she learned a lesson the first time around?) Even so, Alexandra is still an integral part of Prince Joachim's family, and she has attended white-tie events since the divorce wearing the tiara.

But even though the tiara is not currently in royal hands, it seems like that we've not seen the last of it at the Danish royal court. Alexandra’s two sons, Nikolai and Felix, are both princes of Denmark, so it seems quite likely that the Diamond Drop will return to their extended branch of the royal family eventually. Perhaps one day we’ll see one of their wives in this sparkling, shivering tiara?