Empress Zita’s Diamond Tiara

This diamond tiara belonged to Empress Zita, who was the last Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary. Her husband ruled for two years before abdicating at the end of WWI. While most of the Austrian Royal jewels were sold, the Hapsburg family managed to hold on to this tiara until the late 1950s.

Empress Zita’s Diamond Tiara made by Köchert in 1911 was a wedding gift to Princess Zita of Bourbon Parma from Emperor Franz Joseph I, when she married his nephew and eventual heir, Archduke Karl of Austria. The Diadem is made of diamonds motif, composed of five heart connected by volutes and leaves fixed on a bandeau.

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Empress Zita wore the Tiara on her wedding day in 1911, for an official portrait, and with only the bandeau base. After becoming Empress in 1916 during WWI, and being exiled in 1918, Zita had little chance to wear the tiara. She became a young widow in 1922, and lived a long life, eventually dying in the 1980s. She never wore her wedding tiara in exile.
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In 1951, the Tiara was worn by Princess Regina of Saxe-Meiningen when she married Archduke Otto von Habsburg, eldest son of Empress Zita. Later, she also wore it to the pre-wedding events of her brother-in-law to Princess Margherita of Savoia-Aosta. The tiara hasn’t been seen since, and when Regina and Otto’s son, Karl, got married in the 90s, it was assumed the the tiara had been sold because the bride wore a smaller bandeau.   Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 12.06.24 PM

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