Today’s Wedding Tiara Wednesday post features a familiar royal tiara worn by the sister of a Queen of Denmark and a former Queen of Greece: Princess Benedikte of Denmark.
On February 3, 1968, Princess Benedikte arrived at the chapel of Fredensborg Palace on the arm of her father, King Frederik IX of Denmark, for her wedding to Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. Richard and Benedikte had known each other since they were children. His mother, a Swedish aristocrat, was a childhood friend of Benedikte’s Swedish royal mother, Queen Ingrid. At Richard’s baptism, Ingrid had served as one of his godparents. Richard had been raised in Sweden with his mother’s family after the early death of his father.
But romance didn’t spark for the couple until March 1966, when they shared a dance during the wedding celebrations for Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus of the Netherlands. The press cheekily reported that the couple had fallen in love “at first waltz.” Their engagement was announced a year later. They waited nearly another year to marry, allowing Benedikte’s elder sister, Crown Princess Margrethe, to have a grand royal wedding first. In February 1968, it was finally their turn. They were married at Fredensborg by Bishop Erik Jensen. Benedikte promised to “love and honor” her new husband during the ceremony.
The bride was radiant in a satin gown made by a Danish designer, Jørgen Bender. He was a popular couturier with the Danish royal family, having previously also made the wedding gowns for Benedikte’s sisters, Crown Princess Margrethe and Queen Anne-Marie. The gown, with a fashionable high-waisted silhouette, had a 20-foot train. The skirt also included panels of heirloom lace that had been inherited from Benedikte’s British-born grandmother, Princess Margaret of Connaught, who later became Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden.
The lace panels weren’t the only reminder of Crown Princess Margareta in Benedikte’s wedding ensemble. The traditional gold bracelet worn by Margareta’s female descendants was visible on Benedikte’s left wrist. Even more significant, though, were the tiara and veil worn by Benedikte, also heirlooms linked to Margareta.
Princess Benedikte became the third family bride to wear the Khedive of Egypt Tiara on her wedding day. The tiara, which dates to 1905, was a wedding gift from the Khedive of Egypt, Abbas II, to Crown Princess Margareta. It was a fitting present, as Margareta had met her groom, the future King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden, while vacationing in Egypt. The tiara features lovely diamond scroll elements and laurel leaf motifs.
Crown Princess Margareta wore the jewel both as a tiara and a corsage ornament during her lifetime. Here, she wears the piece as a traditional tiara in a portrait taken some time after her royal wedding.
Sadly, Crown Princess Margareta died in 1920, at the age of only 38. She left behind a husband and five children, including the future Queen Ingrid of Denmark. Ingrid inherited the tiara from her mother and wore it often, both before and after her marriage to King Frederik IX of Denmark. Above, she wears the tiara (plus the diamond and pearl stomacher that later became the Antique Corsage Tiara) during a state visit to Britain in May 1951. (Behind her, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother wears the original setting of the Greville Tiara and the grand Greville Festoon Necklace.)
During the 1960s, all three of Queen Ingrid’s daughters chose to wear the Khedive of Egypt Tiara on their wedding days, starting a family tradition that has endured for more than half a century. The first royal bride to wear the tiara was Princess Anne-Marie, Ingrid’s youngest daughter, who chose it for her wedding to King Constantine II of the Hellenes in September 1964.
In June 1967, Ingrid’s eldest daughter, Crown Princess Margrethe of Denmark, wore the tiara for her wedding to her French-born beau, Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat.
And in February 1968, Princess Benedikte became the third member of the family to wear the tiara for her royal wedding. Later, both of Benedikte’s daughters would also follow the tradition, wearing the tiara with their wedding gowns.
Like her sisters before her, Benedikte also chose to wear Crown Princess Margareta’s lace wedding veil with her bridal ensemble. Here’s a look at Margareta wearing the veil on her wedding day in 1905. The Irish lace was one of the princess’s wedding presents. The veil is made of Carrickmacross lace, embroidered with lilies, meadowsweet, and shamrocks. For her wedding ceremony, which took place at St. George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle, Margareta wore the lace veil with sprays of orange blossoms rather than a tiara.
Following Benedikte and Richard’s wedding ceremony, a grand dinner was held at Fredensborg Palace. King Frederik IX gave a sentimental speech, sighing, “The two others have gone. Now you are flying from the nest.” Prince Richard also toasted his new wife in both Swedish and German. He charmed the gathering by declaring, “From the first time I saw you, Benedikte, you have represented the princess of my childhood dreams.”
You’ll spot several familiar royal jewels on some of the other guests in this photograph from the dinner. Queen Ingrid wears the Pearl Poiré Tiara and its coordinating jewels. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (one of Benedikte’s godparents) wears jewels from the Greville Bequest—the diamond tiara, the emerald necklace, and the emerald earrings—and Queen Victoria’s Fringe Brooch. Near the bottom of the photo, you’ll spot Crown Princess Margrethe wearing the Alexandrine Diamond Drop Tiara with Queen Alexandrine’s Sapphires. Across the table, Queen Anne-Marie wears the Ruby Olive Wreath Tiara and its coordinating jewels.
Even more recognizable jewels can be spotted in the group photograph from the wedding. I’ll highlight just a few. Princess Sibylla of Sweden, seated beside King Gustaf VI Adolf, wears the Leuchtenberg Sapphires. Three more Swedish princesses are also scattered throughout the photograph: Princess Margaretha (in the Aquamarine Kokoshnik), Princess Désirée (in Queen Louise’s Diamond Tiara), and Princess Christina (in the Connaught Diamond Tiara). And Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, whose wedding provided the backdrop for the bride and groom’s first dance, is visible wearing Queen Emma’s Sapphire Tiara.