The Princess of Orange, who turned 18 last week, will likely be making her first tiara appearance sometime in the next several months. Many have suggested that she should borrow the tiara first worn by her grandmother, Princess Beatrix. Today, I’ve got a look at one of Beatrix’s earliest appearances in the tiara, which took place during a state visit.
In October 1956, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands welcomed President William S. Tubman of Liberia and his wife, Antoinette Tubman, to Amsterdam for a state visit. For the first engagements of the visit, Juliana was joined by 18-year-old Princess Beatrix, who was standing in for her father, Prince Bernhard. He was in Africa, undertaking a month-long visit to his home in Tanganyika (present-day Tanzania). Here, Juliana, the Tubmans, and Beatrix wave from the balcony of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam at the start of the visit.
Newspapers were full of rumors that Prince Bernhard’s absence from the visit was part of a deepening rift in the royal marriage, initially caused by conflict over the faith healer Greet Hofmans. Juliana had met Hofmans while seeking treatments to improve the eyesight of her youngest daughter, Princess Christina, but Prince Bernhard and other courtiers began to believe that Hofmans was unduly influencing Juliana’s politics as well. The royal court in the Netherlands had divided into factions, with Queen Juliana on one side, and Prince Bernhard and their daughters on the other. The conflict was serious, and Juliana and Bernhard nearly divorced. Eventually, the prince prevailed: Hofmans was expelled from court, and the couple reconciled.
The first evening of the visit included a gala dinner, and then a trip to the opera at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. The evening’s dress code was, as usual, white tie and tiaras. The engagement provided an opportunity for Princess Beatrix to wear a tiara in public, something she’d only done on a few previous occasions.
Here, Queen Juliana and Princess Beatrix are greeted as they arrive for the performance. Queen Juliana selected one of the most imposing tiaras in the Dutch royal collection: Queen Emma’s Sapphire Tiara. The tiara, which soars atop the wearer’s head like a Gothic cathedral, was made in 1881 for Queen Juliana’s grandmother.
Princess Beatrix wore the same tiara she’d worn for previous formal occasions: the Dutch Laurel Wreath Tiara. There are some disagreements about how the tiara actually arrived in the Dutch royal collection, but there’s no doubt that it was earmarked for Beatrix’s use when she turned 18. Since then, it’s also been worn by several other Dutch princesses.
Here’s a look at Princess Beatrix’s full gown and jewels for the opera gala, as well as the gown and the lovely necklace worn by Antoinette Tubman. Both ladies are also wearing orders. Beatrix is wearing the Order of the Pioneers of Liberia, and Mrs. Tubman is wearing a Dutch order, though I’ve not been able to figure out precisely which one was given to her. (I think it might be the Order of Orange-Nassau.) President Tubman wore the Order of the Netherlands Lion, and I believe Queen Juliana also wore the Order of the Pioneers of Liberia.
Here’s one more look at Beatrix’s tiara and jewels. No earrings on this outing. Her only other major piece of jewelry was a small, delicate festoon necklace.