Today, the people of Belgium celebrate their National Day, so it seems like the perfect time to marvel at a sparkling survey of the royal family’s tiaras!
The grandest and most important diadem in the Belgian royal collection is undoubtedly the Nine Provinces Tiara. Made in 1926 by Van Bever, the tiara was given to Queen Astrid as a wedding gift by the Belgian people. The piece can be worn in a variety of configurations and is even wearable as a necklace. Queen Mathilde is the current wearer of the tiara, and she’s pictured here in the full jewel at the 75th birthday celebrations for Queen Margrethe II of Denmark in April 2015.
Queen Mathilde’s second major tiara, the Brabant Laurel Wreath Tiara, belongs to her personally. The jewel was presented to her as a wedding gift in 1999 by a group of Belgian aristocrats. But it’s much older than that: it’s an antique diamond tiara, made in 1912 by Hennel and Sons. It’s also convertible and can be worn as a necklace (as you’ll see below!). She’s wearing the tiara here at the princely wedding reception in Monaco in July 2011.
Queen Mathilde is also the present wearer of a fantastic little sparkling jewel, the Wolfers Tiara, that comes from the collection of the late Queen Fabiola. She received the convertible necklace/tiara as a wedding gift on behalf of the diamond industry of Antwerp in 1960. More than 200 diamonds are packed into the petite piece, which Mathilde has worn in both its tiara and necklace configurations. She wears it here during an official visit to Poland in October 2015.
Queen Paola of Belgium is the owner of another fantastic Belgian royal heirloom, Queen Elisabeth’s Art Deco Bandeau. That geometric sparkler, likely made in the early decades of the 20th century, originally belonged to Queen Elisabeth of Belgium. Queen Paola received the tiara from her father-in-law, King Leopold III, and it’s been her go-to jewel for more than six decades. Above, she wears it during the celebrations of the royal wedding in Luxembourg in October 2012. Today, though, she loans it to other family members. It’s been worn by Queen Mathilde, Princess Astrid, and Princess Elisabetta.
It’s a little tough to see here, but Queen Paola also sometimes wore one of her diamond necklaces as a small tiara, especially in the 1960s. The piece is a delicate Y-shaped necklace of diamonds, which has a pointed peak when worn in tiara form. Queen Paola wears the tiara setting here at a royal reception in October 1967.
The future Queen of the Belgians, the Duchess of Brabant, debuted a brand-new tiara at a gala in Norway this June. Princess Elisabeth’s Diamond Tiara is an antique jewel that was purchased for her by her parents, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, as an 18th birthday present. Some have guessed that it may be a diamond tiara that originally belonged to a British aristocratic family (or an identical piece from the same jewelry firm).
King Philippe’s sister, Princess Astrid, frequently wears a tiara that her husband, Prince Lorenz, inherited from his family. The Savoy-Aosta Tiara is a diamond floral sparkler that was probably made for Princess Anne, Duchess of Aosta. Lorenz inherited the tiara through his mother, Archduchess Margherita of Austria-Este. Princess Astrid wears the tiara here in Brussels in October 2005.
Princess Claire, King Philippe’s sister-in-law, has a pair of tiaras in her jewelry collection. This small diamond sparkler is her wedding tiara. The jewel was her wedding gift in 2003 from her new parents-in-law, King Albert II and Queen Paola. Here, she wears the tiara during a banquet in honor of the President of Portugal in October 2005.
Princess Claire also often wears a diamond and pearl tiara, which has a touch of Art Deco style in its design. You’ll also spot fleur-de-lis elements in the piece. She wears the jewel here at the princely wedding reception in Monaco in July 2011.
There are also a few tiara mysteries lingering in Belgium. Many are hoping that the Spanish Wedding Gift Tiara, Queen Fabiola’s 1960 wedding present from Francisco and Carmen Franco, is still in the royal vaults today. The convertible jewel can be worn in coronet, wreath, and necklace settings, and various colorful gems can be placed in the center of each leaf element. She wears the tiara here in its coronet form in 1963. It hasn’t been seen in public since Fabiola’s death in 2014.
And then there’s the mystery of the Stockholm Tiara. The modern diamond and pearl jewel was Queen Astrid’s wedding present from the people of Stockholm in 1926. Above, she wears the tiara at the Vatican in January 1930. Its whereabouts remain unknown.