Today’s Wedding Tiara Wednesday article is dedicated to a gorgeous diamond bridal diadem from a former German royal family—an apparent copy of one of the family’s grand crown jewels.
On this day in 2003, Duke Carl of Württemberg escorted his youngest daughter, Duchess Fleur, at her wedding to Count Moritz von Goëss. Carl, who died in 2022, was then the head of the House of Württemberg, whose members once reigned as Kings and Queens of Württemberg in the southern part of Germany. Duke Carl was the head of the former royal house from 1975 (fifteen years after he married Princess Diane of Orléans, a daughter of Prince Henri, Count of Paris) until his death.
Duke Carl was a grandson of Württemberg’s last crown prince, Albrecht, who inherited the role on the death of his father in 1917. Württemberg’s last monarch, King Wilhelm II, abdicated a year later. The family had reigned in the kingdom since its creation in 1805, and they were connected in various ways to other royal families that still have thrones today. King Friedrich I was married to Princess Charlotte, the eldest daughter of King George III and Queen Charlotte of the United Kingdom. Queen Sophie of the Netherlands, the first wife of King Willem III, was the daughter of King Wilhelm I of Württemberg. And Queen Mary of the United Kingdom was also a member of the royal family of Württemberg. King Carl I of Württemberg bestowed the title of Duke of Teck on Mary’s father, Francis, in 1871.
One of the most influential and popular royal figures in Württemberg was Queen Pauline, the third wife (and first cousin) of King Wilhelm I. The marriage was a disaster, but Pauline was very popular with the people of the kingdom. This grand portrait of Pauline, painted in 1828, shows her wearing a treasure trove of glittering jewels, including an elaborate diamond tiara. The jewel, known both as the Württemberg Diamond Diadem and as Queen Pauline’s Diamond Tiara, was made for her in 1820 by Württemberg’s court jeweler, August Heinrich Kuhn.
The diamond diadem, which is a closed circlet or coronet, was also later worn for portraits by Queen Charlotte, the wife of King Wilhelm II (and the last Queen of Württemberg).
The jewels that had been made by Kuhn for Queen Pauline in 1820 were considered property of the crown rather than personal jewelry, so they’re still owned by the state today. The diadem (as well as the necklace and earrings worn by Pauline in that portrait) is now on public display in Stuttgart.
If you look closely at the tiara worn by Duchess Fleur on her wedding day in 2003, you’d be forgiven for thinking that she borrowed Queen Pauline’s grand diadem for the ceremony. But the two jewels aren’t the same. The diamond scroll worn by Duchess Fleur isn’t a closed circlet like Pauline’s diadem, and the details of the design have differences as well. It’s apparent to me, though, that the family’s diamond tiara was made as a close copy of Pauline’s original 1820 tiara, a little nod to their royal heritage.
The smaller diamond scroll tiara has also been worn by other members of the family as a bridal diadem. Above, Duchess Sophie of Württemberg—a granddaughter of Duke Carl—wears the tiara for her wedding to Count Maximilian d’Andigne in October 2018. Sophie is a daughter of Carl’s third son, Duke Philipp of Württemberg, and Duchess Marie-Caroline of Bavaria.