Our sparkling review of some of my favorite royal jewelry moments from 2022 begins today with a quick rundown of the first five entries in the countdown, including the return of the bejeweled Nobels, a pair of royal wedding tiaras, and poignant jewelry debut moments!
Princess Maria Laura of Belgium, niece of King Philippe and granddaughter of King Albert II, married her fiancé, William Isvy, in a pair of glittering ceremonies in Brussels in September. Maria Laura is a descendant of royals through both of her parents, with Belgian, Swedish, Austrian, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and French royal heritage in her family tree. Her bridal diadem, the Savoy-Aosta Tiara, comes from her paternal grandmother’s family. She paired it with an antique lace veil loaned to her by her maternal grandmother, Queen Paola.
In June, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge traveled to Cambridgeshire for the official unveiling of a new joint portrait. The picture, painted by artist Jamie Coreth, was commissioned by the Cambridgeshire Royal Portrait Fund. In the painting, Catherine wore a major royal heirloom for the first time: the Duchess of Cambridge’s Pearl Pendant Brooch. The jewel originally belonged to Princess Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge, who was a daughter-in-law of King George III. She was also the maternal grandmother of Queen Mary, who inherited the brooch and passed it along to Queen Elizabeth II. The jewel represented one of the most significant brooch loans from Elizabeth II to Kate, who also wore pearl earrings and a pearl bracelet that belonged to the late Diana, Princess of Wales in the portrait.
This story was a particularly pleasant surprise in the spring of 2022! Prince Gustav of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, nephew of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, married his long-time girlfriend, Carina Axelsson, after years of waiting. The two finally wed after the resolution of extensive (read: generational) legal wrangling over the family estate. With his title and lands firmly in his own grasp, Gustav was at last able to marry the woman of his own choosing. Rather than borrowing one of the grand family tiaras for her wedding, however, Carina chose the diamond spike tiara she’s been wearing exclusively for years—still very much her own woman now that she’s also a princess.
Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom in September, the Windsors wore lots of beautiful pearls for ceremonies of somber remembrance and tribute to the late monarch. Among the pearls on display, delightfully, were some that had belonged to the late Queen herself. We saw the new Princess of Wales wear one of the late Queen’s three-stranded pearl necklaces for the first time during a lunch held for governors-general of the Commonwealth nations at Buckingham Palace. Catherine also wore the Queen’s Japanese Pearl Choker Necklace and Bracelet—both longer-standing loans—for the monarch’s state funeral. And I’m among those who feel fairly certain that the Princess Royal has also been sporting a three-stranded pearl necklace that belonged to her late mother, though the palace has yet to confirm that provenance.
It’s been a particularly bejeweled year at the royal court in Stockholm, with lots of tiaras on display for the senior royal ladies of the Bernadotte family. We rounded up the impressive roster here, even before the return of the formal Nobel Prize ceremony and banquet in December. That event (as well as the King’s Dinner) brought us multiple tiaras for Silvia, Victoria, Sofia, and Christina, including a brand-new set of blue topaz toppers for Princess Sofia’s delicate Diamond Palmette Tiara. It’s just so good to see the major jewels coming out to play again!
We’ll return tomorrow with the #5 spot in our bejeweled countdown, which will continue for the rest of the week!