On this day in 1844, King Oscar I inherited the thrones of Sweden and Norway. His wife, Queen Josefina, brought some of the greatest royal tiaras in history to the Swedish royal collection when he ascended to the throne. Today, we’ve got a look at five of the tiaras that Queen Josefina introduced to Scandinavia, plus a look at the way each jewel is worn today.
Queen Josefina was born Princess Joséphine of Leuchtenberg, a granddaughter of the King of Bavaria and of Empress Joséphine of France. This tiara, which could originally also be worn with pearl toppers, was originally a gift from Empress Joséphine to her daughter-in-law, Princess Augusta, Duchess of Leuchtenberg. Augusta passed them to her daughter, Queen Josefina, and they’ve been in the Swedish vaults ever since.
In 1930, Queen Victoria of Sweden bequeathed them to the family jewel foundation, which means they cannot be sold. Today, they’re typically worn by the most senior woman in the royal family: presently, that’s Queen Silvia. She wears them above for the Nobel Prize banquet in 2012. The flexible diadem has been one of her favorite jewels throughout her decades as Sweden’s queen consort.
One of the grandest and most intricate tiaras in the Norwegian royal vaults today, this early nineteenth-century sparkler also originally belonged to Queen Josefina of Sweden. The tiara took an interesting path to Norway: Queen Josefina left it to her granddaughter, Queen Lovisa of Denmark, who willed it to her son, Prince Gustav of Denmark.
In turn, he bequeathed the tiara to his niece, Crown Princess Märtha of Norway. It’s been part of the Norwegian royal collection ever since. Today, it is used exclusively by Queen Sonja of Norway, who wears it above for a dinner in Lisbon in 2008.
This unusual royal tiara is made of pearls, gold, and intricately-carved cameos. It was a gift from Napoleon Bonaparte to his Empress Joséphine, and from her, it was passed down to her granddaughter, Queen Josefina of Sweden. It has been passed through the generations of the Swedish royal family, and now it belongs personally to King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.
In the twentieth century, the piece became a bridal crown for the Bernadottes, appearing on four Swedish royal brides since the 1960s. When Crown Princess Victoria (pictured above) walked down the aisle wearing the tiara in 2010, her mother, Queen Silvia, said that she focused on only two things: “the beauty of the tiara and her happiness.”
This diamond and emerald tiara also comes from the Leuchtenberg family. It was handed down from Princess Augusta, Duchess of Leuchtenberg, to her daughter, Empress Amélie of Brazil. She bequeathed the set to her sister, Queen Josefina of Sweden, who left them to her daughter-in-law, Queen Sofia of Sweden. (Sofia is the one wearing the tiara in the portrait above.)
In 1913, Sofia passed the emeralds down to her own daughter-in-law, Princess Ingeborg of Sweden. She gave them to her daughter, Crown Princess Märtha 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 of the Norwegian royal family today, worn exuberantly by Queen Sonja of Norway. Above, she wears them for the Ruby Jubilee celebrations in Denmark in 2012.
Also known as the Brazilian Tiara, this grand diadem was originally made in France using diamonds that belonged to the Brazilian imperial family. It was originally worn by Princess Amélie of Leuchtenberg, the second wife of Emperor Pedro I of Brazil. In 1873, it arrived in Stockholm when Empress Amélie bequeathed it to her sister, Queen Josefina of Sweden. In the portrait above, it’s worn by Josefina’s daughter-in-law, Queen Sofia of Sweden.
The tiara is still in the Swedish royal collection today, and many consider it to be the most important royal diadem in the Bernadotte vaults. Queen Silvia of Sweden, who is half Brazilian, selected this tiara for her first formal portrait as queen. Above, she wears the tiara at the wedding of her daughter, Crown Princess Victoria, in 2010.