The Norwegian Royal Family will be hosting President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson of Iceland next week. The programme includes a glittering State Banquet at the Royal Palace of Oslo on the evening of the 21st. In honour of the occasion, and upcoming Norwegian Gala events, we are featuring all the glittering Royal Tiaras worn by the Queen Sonja, Crown Princess Mette Marit, and Princess Astrid. Ranging from Tiaras that are 200 years old to one not yet 20 years old, the Norwegian Royal Tiaras provide a wonderful snapshot of Norway’s history and its close links with its neighbors.
Norwegian Emerald Parure Tiara
Thought to have originated from Empress Joséphine, first wife of Napoléon, the Emerald Parure, composed of the tiara, necklace, earrings, and two brooches was made by the Famed French jeweler Bapst. Going to her granddaughter, Queen Josephine of Sweden and Norway, the tiara was worn by her daughter-in-law and successor, Queen Sofia. In 1911, the parure was lent to Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden, Queen Sofia’s granddaughter-in-law, for the coronation of her cousin, King George V in London. However, at her death in 1913, Queen Sofia left the Emerald Parure to her third daughter-in-law, Princess Ingeborg, who wore it for many grand events in the 1920s and 30s. In 1937, she loaned the parure to her daughter, who had become Crown Princess Martha of Norway, for the Coronation of King George VI in London. During WWII, while Crown Princess Martha had fled to Sweden, to escape the Nazi’s, on the the way to the US, Princess Ingeborg gave her daughter the parure, and told her to “sell the valuable heirloom jewels if her family faces a financial crisis in the midst of war.“Needless to say, the parure returned with the Crown Princess to Norway after the war, and became the grandest tiara in the collection. The parure was worn at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, and Crown Princess Martha wore it for most royal events till her death of cancer in 1954. Her younger daughter, Princess Astrid, took over the role of de-facto first lady, and wore the Emerald Parure as hostess -first for her grandfather, and then father. After the marriage of then Crown Prince Harald in 1968, Crown Princess Sonja becomes the sole wearer of the piece, as the first lady of Norway, long before King Harald’s accession to the throne in 1991. The Emerald Parure remains the grandest jewel in the collection, and Queen Sonja only wears it for the most important events.
Queen Josefina’s Diamond Tiara
The second grandest tiara in the collection, Queen Josefina’s Diamond Tiara is composed of floral motifs and laurel wreaths depicted in diamonds and mounted in gold and silver. It was depicted on Queen Josephine of Sweden and Norway in 1849, and might have been worn at her wedding in 1823. In 1876, the Diamond Tiara was left to her granddaughter, who became Queen Louise of Denmark. Queen Louise left it to her unmarried son, Prince Gustav, who loaned it to his sister, Princess Thyra, and niece, Crown Princess Martha of Norway, eventually leaving it to her in 1944. Queen Josefina’s Diamond Tiara was also worn by Princess Astrid, but since 1968 has been worn exclusively (albeit rarely) by Queen Sonja, who uses it for ‘lesser’ grand events and used it return banquets, which are rare these days.
Queen Maud’s Pearl Tiara
Made by Garrards in 1896, this pearl and diamond tiara which can be worn in a small and large setting, was a gift from King Edward VII & Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom to their daughter, Princess Maud, when she married Prince Carl of Denmark, and made its was over to Norway when Carl and Maud were made King Haakon VII and Queen Maud of Norway. Taken by Queen Maud to the UK on a private trip in 1938, to be cleaned with the rest of her jewels, the pearl tiara was left in storage in Windsor Castle for years, after she unexpectedly died. The jewels weren’t retrieved until 1953, when her son and daughter-in-law were in London for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. However, the jewels were not divided up until the marriage of then Crown Prince Harald in 1968, and so tiara went unworn until then Crown Princess Sonja wore it soon after her marriage. However, in 1995, Queen Maud’s Pearl Tiara was stolen during a burglary at the crown jeweller Garrard’s in London, where it had been sent for maintenance. While the original was never found, a replica was made and loaned to Princess Martha Louise for her wedding in 2002, and to Crown Princess Mette Marit for the wedding of the Crown Princess of Sweden in 2010, who both wore the smaller setting. Even as a replica, Queen Maud’s Pearl Tiara is Queen Sonja’s favourite tiara, worn at four out of her five gala events last year.
Diamond Daisy Bandeau
Made in 1910, the Diamond Daisy Bandeau is thought to have been worn by Cate Blanchett in An Ideal Husband in 1999, before it was given as a wedding gift by King harald and Queen Sonja to their daughter-in-law in 2001. Crown Princess Mette Marit first wore the tiara at her 2001 wedding, and it has become her most worn tiara, even after she was given access to others. The Diamond Daisy Bandeau is often worn at State Banquets and in Official Portraits.
Maltese Circlet Tiara
Made by Garrards for Queen Alexandra of the UK in 1910, as a grand Crown to be worn in her widowhood, the Maltese Circlet Tiara had diamond fleurs-de-lys and Maltese crosses on top of the diamond base. It was bequeathed to Queen Maud, who had the fleurs-de-lys removed, and who wore it at the Coronation of her nephew, King George VI, in 1937. Along with the rest of her jewels, it remained unworn until then Crown Princess Sonja wore the Maltese Circlet Tiara after her wedding in 1968. Never a favorite, Queen Sonja has rarely worn the piece, favouring only the diamond base, which was lent to Princess Martha Louise in the 1990s.
Amethyst Necklace Tiara
Made in the 1990s, the Amethyst Necklace Tiara and parure was a gift from King Harald to Queen Sonja. Worn by her at a few royal events, most notably as a necklace at her son’s pre-wedding ball in 2002, the Amethyst Necklace Tiara and parure were given to Crown Princess Mette Marit after the birth of her first child, Princess Ingrid Alexandra in 2004. Since it has a very convertible parure, (including earrings, bracelets which can form a necklace, and a brooch that can be worn as a pendant), the Amethyst Necklace Tiara, despite not being her most worn tiara, is frequently worn. In 2010, the Tiara and parure were loaned to Princess Martha Louise for the wedding of the wedding of the Crown Princess of Sweden.
Believed to have been an 18th Birthday Gift to Queen Maud from her grandmother, Queen Victoria, the tiny Vifte (Fan) Tiara was discovered to have been a wedding gift from Alfred, Leopold, and Marie de Rothschild. Queen Maud was pictured in the piece only one, at Queen Victoria’s 1901 funeral, and the Vifte Tiara remained unworn until the 1960s and 70s, when then Crown Princess Sonja wore the piece a couple of times, at ‘less formal’ royal events. In recent years, the Vifte Tiara has been loaned to Crown Princess Mette Marit , who has worn it as a necklace.
Queen Alexandra’s Turquoise Circlet
Originating from Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom, the Turquoise Circlet Tiara was left to Queen Maud, who wore it at the the pre-wedding of her only son, future King Olav V, in 1929. While the Pearl Tiara, Maltese Circlet, and Vifte Tiara went to King Harald and Queen Sonja, the Turquoise Circlet Tiara was inherited by Princess Astrid in 1968, when her grandmother’s jewels were divided between the three children of King Olav. This is Princess Astrid’s grandest Tiara, and worn for important occasions along with turquoise jewels that were a wedding gift to Queen Maud. Just earlier this year, Princess Astrid wore it in an official portrait released to mark her 85th Birthday.
Modern Gold Tiara
Given as a 60th Birthday gift to Queen Sonja from King Harald, the Modern Gold Tiara has interchangeable centres and can be worn with diamonds, orange topaz, or green tourmaline. Each centre stone has a separate accompanying parure.
A wedding gift to Princess Martha of Sweden when she married Crown Prince Olav of Norway in 1929, from the City of Stockholm, the Vasa Tiara features the heraldic symbol of the Vasa family who ruled Sweden from 1523 to 1654. One of Crown Princess Martha’s most worn tiaras in the 1930s, it was loaned to both her daughters in the 40s and 50s, but was eventually left to Princess Astrid. One of her most worn Tiaras, the Vasa Tiara, along with Queen Alexandra’s Turquoise Circlet will eventually pass back into the main line of the Norwegian Royal family.
Queen Maud’s Diamond Tiara
A Wedding gift to Queen maud in 1896, from “Lady and Gentlemen Friends”, this large large piece, featuring an intricate design on a base of collets between two rows of diamonds with diamond uprights, interchangeable with turquoises, on top, was worn by Queen Maud at the 1902 Coronation of her father, King Edward VII. It eventually passed to Princess Ragnhild, elder sister of King Harald and Princess Astrid, who unlike her siblings wasn’t an active member of the royal family, but instead lived in Brazil with her husband. However, she wore the Tiara at family events, and upon her death in 2012, Queen maud’s Diamond Tiara passed back to the main line of the Norwegian Royal family. It remains unworn.