23 January 2016

Saturday Sparkler: Princess Claire's Wedding Tiara

Some wedding tiaras are statement makers, and some are a bit quieter. Today's tiara, the diamond wedding tiara of Princess Claire of Belgium, falls into the latter category, but for my money, the piece is still one of the best bridal tiaras worn in Europe this century.

The specific provenance of the all-diamond tiara doesn’t seem to have been made public knowledge. While we don’t know whether the tiara was newly-made or an antique piece, we do know that it was a wedding gift to the British-born Claire from her new parents-in-law, King Albert and Queen Paola of Belgium.

While the tiara is a small piece, it coordinated perfectly with Claire’s wedding ensemble -- the tiara’s design echoes the dainty lacework of Claire’s wedding dress and her veil. Its diminutive size was also perhaps a smart political choice for a woman marrying a younger royal son in a country that has a fraught relationship with monarchy. If you're not marrying the heir, perhaps smaller is better?

The tiara's appearance on her wedding day in 2003 may have been the most significant outing for this tiara, but Claire wore it a few times in the years just after her wedding, notably at the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark in 2004.

Claire has also worn the tiara at gala dinners and other state events, including state visits from Norway and Portugal. Around 2010, she added a slightly larger diamond and pearl tiara to her collection, and that has become her go-to piece for white-tie occasions.