Given to a German Princess when she married the Crown Prince of Greece, this impressive diamond tiara was a favourite of her great-niece/daughter-in-law, Queen Frederica of Greece, and after remaining hidden for decades, it made a surprise reappearance on the current Greek Crown Princess!
Given as a wedding gift to Princess Sophia of Prussia when she married Crown Prince George of Greece in 1889, from a member of her family, probably her mother, Empress Frederick, or brother, Kaiser Wilhelm II, this tiara features large diamonds set in an ornate scroll and floral design. Though she also wore an Antique Diamond Tiara and her Diamond Circle Tiara, this was Crown Princess Sophie’s signature Tiara, worn for almost all events and portraits even after becoming Queen in 1913.
The King and Queen had six children; all three sons became King of Greece, a daughter became Queen Mother of Romania, and another was the Duchess of Aosta. Queen Sophie managed to retain her Tiara during frequent periods in exile, and on her death in 1932, it was inherited by her surviving sons, King George II and Crown Prince Paul.
In 1934, the King and Crown Prince loaned the tiara to their sister, Queen Helen of Romania for a series of official portraits. Queen Helen was the divorced wife of King Carol II of Romania, and mother of King Michael, the last King of Romania. She was always close to her brothers, with their families supporting each other during their periods of exile for most of the 20th century.
In 1938, Crown Prince Paul married Princess Frederica of Hanover and gave his mother’s Tiara to his bride as a wedding gift. Crown Princess Frederica wore the impressive tiara at their wedding in 1938, and wore it for a series of portraits as Crown Princess, holding on to the Tiara through another exile, during the Second World War.
After their return to Greece, Queen Sophia’s Tiara was worn for King Paul’s Accession Portraits in 1947, the Wedding Ball of Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover and Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg in 1951 and a Charity Ball in Athens in 1952, remaining Queen Frederica’s primary Tiara until the mid-1950s.
Like it had for her mother-in-law, the Tiara became Queen Frederica’s signature piece, famously perched on her bouffant in the 1950s and 60s, and she wore it at a variety of events like a State Visit to Yugoslavia in 1955, a State Visit to Ethiopia in 1959, a visit to the Vatican in 1959, and King Paul’s 60th Birthday Banquet at the Royal Palace of Athens in 1961, and the Greek Banquet at Claridge’s Hotel in 1963, often with the Greek Emerald Parure Tiara as a Necklace or her Pearl and Diamond Necklace.
In 1963, Queen Frederica loaned Queen Sophie’s Diamond Tiara to Queen Ingrid of Denmark, for the Greek Monarchy Centenary Gala at the Royal Palace of Athens in 1963, when Queen Ingrid’s Pearl Poire Tiara was discovered to have been left in Copenhagen, and Queen Frederica had to loan her her Tiara.
While Queen Frederica gave her other grand tiaras to Princess Anne Marie of Denmark, the daughter of Queen Ingrid, when she married her only son, King Constantine in 1964, Queen Frederica retained Queen Sophie’s Diamond Tiara for herself, wearing it often in her widowhood, including the Wedding Ball of King Constantine and Princess Anne Marie at the Royal Palace of Athens in 1964, for a Gala at the Teatro Real in Madrid in 1966, and the Wedding Ball of the Margrave of Baden and Archduchess Valerie of Austria in 1966. After the Greek Royal family were exiled in 1967, Queen Frederica, and her tiara, went to live with her daughter, Queen Sofia of Spain, in Madrid, dying there in 1981. Queen Sophie’s Diamond Tiara wasn’t publicly worn after the 1960s, and many thought it had been sold by King Constantine during their exile.
In 2012, at Queen Margrethe’s Ruby Jubilee Banquet in Copenhagen, Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, wife of Queen Frederica’s grandson, Crown Prince Pavlos, surprised many by wearing Queen Sophie’s Diamond Tiara along with Queen Frederica’s Diamond Clip Brooches and her JAR Earrings. The appearance posed a few questions, but ultimately, most people were just happy to see the tiara worn again. Hopefully we will see the tiara worn again before too long!
UPDATE: Crown Princess Marie-Chantal wore Queen Sophie’s Diamond Tiara for Princess Ingrid Alexandra’s 18th Birthday Banquet at the Royal Palace of Oslo in 2022.