Today I’m debuting a brand-new post series on the blog: Tiara Timelines, which follow the journey of various sparklers through royal families over their history. Our first tiara is one with a rich backstory and a romantic royal role: the Khedive of Egypt Tiara, a wedding gift that has become an official bridal diadem.
1905: Abbas II, the last Khedive of Egypt, commissions Cartier to make a wedding present for Princess Margaret of Connaught, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. The gift is important not only because Abbas essentially rules the country under the imperial control of the British (and so he needs to give a British princess a good gift) but also because Margaret met and fell in love with her groom, Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, during a trip to Cairo.
For the bride, Cartier makes a diamond tiara featuring abstract scrolling marguerite motifs, a clever nod to the bride’s nickname, Daisy. The piece is flexible and can also be worn as an ornament on a gown. Margaret doesn’t wear the tiara at her wedding, but it appears (as a corsage ornament) among an illustrated list of wedding presents published by the Illustrated London News (pictured above).
1909: Margaret, now Sweden’s crown princess, wears the tiara as an ornament on the bodice of her gown in a portrait painted by Axel Jungstedt. (The diamond tiara she wears in the portrait was another wedding gift, this time from her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught.)
1920: Margaret dies following an operation; she is only thirty-eight years old and is pregnant with her sixth child, who also dies. The Khedive tiara is inherited by her only daughter, Princess Ingrid, who has just turned ten.
1935: Ingrid marries Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark in Stockholm. A portrait of Ingrid wearing the Khedive tiara is featured on royal wedding souvenirs, including the matchbox pictured above. Like her mother, Ingrid does not wear a tiara at her wedding. With Ingrid’s marriage, the tiara moves from the Swedish royal family to the Danish royal family.
1948: Ingrid, now Queen of Denmark, loans the Khedive tiara to her cousin, Princess Margaretha of Denmark, for the inauguration of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. Like Ingrid, Margaretha was born a Swedish princess and married a Danish prince. Margaretha was also a sister of Queen Astrid of the Belgians and Crown Princess Martha of Norway.
ca. 1950: Ingrid wears the Khedive tiara for a photographic portrait. Although she now has access to numerous Danish tiaras as the nation’s queen, including the country’s crown jewels, she still wears her mother’s tiara on a regular basis.
1958: During the eighteenth-birthday celebrations of Ingrid’s eldest daughter, Margrethe, Ingrid loans the tiara to her niece, Princess Margaretha of Sweden. The daughter of Ingrid’s late brother, Prince Gustaf Adolf, Margaretha is a granddaughter and namesake of Margaret of Connaught.
1960: Ingrid again lends the tiara to Princess Margaretha of Denmark, who wears the sparkler during a banquet held in Brussels as a part of the festivities for the wedding of King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola of the Belgians.
1964: Ingrid’s youngest daughter, Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark, wears the Khedive tiara at her wedding to King Constantine II of the Hellenes in Athens. She also wears the same Irish lace veil worn by Margaret of Connaught in 1905 and Queen Ingrid in 1935.
1967: Princess Margrethe of Denmark, Ingrid’s eldest daughter and heir to the Danish throne, wears the Khedive tiara and Margaret of Connaught’s veil at her wedding to Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat in Copenhagen.
1968: The use of the Khedive tiara as an official family wedding diadem is cemented when Princess Benedikte of Denmark, Ingrid’s second daughter, wears the tiara and veil at her wedding to Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg.
1998: A second generation of Ingrid’s family carries on the Khedive tiara wedding tradition. Ingrid loans the tiara and veil to her granddaughter (and Princess Benedikte’s elder daughter), Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, who wears it to wed Count Jefferson von Pfiel und Klein-Ellguth.
1999: Ingrid loans to the tiara to another granddaughter, Princess Alexia of Greece and Denmark, who wears it with the Connaught veil at her wedding to Carlos Morales Quintana in London.
2000: Queen Ingrid dies at the age of ninety with her children and grandchildren at her bedside. The Khedive tiara is inherited by her youngest daughter, Anne-Marie, the former Queen of the Hellenes. (The Greek monarchy was abolished in the 1970s.) Anne-Marie is only the third owner of the tiara in its almost century-long history; the tiara moves to the collection of the former Greek royal family.
2001: Anne-Marie begins a trend of wearing the family’s wedding tiara at other royal weddings when she dons the sparkler at the wedding of Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway. Anne-Marie has also by this point made an alteration to the tiara’s base so that the piece sits higher on the wearer’s head.
2004: At one of the pre-wedding galas held for her nephew, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Anne-Marie wears the Khedive tiara in Copenhagen.
2010: Princess Nathalie of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg borrows the Khedive tiara from her aunt for her wedding to Alexander Johannsmann; she also wears Margaret of Connaught’s veil. She’s the first family bride to wear the tiara with its taller base. The use of the tiara as a bridal diadem has so far been restricted to the female descendants of Queen Ingrid; the wives of her grandsons have worn different tiaras at their weddings. There are currently eight more descendants eligible to wear the tiara one day: Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark, Princess Isabella of Denmark, Princess Josephine of Denmark, Princess Athena of Denmark, Arrietta Morales y de Grecia, Ana María Morales y de Grecia, Amelia Morales y de Grecia, and Princess Maria Olympia of Greece and Denmark.
2012: Anne-Marie brings the Khedive tiara back to Denmark again for Queen Margrethe II’s ruby jubilee, wearing it at a gala performance in her sister’s honor.
2012: Later the same year, Anne-Marie wears the tiara at a reception held the night before yet another royal wedding: the nuptials of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg.