Today, our Sparkling Spotlight shines on a rare appearance from an antique Norwegian royal tiara: Queen Maud’s Vifte Tiara.
In May 2017, royals from around Europe gathered in Oslo to celebrate the 80th birthdays of King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway. On the first evening of the celebrations, a grand gala dinner was held at the Royal Palace, and the royals made a balcony appearance to greet well-wishers who had gathered outside. Here, several members of the Norwegian royal family greet the public: Queen Sonja, Emma Behn, King Harald, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Crown Prince Haakon, and Princess Märtha Louise.
Here, Crown Princess Mette-Marit is escorted into dinner by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. For the dinner, Mette-Marit wore a 1960s-inspired evening gown with embroidered floral trim. She also wore her Norwegian royal decorations: the sash and star of the Order of St. Olav, plus her father-in-law’s Royal Family Order.
With the gown, Mette-Marit wore diamond and pearl jewelry: her convertible diamond and pearl drop earrings, plus Queen Maud’s Vifte Tiara. The word “vifte” means “fan” in Norwegian, a reflection of the tiara’s shape.
The tiara arrived in Maud’s jewelry box long before her husband was unexpectedly elected King of Norway. For many years, it was argued that the tiara was a gift from her grandmother, Queen Victoria. Jewelry historian Vincent Meylan, however, has pointed out that the piece is likely the small floral tiara given to Maud as a wedding present by members of the Rothschild family (who were good friends of her father, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom).
Queen Sonja wore the Vifte Tiara occasionally in the early years of her marriage, but in 2001, the jewel was passed along to her new daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Mette-Marit. For a dinner held on the eve of her royal wedding that August, Mette-Marit wore the jewel in its necklace form, pairing it with Crown Princess Märtha’s Silver Wedding Earrings.
Mette-Marit wore the jewel for the first time as a tiara for that May 2017 gala dinner. Instead of placing it near her forehead, as both Queen Maud and Queen Sonja had done, she used the small tiara more like a hair comb, nestling it near the back of her head. I really liked the halo effect this positioning provided, allowing the largest diamonds from the piece to peek out over the top of Mette-Marit’s blond hair.