Queen Elisabeth’s Cartier Bandeau Tiara

Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, great-grandmother of King Philippe, was born on this day in 1876. In honour of her birthday, we are featuring her signature Cartier Bandeau Tiara-

Click HERE to learn about the rest of the Belgian Royal Tiaras.

Made in 1910, this platinum and diamond bandeau tiara is the epitome of Cartier’s Garland style. It features scrolls, foliates, and a large central cushion-shaped diamond.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

In 1912, the Cartier tiara was bought by Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, and eventually became her signature tiara. She first wore it on a fabric ‘band’ in the style of the 1910s, before wearing it low on her brow in the style of the 20s, including the wedding of her eldest son to Princess Astrid of Sweden in 1926. Queen Elisabeth continued to wear the tiara into her widowhood, including the Inauguration ball of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and the wedding ball of her grandson, King Baudouin. After her death in 1965, the Cartier Bandeau Tiara was inherited by her eldest son, ex-King Leopold III. Queen Elisabeth was a controversial figure in her later years, known as the ‘Red Queen’ after visiting several communist countries.

The only other person to publicly wear the tiara was Lilian, Princess of Réthy, the controversial second wife of King Leopold, who wore her mother-in-law’s Cartier Bandeau Tiara at the wedding ball of Prince Alois-Konstantin of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg and Princess Anastasia of Prussia in the 1960s. After King Leopold’s death, Princess Lilian sold the tiara back to Cartier, apparently without informing King Baudoin and Queen Fabiola, further shrouding the Tiara in controversy. Nowadays, Queen Elisabeth’s Cartier Bandeau Tiara can be seen at Cartier exhibitions around the world, and is one of it’s most recognizable designs. It is currently on display at a diamond exhibition in Antwerp, until 14 January 2018. (h/t to @GeertJanssens68)

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For more information, check out:

Belgian Royal Tiaras

Queen Elisabeth of Belgium

7 thoughts on “Queen Elisabeth’s Cartier Bandeau Tiara

  1. I forgot to mention in the previous post that Princess Lilian doesn’t have my unqualified sympathies. I think she was a good stepmother, which is very laudable. She treated King Leopold III well and helped him through his personal crises, which is not a small achievement. All that is very good, but she disposed of the Belgian jewelry in a heavy-handed and unilateral manner. She could have established a foundation and left the jewels for the next generation of queens to enjoy. Even if they were legally her personal property, they really weren’t. A lot of it was of historical significance too! Maybe that was her way of “getting back” at the royal family for not acknowledging her proper place and I can understand that. But I think she missed a great opportunity to be remembered as a generous and righteous person. She could have been forever remembered as the one who preserved Belgium’s royal jewels for generations to come instead of the one who sold everything. I’m just saying….:)

  2. I agree, it was certainly a missed opportunity to preserve a beautiful jewel collection for future queens. I wonder if she simply needed the money? The Cartier bandeau is the piece that I regret the most. It would have filled out Mathilde’s sparse jewel box very nicely.

  3. The Cartier bandeau is indeed a beautiful diadem. And you’re right, Queen Mathilde would have looked absolutely lovely in it!

  4. Very good written article. It will be useful to everyone who utilizes it, as well as myself. Keep doing what you are doing – i will definitely read more posts.

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