25 November 2017

The Baden Fringe Tiara

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

With the Nobels coming soon in all their glittering glory, what better way to spend a Saturday than with one of the Swedish royal family's most recognizable tiaras? Today, we're looking at the history of one of Crown Princess Victoria's favorite sparklers, the Baden Fringe Tiara.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

One of the sparkliest fringe tiaras in the business, the Baden Fringe Tiara has actually been historically associated with two royal Swedish Victorias. The first was Princess Victoria of Baden, who received the tiara from her parents, Grand Duke Friedrich I and Grand Duchess Luise of Baden, when she married the future King Gustav V of Sweden in 1881. She became Queen Victoria of Sweden in 1907.

Grand Ladies Site

The lovely piece is made up of diamond sunray motifs (which is why it is sometimes called the "Sunray Tiara") mounted on a frame. When it is detached from that frame, it can also be worn as a necklace -- which is how Victoria wore the piece on her wedding day, as you can see in the bridal portrait above.

Grand Ladies Site

Queen Victoria innovated further with the fringe, wearing it off the frame as a corsage ornament on her dress in this portrait, taken around the time of her son's wedding in 1905. She pairs the fringe here with numerous other jewels, including the Leuchtenberg Sapphires and her diamond stars, which now belong to Princess Benedikte of Denmark.

Wikimedia Commons

Since the time of Queen Victoria, the tiara has never left the Swedish royal family; Victoria made sure that it wouldn't by bequeathing the piece to the family foundation of the Bernadottes. (I wish more royal families would do this to keep collections together!)

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

I've seen some people claim that the tiara is designated only to be worn by Swedish crown princesses, but that's not actually true. The tiara has been worn by many women in the family, including Crown Princess Margaretha, Queen Louise, Princess Lilian, Queen Silvia, Princess Margaretha, and Princess Birgitta. Above, Princess Lilian wears the tiara at the Nobel Prize Ceremony in 2004.

Clemens Bilan/Getty Images

Queen Silvia has begun wearing the tiara more frequently in recent years. Given the tiara's German history, it was an especially appropriate choice for a banquet in Berlin in October 2016. (More on that appearance, including that big brooch, over here!)

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

And Princess Margaretha, King Carl XVI Gustaf's eldest sister, chose to wear the tiara for Princess Madeleine's wedding to Chris O'Neill in June 2013.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

For the last fifteen years, though, the tiara's primary wearer has been Crown Princess Victoria, who often sports the sparkler at events like the annual presentation of the Nobel prizes. (Above, she wears the tiara with the gorgeous Processional Necklace at the Nobel Prize Ceremony in 2005 -- and you'll note that, in this early appearance, the base of the tiara is still wrapped in silver velvet to match Princess Lilian's hair!) She's chosen the tiara for major royal events as well, including royal weddings and state visits.


Victoria even selected the tiara for some of her official engagement portraits, further reinforcing her connection with the piece. Whenever a royal lady wears a tiara in an important portrait, the image is reproduced over and over again -- and an engagement portrait in particular shows up in lots of places, especially mass-produced souvenirs.

Miguel Villagran/Getty Images

She's so strongly associated with the sparkler, in fact, that when a "Crown Princess Victoria" Barbie doll was made, it was wearing a miniature Baden Fringe!

Note: This is an updated and expanded version of an earlier post, with new text and images.