14 September 2019

King Olav's Gift Tiara

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

It’s something of a Scandinavian tradition for royal princesses to receive tiaras as an eighteenth birthday present. Today, let’s look at the birthday tiara received by a member of the Norwegian royal family, Princess Märtha Louise.




Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Märtha Louise is the only daughter of King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, but when she turned eighteen in 1989, the monarch in Norway was her grandfather, King Olav V. He carried on a Scandinavian royal tradition by giving a tiara to Märtha Louise as an eighteenth birthday present. Olav (who — trivia fact — was born Prince Alexander of Denmark on the Sandringham estate in England) was much beloved; he also served as one of Märtha Louise's godparents. He died about a year and a half after bestowing this sparkler on his granddaughter.


Martha Louise wears the tiara for the wedding of Prince Joachim and Princess Marie of Denmark, 2008 (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

The tiara that Märtha Louise received is a strikingly modern one, with intertwined diamond elements forming a low bandeau, interspersed with small pearls and topped by a series of larger pearls.


Martha Louise wears the tiara for a pre-wedding gala for Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg, 2012 (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

The base of the tiara is often covered by a braid that matches Märtha Louise’s hair color — a different option frequently used by royals rather than a simple velvet-wrapped tiara base.


Martha Louise wears the tiara for the wedding of Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia of Sweden, 2015 (JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Märtha Louise has worn the small tiara regularly since receiving it, although today she also sometimes swaps it out for other pieces from the royal jewel collection, including the family’s amethyst tiara and the smaller version of Queen Maud’s Pearl Tiara.

Note: This is an updated version of a previous post.