26 January 2019

The Connaught Turquoise Bandeau

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Today's tiara is one of the most intriguing mysteries from the world of Swedish-Danish royal jewels: a little beaded bandeau worn by two fascinating royal women. Here's what we know (and don't know!) about the Connaught Turquoise Bandeau.




Margaret with two of her sons, Prince Gustaf Adolf and Prince Sigvard, ca. 1908

The bandeau is one of several that Margaret of Connaught, who married the future King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden in 1905, wore during her lifetime. (The most famous is probably her Turquoise Daisy Bandeau, which is now owned by her granddaughter, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.) I've heard it said that this little bandeau, which features little rows of beads, may have been set with turquoises and pearls, which makes sense given the other contents of Margaret's jewelry box.


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The bandeau bears some stylistic similarities to another of Margret's wedding gifts: this mirrored brooch set with diamonds, pearls, and turquoises. She received numerous turquoise pieces in her wedding gift haul, and these two may have been designed to be worn together. (More on the brooch over here!)


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Margaret died in 1920, and her turquoises were inherited by her only daughter, Ingrid. In 1926, she wore the bandeau for the wedding of her cousin, Princess Astrid of Sweden, to the future King Leopold III of Belgium. (You'll note that it was very fashionable at the time to wear tiaras low across the forehead a la Josephine. You'll also spot the aforementioned Turquoise Daisy Bandeau here on the left side of the photo -- more over here!)


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Here's a close-up of Ingrid wearing the bandeau for Astrid's wedding. The contrasting rows of beads are clearer here. I've read speculation that this bandeau may be a converted bracelet or necklace, which makes sense design-wise. Unfortunately, we don't seem to know any more about it. Presumably it still exists somewhere, perhaps in the collections of one of Ingrid's three daughters. Here's hoping we see it again (in some form) someday!