28 June 2016

The Royal Brooch Dilemma: A Coiffeured Solution?

Andra Day accessorizes with a brooch in her hair (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

We've spent a lot of time here at The Court Jeweller chatting about the extensive brooch collections of some of Europe's royal ladies -- but quite often, those discussions lead to questions about what the next generations of royal women will do with all of those bejeweled pins, especially now that traditional brooch-wearing has gone by the wayside.

Musician Andra Day reminded us of one possible solution this weekend at the BET Awards: a number of brooches make excellent, inventive hair ornaments. Today, let's look at the way royals have used their brooches in their hair -- plus some of the brooches I'd like to see royals try out in their tresses.

Portrait of Empress Elisabeth of Austria by Winterhalter (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Royals have been wearing brooches in their hair for a long, long time. Above, Empress Elisabeth "Sisi" of Austria-Hungary famously wears her diamond stars scattered throughout her hair in a portrait by Winterhalter.

Photos: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Today, the royals you're most likely to see wearing brooches in their hair are the Bernadotte women in Sweden. The Swedes have some of the best hairdressers in royal Europe, and they regularly add brooches to their grand tiara hairstyles. Above, Crown Princess Victoria wears brooches in her hair at the Nobel Prize ceremonies in 2015, 2014, and 2012.

One of Victoria's most romantic jeweled moments was her choice of the family's diamond arrow brooch to complement her hairstyle at her pre-wedding concert. She wore a Cupid-esque arrow of love the night before her wedding, and on her wedding day, she wore a tiara complete with cameos depicting the love story of Cupid and Psyche.

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Princess Madeleine also wore a glittering diamond brooch in her hair for Victoria's pre-wedding gala, using the family's diamond floral brooch to gather her demi-chignon.

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Back when Princess Sofia of Sweden was still Miss Sofia Hellqvist, she chose to make her Nobel ceremony debut wearing a brooch in her hair rather than a tiara. (Note: despite what some etiquette "experts" say, there are no rules that say you must be married to wear a tiara. You also don't have to be royal. You just have to be a person attending an event where tiaras are dress-code appropriate. That said, lots of royal brides choose to make their tiara debuts after they acquire an HRH.)

Photo: Marc Piasecki/Getty Images

Sofia's mother-in-law, Queen Silvia of Sweden, chose to wear a brooch in her hair during a recent state visit to France. The ornament was a nifty solution to the problem of the present-day state dinner in France, where the dress code is increasingly casual. A brooch still lets a queen have a regal bit of statement sparkle in her hair while following the host's dress code. In this case, the brooch was especially well chosen, as it is a part of the Bernadotte family's collection of French cameo jewelry.

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands also went with the brooch-as-hair-ornament solution during the Dutch state visit to France. She wore one of the diamond elements from the Borneo suite. This piece actually was once part of a now-dismantled tiara.

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Other royals have used brooches to approximate a tiara. Above, Princess Michael of Kent uses the daisy brooches inherited from Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll as a "tiara" at the wedding reception of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco in 2011.

Even that venerable brooch-collector Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom has tried out brooches in her hair. Above, she wears one of Queen Victoria's diamond wheat ear brooches during a visit to Spain in October 1988. Queen Maxima has also worn wheat ear brooches in her hair.

Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

One of the most effective uses of brooches as a hair ornament was Princess Charlene of Monaco's wedding day hairstyle in 2011. Charlene clarified her wedding hair ornament decision to Vogue Magazine: "I’m not wearing a tiara. Instead, Princess Caroline has lent me some beautiful diamond hair clips which belonged to her grandmother." That grandmother is Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois -- mother of Prince Rainier III of Monaco.

Queen Elizabeth II's Russian Sapphire Brooch (Photo: Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

So, ultimately, wearing brooches tucked into hairstyles can be a handy solution for royal women in multiple ways. It allows for greater use of a jewel that has increasingly fallen out of everyday fashionable wear. It lets women wear a bit of appropriate glitter at state events where tiara-wearing is no longer the norm. And it also gives some royal women options regarding jewel-wearing based on their status within the royal family. I'd love to see the Duchess of Cambridge, Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, and even Queen Letizia of Spain embrace brooches in the hair, too. How about the gorgeous Russian Sapphire Brooch (see #79 here for more info) for Kate?

Which brooches would you like to see other royal ladies wear in their hair?