This week, our Sparkling Spotlight shines on royal brides who have worn pearl tiaras on their wedding days. Let’s kick things off with one of the most magnificent pearly royal brides of all: Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands.
Princess Beatrix, daughter of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and heir to the Dutch throne, married her fiancé, the German diplomat Klaus von Amsberg, on March 10, 1966, in Amsterdam. The romance was controversial with many in the Netherlands, as the lingering wounds of World War II made them wary of a German-born consort for their future monarch. Beatrix was firm in her choice, however, and eventually Prince Claus (who had changed his name to the Dutch spelling, Claus van Amsberg), became a popular member of the royal family.
Following a civil wedding ceremony at Amsterdam’s city hall, the couple were married in a religious ceremony at the Westerkerk. For that second ceremony, Beatrix wore a lavish embroidered gown, a tulle veil, and diamond and pearl jewels. Her tiara was the Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara, a towering diamond and pearl diadem made for Beatrix’s grandmother, Queen Wilhelmina, in 1897. The designer of the wedding gown, the relatively-unknown Caroline Bergé-Farwick, added embroidery to the dress that neatly echoes the elements of the tiara.
Though the tiara was less than a century old on the wedding day, many believe that it includes diamonds and pearls that have been with the Dutch royal family since the days of Queen Sophie, who was born Princess Sophie of Württemberg (hence the piece’s usual name). The versatile tiara can be worn in four different settings. For her wedding day, Beatrix chose the most complete setting, which helped the tiara stand out against her voluminous veil.
Beatrix wore pearl drop earrings to coordinate with the tiara, though they were almost completely hidden in most of of the photographs taken on the wedding day. She also affixed another heirloom jewel from the Dutch royal collection to her dress. The diamond and pearl strawberry leaf brooch that she wore also belonged to Queen Sophie of the Netherlands. The jewel was made in the first half of the nineteenth century. The piece can be worn both with and without its pearl pendant. Beatrix chose to wear the pendant on her wedding day.
After the ceremony, the couple greeted the people of Amsterdam from the balcony of the Royal Palace. Despite the intial misgivings about the match, the couple lived happily together for more than 30 years, raising three sons and representing the Netherlands together during Beatrix’s reign until Claus’s death in 2002. Today, their eldest son, King Willem-Alexander, sits on the Dutch throne.