The gorgeous bridal tiara of the Bernadottes had its start not in Sweden but at the imperial court of Napoléon. Here's the interesting history of the Swedish royal family's cameo parure!
|Detail, Jacques-Louis David's The Coronation of Napoleon (1807) [source]|
1810: Although Joséphine had two children, Eugène and Hortense, with Alexandre, she is not able to provide Napoléon with a much-needed biological heir to the French throne. He divorces her and marries Marie Louise of Austria, daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor. Joséphine relocates to the Château de Malmaison near Paris, taking her jewelry along with her.
|Anne-Louis Girodet's portrait of Hortense de Beauharnais [source]|
1814: Joséphine dies of pneumonia. Exactly what happens to the cameos after her death is a bit unclear. Historian Trond Norén Isaksen notes that the cameo parure was not included in the inventory of Joséphine's jewels made at the time of her death; however, writer Vincent Meylan argues that the cameos were indeed in Joséphine's possession upon her death, and that her son, Eugène, received them when he and his sister Hortense divided up their mother's estate. Eugène had married Princess Augusta of Bavaria in a dynastic wedding eight years earlier at the behest of Napoléon, and by 1814, he was living in Munich at the court of his father-in-law with Augusta and their children.
1817: To recognize Eugène's loyalty, his father-in-law, King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria, bestows the title of Duke of Leuchtenberg on him.
|Crown Princess Josefina of Sweden and Norway [source]|
|Fredric Westin's Bernadottes of Sweden (1837) [source]|
|King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway by Erik Wahlbergson [source]|
|Queen Josefina of Sweden by Bertha Valerius [source]|
|Princess Eugenie of Sweden and Norway [source]|
1947: Sibylla's husband, Prince Gustaf Adolf, dies in a place crash in Denmark. According to Trond Norén Isaksen, Sibylla's hair goes white shortly afterward, and she stops wearing the cameo tiara because she dislikes the way it looks against her hair.
1961: Princess Birgitta, Sibylla's second daughter, becomes the first in a long string of Bernadotte brides to wear the tiara on her wedding day. She dons the cameos to marry Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern during her first religious wedding ceremony in Stockholm; for her second religious religious wedding, in the groom's home country of Germany, she wears a Hohenzollern family bridal crown.
1964: Sibylla's third daughter, Princess Désirée, wears the cameo tiara at her wedding to Baron Nils-August Silfverschiöld at Stockholm Cathedral.
1972: Princess Sibylla dies of cancer in Stockholm. She leaves the cameo parure to her son, Prince Carl Gustaf. After the death of his grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf, the following year, Carl Gustaf becomes King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.
1976: King Carl XVI Gustaf marries Silvia Sommerlath. She wears the cameo tiara at their wedding at Stockholm Cathedral that June. Although much of the Swedish royal jewelry collection is a part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation, the cameo parure is the personal property of the king, and Silvia is the only person who wears it over the next three decades.
1996: Queen Silvia wears the cameos at the annual Nobel Prize ceremony in December.
2007: Queen Silvia wears the cameos during a Swedish state visit to Austria.
2010: Crown Princess Victoria, eldest daughter of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, wears the cameo tiara, earrings, and bracelet at her wedding to Daniel Westling in Stockholm Cathedral.
2014: Empress Joséphine's cameos return to France, two centuries after her death. Queen Silvia wears the cameo set, minus the tiara, during a state visit to France; unlike most countries, France does not hold gala-style state banquets, so Silvia substitutes a brooch from the set as a hair ornament as the evening's dress code does not call for tiaras.