We return to our Sparkling Spotlight posts this week with a look at tiaras worn by royal ladies celebrating September birthdays. First up: Queen Paola of Belgium, making a dazzling appearance at a family wedding gala in Luxembourg ten years ago this autumn.
Just a few months before his abdication, King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium were guests at the wedding of their great-nephew, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg, in October 2012. (Guillaume is a grandson of Albert’s sister, Josephine-Charlotte, who was a Belgian princess before her marriage to Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg.) There was another Belgian tie, too: Guillaume’s bride, Countess Stephanie de Lannoy, is a Belgian aristocrat. On the night before the wedding, Albert and Paola attended a glittering gala dinner in the couple’s honor.
For the gala, Queen Paola wore a festive midnight blue gown with ruffled detailing and crystal embellishments, paired with diamonds from her personal jewelry collection.
Her spotlight accessory was Queen Elisabeth’s Art Deco Bandeau. The tiara, as the name suggests, originally belonged to Albert’s grandmother, Queen Elisabeth of Belgium. From here, it passed down to his mother, Queen Astrid. After Astrid’s death, it was gifted by King Leopold III to Paola, who has now owned the jewel for more than half a century. Paola wore the tiara often during her tenure as a princess and then a queen consort, and she has also loaned it to other members of the family—notably, Queen Mathilde and Princess Elisabetta, who both wore it as a wedding tiara. Most recently, it’s been worn by Paola’s daughter, Princess Astrid.
With the tiara, Queen Paola wore a pair of diamond and pearl earrings with a half-moon design. Paola has had these earrings in her jewelry box since the earliest days of her marriage. Jewelry historian Christophe Vachaudez suggests that these earrings may have been given to Paola by Albert’s stepmother, Princess Lilian. Paola wore another all-diamond piece from her collection as well: her modern diamond festoon necklace.
Queen Paola finished off the look with her engagement and wedding rings and gold bracelets on both wrists. I’m especially intrigued by that gold serpent bracelet on her right wrist!