04 April 2015

Saturday Sparkler: Queen Maud's Diamond Tiara

Queen Maud of Norway [source]

The biggest diamond tiara in the Norwegian royal vaults is the stunning diadem that belonged to Queen Josefina of Sweden and Norway. However, there are reports that another historic diamond tiara -- the one that once belonged to Queen Maud -- has returned to the royal fold.

Queen Maud [source]

This tri-level diamond tiara was among the wedding presents that Princess Maud of Wales, the daughter of the future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom, received when she married her first cousin, Prince Carl of Denmark, in 1896. The base of the tiara is a diamond bandeau; above that sits a level of diamond floral elements; and atop that is perched a row of thirteen diamond buttons. Trond Norén Isaksen explains that Maud sometimes swapped out the top row of diamonds for turquoises. After she inherited her mother’s diamond and turquoise circlet, however, Maud used the turquoises in other pieces of jewelry.

Maud in her 1902 coronation robes [source]

Princess Maud wore the diamond tiara at the coronation of her parents in 1902. And then, three years later, something rather unexpected happened. In 1905, the newly-independent people of Norway voted to elect Maud’s husband as the new king of their country. Carl accepted the job and took on the regnal name of King Haakon VII, and Maud became a queen. She wore her diamond tiara frequently during her tenure as Norway’s queen; she even chose to wear it for the wedding of her only son, Olav, to Princess Märtha of Sweden in 1929.

Queen Maud and Crown Prince Olav [source]

Maud’s jewels went through a strange thirty-year odyssey following her unexpected death. Queen Maud liked to travel back to her British homeland often to visit relatives, and during one of these visits in 1938, she died of a heart attack. She had brought her jewels with her on that particular trip, intending to have the pieces cleaned. They weren’t returned to Norway with the late queen’s body, and with the outbreak of World War II the following year, the jewels were stashed away in Windsor Castle for safekeeping.

It wasn’t until 1953 that the jewels were reclaimed by Maud’s son and daughter-in-law, Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Märtha, who brought them back to Norway following the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. But then Märtha died unexpectedly in 1954, and Maud’s jewels were not brought out again until Olav’s son, the future King Harald V, married in 1968.  When Olav and Märtha’s three children finally divided up the late queen’s jewels, Princess Ragnhild chose this tiara from the collection. She wore it frequently at royal events, usually in rotation with the diamond and pearl Boucheron tiara that she received from her maternal grandmother, Princess Ingeborg.

Queen Maud [source]

But unlike the Boucheron tiara, Queen Maud's diamond tiara reportedly returned to the royal collection after Ragnhild’s death in 2012. (The tiaras that Princess Astrid received from her grandmother’s collection are expected to do the same after her death one day.) But, if it is currently back in the vaults, it’s not yet surfaced on the heads of one of the current Norwegian royal ladies. Many seem to think that Crown Princess Mette-Marit might be the first to wear the tiara, but it could also show up on Queen Sonja or Princess Märtha Louise. What do you think, dear readers: which Norwegian princess will be the first to wear Queen Maud’s diamond tiara in public again?