What a night in Norway! The long-awaited birthday gala for Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway was one of the biggest royal events in years—and maybe one of the biggest royal tiara debut occasions ever? Get ready, everyone: it’s tiara time!
The Norwegian royal court kicked the day off with a set of new gala portraits of Princess Ingrid Alexandra wearing a navy gown, her royal orders and decorations, and the Boucheron Pearl Circle Tiara.
Those portraits were just a preview of the splendor to come. Before the royals even arrived for the gala, we were treated to even more new portraits. This one features Ingrid Alexandra surrounded by her grandparents, her parents, and her brothers, all wearing their gala attire for tonight’s event.
The future Queen of Norway was resplendent in the Boucheron Pearl Circle Tiara, pearl drop earrings, the brooch from the Norwegian Amethyst Parure, a diamond bracelet, and rings on both hands (including a large pearl ring on her left hand). Like the tiara, the bracelet previously belonged to Princess Ragnhild. It was returned to Norway after her death and has been given to Ingrid Alexandra by King Harald and Queen Sonja. (That Twitter thread also reveals that they gave her a ring from Queen Sonja’s collection, and that earrings were gifted to Ingrid Alexandra by Princess Elisabeth and the Dutch royals.)
Ingrid Alexandra wore an Alberta Ferretti gown that was previously worn by her mother, Crown Princess Mette-Marit. She also wore the sash and star of the Order of St. Olav, her grandfather’s Royal Family Order, and three small medals (the small Order of St. Olav ribbon and badge, the Royal House Centennial Medal, and King Harald V’s Jubilee Medal 1991-2016.
The royal court offered us lots of information about the Boucheron Pearl Circle Tiara, plus a new photograph of the jewel, to mark the princess’s birthday. In a new article about the jewel, they include comments from Ingrid Alexandra’s great-aunt, Princess Astrid, about the tiara. “It means a great deal to me that the tiara has now been given to Princess Ingrid Alexandra,” Astrid notes. “It is a beautiful tiara made of interlocking diamond circles set in platinum. The button-style diamond and pearl elements are later additions. Grandfather [Prince Carl of Sweden] purchased the tiara for Grandmother [Princess Ingeborg of Sweden] when they were attending the Paris Exposition in 1900.” She added, “Grandfather bought this for my grandmother because it was lighter to wear on important occasions.”
Princess Ingeborg, the tiara’s original owner, wore the jewel for more than half a century. “Grandmother used the tiara often throughout her life. The last time she wore it was at my brother’s celebration of his 21st birthday in 1958,” Astrid explains. Above, the royal family poses at the gala: King Olav V, Princess Ingeborg (in the pearl circle tiara), Princess Astrid (in Queen Josefina’s Diamond Tiara), and King Harald V. Princess Ingeborg sadly died just a few weeks later.
During her lifetime, Ingeborg was very generous in loaning jewels to her daughters and her in-laws. King Harald V’s mother, Crown Princess Märtha of Norway, was pictured wearing Ingeborg’s pearl circle tiara during a visit to America in 1939. “Grandmother let Mother borrow her tiara when Mother and Father travelled to the USA,” Astrid noted.
After Ingeborg’s death in 1958, the tiara was inherited by Princess Ragnhild, sister of King Harald V and Princess Astrid. Ragnhild passed away in 2012, and her children have now carried out her final wish regarding the tiara’s future. “Princess Ragnhild wanted Ingrid Alexandra to have Grandmother’s tiara,” Astrid revealed. The sentimental gift links the family’s past with its present and future. It must have been particularly special for King Harald to see his granddaughter wearing his grandmother’s tiara at tonight’s gala dinner.
The event was Princess Ingrid Alexandra’s tiara debut, but thrillingly, we also saw two more future monarchs wearing tiaras for the first time at the gala. The royal court released this portrait of five future sovereigns at the gala. In the front row: Princess Estelle of Sweden, Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway, and Prince Charles of Luxembourg. Behind them are the Princess of Orange (Princess Amalia of the Netherlands) and the Duchess of Brabant (Princess Elisabeth of Belgium).
When she recently turned 18, Princess Amalia revealed that she is a huge fan of tiaras, so I couldn’t wait to see which sparkler she chose for her tiara debut. She ended up making a rather sentimental choice: the Dutch Star Tiara.
It’s the same tiara that her mother, Queen Máxima, wore for her royal wedding two decades ago.
There’s another historical resonance as well. The base of the star tiara also forms the foundation of the Pearl Button Tiara, the diadem worn by Amalia’s grandmother, Princess Beatrix, for her inauguration in 1980.
Princess Elisabeth surprised us all by wearing a never-before-seen diamond floral tiara for the occasion. Could we finally be seeing a new jewelry addition to the relatively-sparse Belgian royal vaults? I certainly hope so.
There’s some precedent in Belgium for tiara gifts. When Queen Mathilde married King Philippe, for example, she received the Brabant Laurel Wreath Tiara from a group of Belgian aristocrats. That tiara was a newly-acquired antique. I wonder if perhaps the same is true of this piece, which certainly looks to be a nineteenth-century jewel. Perhaps someone, royal or otherwise, gave Elisabeth the tiara during her own 18th birthday celebrations?
I’ve already been tagged in some speculation online that Elisabeth’s tiara could be a reworked version of this jewel, famously worn in a photograph by her ancestor, Queen Elisabeth of Belgium. They’re both diamond floral jewels, but to my eye, they’re not similar enough to be linked.
The “heirs” portrait also featured Princess Estelle of Sweden. She’s still too young for tiaras, but she wore a lovely headband scattered with floral embellishments that match those on her dress. (And, as you’ll see below, they match her mother’s floral dress as well!)
We also got one of those grand, old-fashioned royal group portraits from the gala dinner, offering us a glimpse of all the royal tiaras present in one photograph.
Let’s zoom in on some of the royal tiaras featured, shall we? We’ll start in the center and work clockwise. Here are Princess Ingrid Alexandra with her parents and royal grandparents. Queen Sonja wears the Norwegian emeralds, while Crown Princess Mette-Marit wears the Diamond Daisy Bandeau, plus the same dress and earrings (in a shorter setting) that she wore for Crown Princess Victoria’s pre-wedding gala way back in 2010.
Next, we’ve got the Dutch royal contigent. We’ve already talked about Princess Amalia’s tiara. She’s also wearing a diamond necklace, plus at least one additional diamond star brooch on her order sash. Queen Máxima wore one of the Stuart-less settings of the Stuart Tiara, plus the coordinating necklace from the same parure. And there were more diamonds as well: diamond earrings, plus a section of the grand stomacher from the Stuart Parure pinned at her waist.
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden was elegant in the Boucheron Laurel Wreath Tiara, plus the diamond floral earrings from the Bernadotte collection. Behind her, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Luxembourg wore the Grand Duchess Adelaide Tiara, plus the family’s sapphire and diamond earrings.
In the back row of the photograph, you’ll spot members of the former Greek royal family. Crown Princess Marie-Chantal wore Queen Sophie’s Diamond Tiara. I believe this is only her second time wearing the grand diadem in public. Her daughter, Princess Olympia, wore the Miller Fringe Tiara with diamond earrings and a diamond necklace.
The former Bulgarian royals were in attendance, though none of them wore tiaras. (Two of the princesses, Olimpia and Mafalda-Cecilia, are in the back row here.) In front of them are Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her fiancé, Durek Verrett. Märtha Louise wore King Olav’s Gift Tiara with a set of jewels that I believe are set with tanzanites. She previously wore them at the wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden in 2013.
Princess Astrid, who is still wearing tiaras beautifully at the age of 90, wore important heirloom jewels for the gala. Her tiara is Queen Alexandra’s Turquoise Circlet, an important heirloom that reminds us of the British royal roots of the Norwegian royal family. She paired the tiara with more turquoises from Queen Maud’s collection, plus a lovely diamond bow brooch.
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark wore the Midnight Tiara for the gala, pairing it with diamond earrings and a diamond pendant necklace. (I also spot a major ring on her right hand.) Queen Mathilde of the Belgians chose the Wolfers Tiara for the occasion, wearing it with her diamond ribbon fringe earrings and a diamond necklace and bracelet.
We also saw the royals arriving for the gala, and my photo agency provided us with a few high-quality images of the arrivals. Here, Princess Ingrid Alexandra arrives on the arm of her grandfather, King Harald. Behind them are Crown Prince Haakon and Queen Sonja, followed by Crown Princess Mette-Marit and her sons, Marius and Prince Sverre Magnus.
Here’s King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima arriving for the dinner.
And here’s Queen Mathilde and Princess Elisabeth, followed by Princess Amalia (who is walking with King Felipe of Spain). I’ll update the article if any more hi-res arrival photos become available.
What a truly remarkable evening! With a start like this, I can’t wait to see how Princess Ingrid Alexandra continues to wear royal jewels in the future. It’s an impressive and promising debut!