17 August 2016

The Turquoise Daisy Bandeau

The Turquoise Daisy Bandeau (Photo: KELD NAVNTOFT/AFP/Getty Images)

As some of Europe's queens and queens consort are beginning to age, they frequently reach for smaller, lighter tiaras. In Denmark, Queen Margrethe II has begun to wear her small turquoise bandeau more often for state banquets and other diplomatic events that require a tiara.

The tiara's design includes small turquoise, pearl, and diamond flowers with petals, often identified as daisies (though sometimes also referred to as other flowers). The daisy motif makes a lot of sense to me, though -- especially when you consider that the tiara is often said to have been a part of the jewelry collection of Margrethe's maternal grandmother, Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden. Both grandmother and granddaughter share the nickname "Daisy," and there are other pieces of jewelry in Margarethe's collection that are linked with her mother and her grandmother. (The most notable is, of course, her daisy brooch.)

I've seen some speculation that the turquoise bandeau may have been a gift to Crown Princess Margareta from her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. I've also seen it speculated that the turquoises in this older set may be Russian in origin and could even have been owned by members of the imperial family. But, to my knowledge, none of this has been specifically confirmed. I've also never seen a reliable reference to the tiara's maker. According to Bjarne Steen Jensen, the tiara can be removed from its base and worn as a bracelet. He dates the piece to the late nineteenth-century, arguing that the shape of the flowers is typical of the period.

Regardless, we do know that the tiara was worn in a portrait by Margrethe's mother, Ingrid, when she was a Swedish princess. That portrait has been a source of some confusion; although Ingrid wears a veil, she is wearing Swedish court dress. The portrait, which is featured in Jensen's book on the Danish royal family's jewels, is dated to 1928, the first year that Ingrid participated in the opening of parliament in Sweden. The veil she wears was inherited from her mother, just as the turquoise bandeau was. (In the portrait, Ingrid also wears the Devonshire Brooch, which features a cabochon turquoise surrounded by four diamonds; this was a wedding present to her mother in 1905.)

Photo: KELD NAVNTOFT/AFP/Getty Images

We also know that Margrethe began wearing the piece way back in the 1960s (including an important outing during the pre-wedding celebrations for her sister, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece), though she has only started to wear it regularly for events like state banquets within the past decade. Above, she wears the tiara during a state dinner for the Chinese president in 2012.

The tiara has also been lent to others on various occasions. It was worn by Crown Princess Martha of Norway (mother of the current king) at the wedding of her sister, Astrid, to King Leopold III of Belgium in 1926. She's the person marked with the yellow #1 in the group photo above. On that occasion, it must have been Martha's cousin, Ingrid, doing the lending. Jensen notes that, at some point, the tiara was also worn by at least one of the Haga princesses (Ingrid's nieces -- the four sisters of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden).

In later years, the tiara has been worn by Madeleine Tengbom (maternal grandmother of Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, the husband of Princess Benedikte of Denmark) at her grandson's wedding, by both of Princess Benedikte's daughters, and by Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark at her aunt Margrethe's Ruby Jubilee in 2012.