01 June 2019

The Habsburg Pearl Bandeau

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The once-mighty Habsburg dynasty no longer reigns in Europe, but members of the family still retain a few of their magnificent jewels. Today, we've got a look at one of their tiaras: the Habsburg Pearl Bandeau.




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The bandeau has been with the family since at least the 1950s, though the design suggests that it may be far older than that. The piece features pearls set on various diamond elements, including diamond circles and lozenges. Like many bandeaux, this one looks like it may have originally been the base of a larger diadem, perhaps a large tiara or even a small crown.

In July 1956, the bandeau made an important appearance at a Habsburg family wedding. Archduchess Charlotte, the seventh child of Emperor Karl and Empress Zita, wore the tiara as she married Duke Georg of Mecklenburg in a religious ceremony in Germany. The press referred to the bandeau simply as "a diamond tiara" in reports on the wedding.


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Earlier the same year, the bandeau had been worn by Charlotte's sister-in-law, Archduchess Regina, for another royal wedding: the nuptials of another Habsburg relative, Archduke Ferdinand, and Countess Helene of Toerring-Jettenbach (a niece of Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent). Above, Regina is pictured wearing the bandeau during the festivities; she's sitting with Princess Kira of Prussia, who is wearing the towering Prussian Clover Coronet. (More on that tiara here!)


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The bandeau has also been worn by at least two more Habsburg brides. In 1980, Archduchess Monika wore the bandeau for her wedding to Don Luis María Gonzaga de Casanova-Cárdenas y Barón, Duke of Santangelo. And in January 1993, the bandeau featured at the wedding of Archduke Karl (the current head of the House of Habsburg) and his (now estranged) wife, Baroness Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza.


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On Francesca's wedding day, the bandeau was backed in white satin, presumably to help the details of the tiara to stand out more successfully.


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One of the bandeau's most recent public appearances came in May 2004, when Francesca wore it for a gala theater performance held in Copenhagen on the night before the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. Here's hoping we'll see this one again in the future -- perhaps on another Habsburg bride?