30 December 2015

Royal Jewels of 2015: The Tiara Debuts

Is there anything more exciting than a royal lady showing up at an event in a tiara she's never worn before? (Really, is there???) This year, we were treated to several tiara debuts, both of brand-new pieces and major heirlooms.

Queen Mathilde in the Nine Provinces Tiara

Queen Mathilde of the Belgians had worn the meander bandeau base of the Nine Provinces Tiara before, but in April she stepped out in the full, majestic version of the tiara of Belgium's queens for the first time. She wore the complete '20s-era tiara, with its topper diamonds and arches, at the gala held at Christiansborg Palace for Queen Margrethe II of Denmark's 75th birthday.

Queen Letizia in the Asturias Ansorena Tiara

The Christiansborg gala was also the place where Queen Letizia of Spain brought out a new tiara for the first time: the diamond and pearl tiara made for her by Ansorena. The piece was somewhat controversial, with questions about who commissioned it and who paid for it, and I speculated that an event outside of Spain may have been an excellent opportunity to premiere it!

Princess Sofia in her wedding tiara

In June, Sofia Hellqvist arrived at her wedding to Prince Carl Philip of Sweden wearing a previously-unseen diamond and emerald tiara. The piece has become her go-to tiara; she wore it at two separate appearances during the recent Nobel festivities in Stockholm.

Crown Princess Victoria in the Connaught Diamond Tiara

Sofia wasn't the only one wearing a new tiara at her wedding: her sister-in-law, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, wore the delicate Connaught Diamond Tiara for the first time in public. She also chose the tiara later in the year for the annual Nobel banquet.

Princess Tatiana in a Bulgari tiara

One more tiara debut at the Swedish royal wedding: Tatiana, the wife of Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark, wore a small diamond tiara by Bulgari for the first time.

Queen Mathilde in the Wolfers Tiara

Mathilde had another tiara surprise up her sleeve this year. At a state banquet in October, she shocked royal watchers by wearing the Wolfers Tiara, a jewel from the collection of the late Queen Fabiola. After Fabiola's death, the fate of some of her grandest jewels was left uncertain, but this tiara appearance revealed that at least some of her pieces are still with the Belgian royals -- good news for a royal collection that is relatively small!

The Duchess of Cambridge in Queen Mary's Lover's Knot Tiara

How stunned were we all in December when Kate arrived at the annual Buckingham Palace diplomatic reception wearing the Lover's Knot Tiara? Unseen in public for more than two decades, many thought the tiara's strong associations with the late Princess Diana would keep it in the vaults for years to come. But Kate is proving to be braver about her mother-in-law's legacy than many of us predicted...

Princess Madeleine in the Swedish Aquamarine Kokoshnik

The Nobel Prize Ceremony in Sweden is always a jeweled delight, and this year it came with a tiara debut, as Princess Madeleine wore the aquamarine kokoshnik that belongs to her aunt, Princess Margaretha. Although Margaretha apparently still owns the tiara, it's clearly been made available for other Bernadotte women to wear, which is good news for those of us who love seeing this piece sparkle in public!