Happy Birthday to the Countess of Paris, who turns 80 today! Despite being the wife of the Head of House of Orleans, one of the leading pretenders to the former French Throne, the Countess has not publicly worn a Tiara. Instead, we are going to look at the former (and some current) Tiaras which were worn by her mother-in-law and predecessor, and have been dispersed through sale and inheritance.
Originating from the collection of Hortense de Beauharnais, daughter of the famous Empress Josephine, this Sapphire and Diamond Parure was sold to King Louis Philippe, for his wife, Queen Marie Amelie, and was the grandest Parure of the Orleans family throughout their exiles, for over 150 years. A favourite of the late Countess of Paris, the Parure was worn to a variety of important occasions, including the wedding of her children. In 1985, the Parure was sold by her husband to the Louvre.
Queen Marie Amelie also owned a Pearl and Sapphire Parure, which was made by Bapst and was rarely worn by the late Countess. She presented it as a gift to Duchess Marie Therese of Württemberg when she married the current Count of Paris in 1957, but the Tiara remained with the family after their divorce, being sold in the 1990s, when the Countess was pictured with the Parure.
A wedding gift to the late Countess from her husband in 1931, this diamond bracelet tiara was created from heirloom diamonds and could be worn as a bracelet and two brooches. The Countess wore the tiara on her wedding day and throughout her life, frequently loaning it to her daughters and daughters-in-law. After her death, the bracelet portion was inherited by her son, Prince Michel of Orléans, Count of Évreux, and the brooches by her daughter, Princess Diane, Duchess of Württemberg.
A wedding gift to the previous Countess of Paris from the Action Française in 1931, this small sapphire and diamond tiara was also worn by the Countess throughout her life and loaned it to her daughters, daughters-in-law, and granddaughters. The Tiara was inherited by her eldest daughter, Princess Isabelle of Orléans, Countess of Schönborn-Buchheim, in 2003.
A cabochon emerald and diamond floral tiara, the Coty Emerald Tiara was worn by the late Countess of Paris in her later years, and worn by her daughters in the 1950s and 60s. The piece seems to have been broken up, and a pair of earrings and a brooch were worn by her daughter, Princess Chantal, Baroness de Sambucy de Sorgue, in 2009, who bought the tiara from her mother.
A wedding gift to Duchess Marie Therese of Württemberg, now known as the Duchess of Montpensier, from the ‘Restauration Nationale’ in 1957, this Mellerio dits Meller sapphire and diamond necklace was usually worn with the Pearl and Sapphire Tiara, and was most recently seen on the Duchess’ daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Vendome, who is set to be the next Countess of Paris.
This small Diamond Comb Tiara was worn by the sister of the current Count of Paris at their weddings, and is the only major piece inherited by the Count after his mother’s death in 2003. It has not been worn as a Tiara by the Countess, but has been worn as a choker on a ribbon.
Thanks to Arthur from RJWMB for the information!