We’re surveying tiaras worn by Dutch princesses this week, and there’s one we can’t fail to highlight: the Ruby Peacock Tiara, worn early and often in the 1950s by Princess Irene of the Netherlands.
In May 1959, the Shah of Iran arrived in the Netherlands for a state visit. He was hosted by Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard (whose marital problems were now behind them), as well as Princess Beatrix and Princess Irene. The latter had turned 18 in the summer of 1957, and she had joined her parents and her sisters at formal diplomatic functions soon afterward.
On May 20, the Dutch royals hosted a reception for the Shah at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The dress code was formal, with tiaras and evening gowns for the ladies and uniforms or white tie for the gentlemen. Queen Juliana, pictured here arriving with the Shah, wore the grand full Stuart Parure: the tiara, the necklace, and the large corsage brooch, which was pinned at her waist.
Here’s a photo of Princess Irene and Princess Beatrix leaving the Royal Palace to travel to the museum for the reception. Both princesses wore fashionable evening dresses with the insignia of the new Iranian order, the Imperial Order of the Pleiades, that they’d received during the visit. Clearly it was a chilly evening for the month of May, as both princesses also layered cloaks over their dresses for the journey to the reception.
Here’s a look at their gowns and jewels without their coats. We’re focusing on Irene’s jewels here, but Princess Beatrix’s are certainly worth a mention, especially her tiara and necklace. She wore Queen Emma’s Diamond Tiara, which was made in 1890, with Queen Wilhelmina’s Diamond Festoon Necklace, which was made in 1889. The festoon necklace has more recently been revamped so that it can also be worn as a tiara.
Princess Irene wore the tiara that she reached for so often in those early years: the Ruby Peacock Tiara. The tiara and the matching jewels from the parure were made in 1897, during the reign of Queen Wilhelmina. Most believe that Queen Wilhelmina gave the tiara directly to Princess Irene for her own personal use. But these days, the parure is back in the Dutch royal vaults, worn by other ladies of the family.
For the reception during the Iranian state visit, Princess Irene also wore other pieces from the peacock parure with the tiara. She wore just the topmost portion of the necklace, with a ruby cluster pendant, as well as the brooch and bracelet from the set. Irene was also known to innovate even further with the suite. On one instance later the same year, she wore another part of the parure as a fascinating ornament placed low across her forehead.