Although we mostly associate it with Italy, the tiara’s history traces back to a French princess, Anne of Orléans. She married her first cousin, Prince Amedeo of Savoy, in 1927. The first images of Anne wearing the tiara show her using it 1920s style, wearing it low across her forehead as a bandeau. The tiara is an all-diamond piece, likely set in platinum; it features floral and scroll motifs in its design.
Amedeo became Duke of Aosta on his father’s death in 1931. He commanded the Italian forces in East Africa during World War II, and he died as a prisoner of war in Kenya in 1942. Because he and Anne had only daughters, the Aosta title passed to his younger brother, but the tiara stayed with the women of the family. Above, Anne wears the tiara around 1955.
Anne loaned the tiara to another Savoyard princess, Maria Beatrice (daughter of King Umberto II and Queen Marie Jose), for the wedding of Infante Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark in 1962. She's pictured above on the right wearing the tiara at the wedding; her sister, Maria Gabriella, is walking beside her.
It only seems fair, really, that a tiara belonging to the Savoys would end up in Belgium, as other Belgian tiaras (like Queen Marie-Jose's seed pearl tiara) ended up with the Italian royals. Perhaps tiara turnabout is fair play?
Note: This is an updated version of an earlier post, with new text/images.