11 September 2020

Queen Paola and the Art Deco Bandeau

Queen Paola wears the Art Deco Bandeau, October 2012 (Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Happy Birthday to Queen Paola of Belgium! Today, we're celebrating the day with a look at one of Paola's most important pieces of jewelry: the Art Deco Bandeau.




Princess Paola wears the diamond bandeau, August 1968 (Trinity Mirror/Mirrorpix/Alamy)

The classic diamond bandeau-style tiara first belonged to Queen Elisabeth of Belgium. The tiara was later worn by Elisabeth's daughters-in-law, Queen Astrid and Princess Lilian. (See images of both of them wearing the jewel here!) In 1959, Elisabeth's son, King Leopold III, gave the tiara to his new daughter-in-law, Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria. The jewel was a gift to mark the wedding of Paola and Leopold's second son, Prince Albert, Prince of Liège.


Princess Paola arrives for Princess Beatrix's pre-wedding ball, March 1966 (Eric Koch/Anefo/Nationaal Archief/Wikimedia Commons)

The Prince and Princess of Liège were two of the most elegant royals of the swinging '60s, and Paola often nestled the diamond bandeau in her fantastic hairdos. This shot, showing Paola arriving for a ball in Amsterdam in March 1966, gives you an idea of the intricacy of her '60s updos!


Princess Paola arrives for Princess Beatrix's pre-wedding ball, March 1966 (Eric Koch/Anefo/Nationaal Archief/Wikimedia Commons)

Here's another view of the couple arriving for the ball, which was held at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. The glittering occasion honored Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, who married Prince Claus the following morning.


An illustrated portrait of Queen Paola wearing the diamond bandeau on a postage stamp

The Prince of Liège became King Albert II after the death of his brother, King Baudouin, in 1993, and Paola became Belgium's new queen consort. The Art Deco Bandeau, then, rejoined the main jewelry collection of the family. Though Paola now had access to the grand Nine Provinces Tiara, she still often wore the diamond bandeau. Images of Paola wearing the tiara were even featured on Belgian currency and stamps.


Queen Paola wears the diamond bandeau, October 2004 (Mark Renders/Getty Images)

Though she often chose the Nine Provinces Tiara for the grandest of diplomatic occasions, Paola did wear the diamond bandeau for state functions as well. Above, Paola wears the bandeau for a gala dinner in honor of the President of Poland at Laeken Castle in October 2004.


Queen Paola wears the diamond bandeau for the Danish royal wedding, May 2004 (SVEN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Queen Paola also frequently wore the diamond bandeau for family events like royal weddings. In May 2004, she wore the Art Deco Bandeau for the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark in Copenhagen.


Queen Paola wears the diamond bandeau for the Danish royal wedding, May 2004 (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Here's another image from the Danish royal wedding in 2004. You'll note that Paola is technically wearing two tiaras in the photo. She used the bandeau base of the Nine Provinces Tiara as a choker necklace.


Queen Paola wears the tiara at the Swedish royal wedding, June 2010 (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

In June 2010, Queen Paola wore the diamond bandeau for the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden in Stockholm.


Queen Paola wears the tiara at the pre-wedding gala in Luxembourg, October 2012 (Grand-Ducal Court of Luxembourg via Getty Images)

And in October 2012, she wore the tiara for a pre-wedding gala in honor of her great-nephew, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg.


Queen Mathilde wears the tiara on her wedding day, December 1999 (PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images); Elisabetta wears the tiara on her wedding day, July 2014 (Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images)

King Albert II abdicated the throne in July 2013 in favor of his elder son, King Philippe. Since then, Queen Paola has hung up her tiaras. But we've still gotten to see the Art Deco Bandeau on a handful of occasions since then. In July 2014, Paola loaned the tiara to her grandson's new wife, Elisabetta, as a wedding tiara. She'd also previously offered the tiara as a loan to her daughter-in-law, Queen Mathilde, in December 1999.


Princess Astrid wears the bandeau for the German state dinner, March 2016 (Patrick van Katwijk/DPA Picture Alliance/Alamy)

And one more member of the family has borrowed the tiara, too: Princess Astrid, Paola's daughter. She wore the tiara for a gala banquet in honor of the President of Germany in March 2016.