In May 2018, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands drew gasps from royal jewelry lovers when she made her debut in one of the most important Dutch royal jewels: the Stuart Tiara.
The tiara debut came in Luxembourg, where the Dutch royals made a state visit to their Luxembourgish counterparts. The two countries used to be ruled together, sort of the way that the UK and Hanover once were. That changed when Queen Wilhelmina ascended to the throne. Back then, women could not be reigning grand duchesses, so the role passed to a cousin, Duke Adolphe of Nassau. Wilhelmina’s descendants still reign in the Netherlands today, and Adolphe’s descendants are still on the grand ducal throne in Luxembourg, too.
For this state banquet, there were tiaras all around. Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg wore the Belgian Scroll Tiara, while Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie wore the Chaumet Choker Tiara. Stephanie’s diamond and sapphire necklace can be worn as a tiara, too.
But it was Maxima who really stole the show here. She wore an elegant gold evening gown with a one-shoulder neckline. The color of the dress was perfectly matched to the sash of her order, the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau.
The occasion was the very first time that Queen Maxima wore a version of the Stuart Tiara in public. But it wasn’t the grand full setting of the tiara, which features the famed Stuart Diamond. Instead, she chose to dip a toe in the tiara waters by wearing a smaller setting of the jewel, without the largest diamonds. At the time of the visit, I wrote: “The result, to my mind, is a much more wearable and balanced tiara, still incredibly sparkly and elaborate but less imposing.” I’d still stand by that statement today. There’s nothing like the full Stuart, but I think this version is actually more elegant in many ways.
Maxima did bring along some of the rest of the tiara in her luggage. The enormous diamond button earrings that she wore for the banquet are also part of the full setting of the tiara. And she secured her order sash using a portion of the large diamond bow brooch from the Stuart Parure—again choosing a more scaled-back version of a very large jewel.
She finished off the look with diamond bracelets on both wrists. It was a whole lot of sparkle overall. And for those who were disappointed that she didn’t wear the full tiara on her first outing in the piece, never fear: she sparkled in the complete Stuart Tiara during the state visit to the United Kingdom later the same year.