Late Thursday, we were treated to a bit of a tiara surprise: the annual new year reception in Luxembourg is now a white-tie gala event!
Grand Duke Henri, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie, and Princess Alexandra were all on hand for this year’s newly-glittering reception, hosting representatives of the government, the church, the judiciary system, and the diplomatic corps. Grand Duchess Maria Teresa did not attend; she canceled her engagements for the week to be with her brother, Luis, who is in the hospital.
For the reception, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie debuted a new sparkler: the family’s Sapphire Necklace Tiara. She paired the tiara with diamond and sapphire earrings and an impressive diamond riviere.
Here’s another view of her jewels from the event, highlighting the length of the sides of the convertible tiara and the shape of the earrings. I’m not sure we’ve mentioned it here yet on the blog, but congratulations are in order for Stephanie and Guillaume, who are expecting their first child in the spring.
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The tiara has been in the family since the reign of Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte. Above, she wears the piece as a tiara during an official visit to Germany in March 1977. You’ll note that she’s wearing it with the same sapphire and diamond earrings worn by Stephanie this week as well.
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Both Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa have also worn the piece in its necklace form. Here, Maria Teresa wears the necklace during the Latvian state visit to Luxembourg in December 2006. (She’s wearing the same earrings, too.)
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In May 2017, Stephanie wore the necklace version of the piece with the sapphire and diamond earrings in Oslo for the 80th birthday celebrations of King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway. On that occasion, she paired the jewels with another important sapphire piece from the Luxembourg vaults: the Grand Duchess Adelaide Tiara.
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More recently, she wore the necklace and earrings with the Chaumet Choker Tiara for a banquet during the May 2018 state visit of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands to Luxembourg.
That tiara also made an appearance at this year’s new year reception. Princess Alexandra wore the all-diamond setting of the Chaumet Choker Tiara. She paired the tiara with diamond and pearl earrings, a diamond riviere, and a double-stranded pearl bracelet.
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The tiara has been worn several times by Alexandra. One of her early appearances in the all-diamond version came at the National Day gala in June 2016. On that occasion, she wore the piece with her mother’s diamond wedding earrings.
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In November 2017, Alexandra wore the full diamond and pearl setting of the tiara for a state banquet hosted by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
It was a truly wonderful surprise to see tiaras at this year’s new year reception, but according to one source, this isn’t an additional gala on the Luxembourgish royal schedule — it’s a shuffle of the calendar. Mara Schusterschitz, the wife of the former Austrian ambassador to Luxembourg, noted that this gala has replaced the glittering National Day gala usually held in June. She explained, “They wanted to try something new because National Day was always a very packed and stressful experience.” That means that we can expect tiaras in Luxembourg to celebrate the new year going forward — but no more tiaras for National Day in June.