1810-1820: The creation date of the tiara and the other pieces of the coordinating parure has never been firmly established. It bears significant stylistic similarities to two diamond and emerald tiaras created in France at the beginning of the nineteenth century: the emerald and diamond tiara made in 1810 for Napoleon’s second wife, Empress Marie-Louise, by Nitot (and now set with turquoises, not emeralds), and the diamond and emerald tiara made in 1819-20 by Bapst for the Duchess of Angoulême, who was queen of France for all of twenty minutes. Given the similarities to each of these pieces, it’s possible it was made during the same time frame.
1830: Historian Trond Norén Isaksen notes that family tradition says that the emeralds in this tiara were mined in Russia; emeralds weren’t discovered in Russia until 1830, so if that’s correct, it was actually made in the 1830s, a least a full decade later than the previous examples. Some have posited that the tiara was originally made for Empress Joséphine, Napoleon’s first wife, who died in 1814. If the post-1830 creation date is correct, the first owner is more likely Joséphine’s daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Leuchtenberg (who was born Princess Augusta of Bavaria). We know for sure that Augusta (pictured above with her first child, Joséphine of Leuchtenberg) acquired the tiara at some point — we just don’t know how or from whom.
1851: Sixty-two-year-old Augusta dies in Munich. Her jewels are divided among her three surviving daughters, Amélie (the Empress of Brazil), Joséphine (the Queen of Sweden and Norway), and Théodolinde (the Duchess of Urach). Amélie, the widow of Emperor Pedro I of Brazil, lives in Lisbon, and the tiara finds a new home with her at the Palácio de Alvor-Pombal, which today is home to Portugal’s National Museum of Ancient Art.
|Joséphine of Leuchtenberg, Queen of Sweden and Norway, ca. 1850s (source)|
1873: Empress Amélie dies in Lisbon at the age of sixty. Her only child, Princess Maria Amélia, had died two decades before, and Amélie has only one living sister: Queen Joséphine, the widow of King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway. She’s already sixty-five, but Joséphine becomes her sister’s sole heir, inheriting her jewelry, including the emerald parure (as well as the Brazilian diamond parure).
|Queen Sofia wears the emerald tiara|
1876: Only three years after inheriting the emeralds from her sister, Queen Joséphine dies in Stockholm at the age of sixty-nine. She leaves the tiara to her thirty-nine-year-old daughter-in-law, Queen Sofia, the wife of King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway.
|The Connaught family at the 1911 coronation (L-R): The Duke of Connaught, Princess Patricia of Connaught, the Duchess of Connaught, Prince Arthur of Connaught, Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden (wearing the emerald parure), and Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden|
1911: King George V and Queen Mary are crowned in the United Kingdom, and Queen Sofia’s grandson and granddaughter-in-law, Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf and Crown Princess Margareta, are among those attending the coronation. Margareta is the new king’s first cousin; their fathers were both sons of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. For the event, Sofia loans the emerald parure to Margareta. The crown prince and princess are photographed with her family at the coronation, and the emeralds are on display in the portrait.
|Princess Ingeborg (source)|
1913: Seventy-seven-year-old Queen Sofia dies in the palace in Stockholm. Rather than designating the emeralds for the use of the country’s current queen, Victoria of Baden, Sofia leaves them to her daughter-in-law, Princess Ingeborg, the thirty-five-year-old wife of Sofia’s third son, Prince Carl. Sofia and Victoria had a tense relationship; Ingeborg was much closer to her mother-in-law. Moreover, though she was the wife of a younger son, Princess Ingeborg had served as Sweden’s de facto first lady during the last years of Oscar II’s reign, and it seems likely that she borrowed her mother-in-law’s emeralds during that period.
1926: Ingeborg wears the emerald parure during the wedding of her daughter, Princess Astrid of Sweden, and the Duke of Brabant (later King Leopold III of the Belgians). She also poses for a portrait wearing the emerald set the same year.
|Crown Princess Märtha holds Prince Harald at his christening, 31 Mar 1937 (source)|
1937: Crown Princess Märtha of Norway, born Princess Märtha of Sweden, borrows the necklace and earrings from the parure from her mother, Princess Ingeborg, and wears them at the christening of her son, Prince Harald, in March. By this time, Ingeborg has made alterations to the parure. She has had the large drop-shaped emeralds atop the
tiara removed and remade into a pair of earrings; in their
place, a jeweler has installed additional diamond palmette elements. By
this point, she has also removed most of the pendants from the necklace
and distributes them to various family members. Three of these pendants
were given to the late Queen Astrid of the Belgians; the emeralds from
those pendants are now a part of the emerald peacock tiara owned by the
grand ducal family of Luxembourg.
1937: In May, Ingeborg loans the tiara to her daughter, Crown Princess Märtha, for the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom. Märtha sits for a set of portraits wearing the tiara. The alterations made by Ingeborg to the tiara are clearly visible in this set of portrait images.
1937: Six days after the British coronation, Ingeborg wears the tiara during the Silver Jubilee celebrations of her cousin, King Christian X of Denmark, in Copenhagen.
1940: World War II is being waged in Europe, and Crown Princess Märtha is at the train station in Stockholm, preparing to leave with her three children — Princess Ragnhild, Princess Astrid, and Prince Harald — for America. Princess Ingeborg meets her daughter at the station and hands her a package. Inside is the emerald parure; Ingeborg intends for Märtha to sell the valuable heirloom jewels if her family faces a financial crisis in the midst of war.
|The royal family returns to Norway (source)|
1948: Märtha wears the emerald parure to the inauguration of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands.
1953: Märtha wears the emerald set to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, which means that the tiara appeared at each of the three most recent British coronations.
1953: In July, Märtha wears the emeralds at the celebrations for the fiftieth birthday of her husband, Crown Prince Olav.
1954: Crown Princess Märtha dies of cancer in Oslo at the age of fifty-three. Princess Ingeborg has outlived her daughter, and according to Trond Norén Isaksen, she expresses the wish that the emeralds be inherited by her grandson, Harald, who will one day be Norway’s king.
1950s: After the death of her mother, Princess Astrid of Norway serves as the nation’s first lady. She wears a number of her mother’s tiaras, including the emeralds, at official events like state banquets.
1968: Crown Prince Harald marries Sonja Haraldsen, who becomes the nation’s crown princess. She will eventually become the first Norwegian queen to wear the emeralds.
1960s-70s: Sonja begins wearing the emerald parure. Since her marriage, she has been the only member of the family to wear the tiara in public, cementing its place as a jewel reserved for the highest-ranking lady in the country.
1992: A year after becoming queen, Sonja wears the emeralds at the silver wedding celebrations for Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark.
1995: In April, Sonja takes the emeralds with her to Madrid for a state visit to King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain.
1995: Sonja wears the emeralds at the November wedding of Prince Joachim of Denmark to Alexandra Manley (now the Countess of Frederiksborg) in Copenhagen.
1996: In April, Sonja brings the emerald set back to Sweden, wearing it to the party celebrating the fiftieth birthday of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.
2001: Sonja wears the emeralds at the wedding of her son, Crown Prince Haakon, to Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby.
2003: The emeralds are Sonja’s pick for a state visit to Belgium that is really more of a family reunion: King Albert II of the Belgians and King Harald V of Norway are first cousins. Albert is the son of Queen Astrid, and Harald is the son of Crown Princess Märtha, which means that both of them are grandsons of Princess Ingeborg.
2004: Sonja chooses the emerald set for the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson in Copenhagen.
2005: The emeralds make an appearance at their old home, the royal palace in Stockholm, during a gala dinner with the Swedish royal family.
2005: In October, Sonja brings the emeralds with her on a state visit to Britain, where she wears them for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.
2006: Another milestone birthday for the Swedish king, another outing for the Norwegian emeralds: here they are at Carl XVI Gustaf’s sixtieth birthday party.
2010: Sonja wears the emeralds at Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden’s wedding — meaning that the set has been worn at the weddings of each of the three current Scandinavian royal heirs.