06 September 2018

Queen Juliana's Inauguration Jewels

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Seventy years ago today, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands was officially sworn in as the nation's monarch. To mark the anniversary, we've got a closer look today at the jewels that Juliana -- who is also our Magpie of the Month! -- wore for her formal inauguration.






On September 6, 1948 -- two days after her mother, Queen Wilhelmina, had abdicated -- Juliana arrived at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam for a special joint session of the States General. In front of the nation's elected officials, and royals from across Europe, and with her husband, Prince Bernhard, by her side, Juliana officially became Queen of the Netherlands. The Dutch royal regalia, which is not physically worn or used during the country's inauguration ceremonies, rested nearby on a cushion.


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According to press reports, Juliana had originally intended to wear a tiara for her inauguration -- more specifically, according to the Chicago Tribune, "a diamond tiara worn by the retiring Wilhelmina at her enthronement" in 1898. (That would be the Stuart Tiara.) Juliana ultimately wore the Stuart for a theater gala held during the inauguration festivities, but for the ceremony itself, she chose a very different kind of headpiece.


Wikimedia Commons

Instead of a tiara, Juliana chose to wear a Juliet cap, an open-work cap frequently decorated with gemstones (and named after the Shakespeare character). Juliana's cap was "crowned by a diamond star and edged in pearls," with "four smaller diamond stars," more pearls, and rubies. The cap was reportedly designed "especially to flatter its wearer" and made using gemstones from the family's jewelry collections.


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The press also correctly noted that Juliana paired her bejeweled cap with ruby and diamond pieces from the family's jewelry vaults. She paired the necklace from the Ruby Peacock Parure (borrowed from Wilhelmina) with the ruby cluster drop earrings and large ruby and diamond stomacher from the Mellerio Ruby Parure. A ruby and diamond bracelet from her mother's collection completed her jewelry.


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The complete look was a unique one. Newspapers noted that the "lavish use of rubies blends her jewelry with the red and purple velvet of her enthronement robes."


Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Juliana's decision to eschew a tiara puts her at odds with the other modern Dutch queens when it comes to inauguration jewelry. Her daughter, Beatrix, wore the Pearl Button Tiara for her swearing-in ceremony in 1980, while Queen Maxima wore a modified version of the Dutch Sapphire Parure Tiara for the inauguration of her husband, King Willem-Alexander, in 2013.