This tiara began its life as a series of hair combs, purchased by Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte for his wife, Desiree, to wear at Napoleon’s coronation in 1804. When Bernadotte was elected King of Sweden, the rubies became royal jewels. The combs were made into a bandeau by Queen Alexandrine of Denmark, who had received them from her mother-in-law, Lovisa of Sweden. Queen Ingrid turned the bandeau into a grand wreath tiara, which is now worn by Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.
The most historic set of jewelry in the Norwegian vaults, this diamond and emerald parure has its roots in the earliest part of the nineteenth century. They were handed down from Princess Augusta, Duchess of Leuchtenberg, to her daughter, Empress Amelie of Brazil. She in turn bequeathed the set to her sister, Queen Josefina of Sweden and Norway, who left them to her daughter-in-law, Queen Sofia of Sweden. In 1931, Sofia passed the emeralds down to her own daughter-in-law, Princess Ingeborg of Sweden. She gave them to her daughter, Crown Princess Martha of Norway, to use as an insurance policy during her World War II exile. Happily, the family survived the war, and the emeralds remain with the main branch today, worn exuberantly by Queen Sonja.
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