Today, Princess Astrid, the sister of the King of Norway, celebrates her remarkable 92nd birthday. Astrid remains an active part of the Norwegian royal family, attending gala dinners and sporting fabulous tiaras—all of which have links to her bejeweled royal ancestors from generations past.
In honor of Astrid’s birthday, we’re looking back today at the tiaras she’s worn throughout her lifetime, all of which are legacies from her Norwegian, Swedish, and British royal ancestors. Above, Princess Astrid poses for a sparkling official photograph to celebrate her 25th birthday back in 1957. With a diamond bracelet that belonged to her late mother—also worn on one occasion by Astrid as a tiara—and pearls, she’s wearing an interesting suite of yellow gold jewelry studded with semi-precious gemstones.
The tiara, earrings, and brooch were given to Astrid by her maternal grandmother, Princess Ingeborg of Sweden. In an interview with the Norwegian royal jewelry historian Trond Norén Isaksen, Princess Astrid shared that Princess Ingeborg believed that the golden bandeau “was fake” and not a genuine piece of fine jewelry. But that wasn’t the case at all. It turns out that the gold tiara and its accompany jewels are “real” after all. They come from the collection of Princess Pauline of Wurttemberg, the mother of Queen Sofia of Sweden (who was Princess Ingeborg’s mother-in-law). Astrid still owns and occasionally wears the gold bandeau and the matching jewels today.
The early death of Princess Astrid’s mother, Crown Princess Märtha, meant that Astrid was sometimes called upon to serve as Norway’s first lady at important royal events. When King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid of Denmark made a state visit to Norway in February 1960, Astrid filled the role of Norway’s most senior royal lady. Accordingly, she wore some of her mother’s grandest tiaras and jewels for the gala events of the visit.
Above, during a state banquet at the Royal Palace in Oslo, Astrid wears Queen Josefina’s Diamond Tiara. Crown Princess Märtha had inherited the tiara from her uncle, Prince Gustav of Denmark, in 1944. The piece had been passed down from Gustav’s great-grandmother, Queen Josefina of Sweden, who was a granddaughter of Empress Josephine of France. Märtha wore the tiara occasionally in the years before her death in 1954. Today, it’s worn by Queen Sonja.
During the same Danish state visit to Norway in 1960, Princess Astrid also wore another grand tiara that is generally reserved for Norway’s most senior royal lady. The diamond and emerald tiara and its coordinating parure also came to Norway with Crown Princess Märtha. The emeralds are also a legacy from the family of Queen Josefina of Sweden, who inherited them from her sister, Empress Amelie of Brazil. Queen Sofia of Sweden passed them on to her daughter-in-law, Princess Ingeborg.
In a touching moment from royal jewelry history, Princess Ingeborg gave the emeralds to her daughter, Crown Princess Märtha, as she left Scandinavia with her children (including Astrid) for exile in America during World War II. Ingeborg wanted Märtha to be able t0 sell the individual emeralds if times got very tough. Thankfully, it never came to that, and the emeralds returned to Europe with the Norwegian royals at the end of the war. Today, the tiara is also worn by Queen Sonja.
(Also, P.S.: Queen Ingrid, sitting in front of Princess Astrid here, is wearing the Pearl Poiré Tiara and jewels from the coordinating married parure.)
In January 1961, Princess Astrid married businessman (and Olympic medalist) Johan Martin Ferner. Because Ferner was a commoner, Astrid’s title and style changed to Her Highness Princess Astrid, Mrs. Ferner after their marriage. Even so, she has continued to be a central part of the small Norwegian royal family, appearing at royal gala events in support of her father, King Olav V (and later her brother, King Harald V).
Here, just a few months after her wedding, Princess Astrid arrives for a state banquet at the Royal Palace in Oslo on the arm of the guest of honor, the visiting Shah of Iran. She’s wearing her wedding gown (without its lace bodice and sleeves overlay) for the occasion, paired with a special tiara inherited from her mother. This is the Vasa Tiara, Crown Princess Märtha’s 1929 wedding gift from the people of her native Stockholm. The tiara has been in Astrid’s collection for decades, but she has told Trond Norén Isaksen that she intends to have it returned to the Norwegian royal vaults after her death.
Astrid also plans to leave this spectacular diamond and turquoise tiara to the royal family after her eventual passing. The tiara is a spectacular legacy from Astrid’s British royal great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom. Alexandra’s daughter, Queen Maud of Norway, inherited the tiara after Alexandra’s death. When Queen Maud died in 1938, her jewelry was with her in England, and it remained there throughout the war that followed.
Eventually, the jewelry returned to Norway and was divvied up by the present King and his sisters. Astrid received the turquoise tiara and accompanying jewels from her late grandmother’s collection, and she still wears the jewels from time to time today.
The other jewel that Princess Astrid inherited from Queen Maud’s collection was a versatile aigrette that can be worn with two different ornaments. The first is a ruby floral ornament with two ruby and diamond antennae, worn by Astrid above in the late 1990s. The ruby and diamond ornament was one of Maud’s wedding gifts, presented to her by a group of “Lady and Gentlemen Friends” in 1896.
The second ornament is designed to resemble a pair of delicate diamond wings. Here, Astrid pairs the wings with her turquoises and a special royal bracelet for a state dinner in 2017. The bracelet features the badge of the Order of Victoria and Albert, also from the collection of Queen Maud. In 2019, Astrid gave the bracelet to her great-niece, Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway, as a confirmation gift. But the aigrettes will remain with the Ferner family—Astrid told Isaksen that she intends to leave those jewels to her children.