Happy Birthday to Queen Paola of Belgium, who turns 80 today! As the daughter of Italian aristocrats and the Princess and later Queen of Belgium, she has attended a plethora of grand events in the last 60 years. In honour of her 80th Birthday, we are featuring her Tiaras-
Queen Elisabeth’s Diamond Bandeau
Made for Queen Elisabeth in the 1920s, this tiara was given to Queen Astrid to mark the birth of her third child in 1934. After her death, it was worn by her husband’s second wife, Princess Lilian, in the 1950s and given to Dona Paola Ruffo di Calabria when she married the aforementioned third child, Prince Albert of Belgium, in 1959. Queen Elisabeth’s Diamond Bandeau was Princess Paola’s most worn (and only) tiara. Even after becoming Queen in 1993, she continued to wear it for all but the grandest events. In 1999, she lent it to her daughter-in-law, now Queen Mathilde, to wear at her wedding. In 2014, it was loaned to Elisabetta Rosboch von Wolkenstein when she married her grandson, and in 2016, Queen Paola loaned the Diamond Bandeau to her only daughter, Princess Astrid, for the first time.
Nine Provinces Tiara
The Nine Provinces Tiara is the grandest Tiara of the Belgian Royal collection, passed from Queen to Queen. Composed of a meander bandeau base topped with eleven large diamonds representing the nine provinces of Belgium and its former colony of Congo, the large diamonds are topped with arches. Made for Princess Astrid of Sweden when she married Crown Prince Leopold of Belgium in 1926, the tiara was worn for most tiara appearances until her tragic death in a car crash in 1935. The bandeau base was worn by Princess Lilian, the second wife of King Leopold, but the full version remained unworn until Fabiola de Mora y Aragó wore it when she married King Baudouin, eldest son of Astrid and Leopold, in 1960. In 1993, the Nine Provinces Tiara was passed down to Queen Paola, who also wore it as a choker, and in 2013, it was given to Queen Mathilde.
Diamond Necklace Tiara
Either a wedding gift in 1959, or given on the birth of her first child the following year, this diamond necklace, of modern design, was worn by the then Princess Paola as a tiara multiple times in the 1960s, when she lacked a smaller tiara option. The piece has been worn as a necklace multiple times in the decades since, often with one of the grander tiaras at her disposal.
Gold Filigree Tiara
In 1962, then Princess Paola wore a good filigree ‘tiara’ at the dinner of the Bal Des Petits Lits Blancs aboard the Liner ‘France’, in Le Havre, France. The piece was most likely a converted choker and hasn’t been seen again.