Princess Fawzia’s Van Cleef & Arpels Tiara

Today marks the 5th Death Anniversary of Princess Fawzia of Egypt, the stunning Princess who was the first Queen of the Shah of Iran and the oldest member of the deposed Muhammad Ali Dynasty residing in Egypt. To mark the anniversary, we are taking a look at her glittering Van Cleef & Arpels Tiara.

Commissioned by the Egyptian Royal Family ahead of the wedding of Princess Fawzia of Egypt and Crown Prince Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran in 1939, the glittering Van Cleef & Arpels piece features 54 pear-shaped diamonds and 530 baguette diamonds, as well as an elaborate necklace and two pairs of earrings completing the suite.

The stunning Princess Fawzia first wore her glittering Van Cleef & Arpels Tiara during her lavish wedding festivities in Cairo and Tehran in 1939, hosted by her brother, King Farouk, and father-in-law, Shah Reza Pahlavi.

A couple of years later, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi acceded to the Throne, and this glittering piece was the main tiara of the new Queen Fawzia, who notably wore it for a striking portrait. However, the marriage did not last and due to depression and health problems, she returned to Egypt in 1945, with the divorce finalizing in 1948. The Van Cleef & Arpels Tiara returned with her.

Upon her return to Egypt, the demoted Princess Fawzia was one the leading ladies of the Egyptian Court, acting as First Lady after the divorce of her brother and the banishment of her mother, even after her remarriage to a commoner. She continued to don her spectacular Tiara for grand occasions. After the Egyptian monarchy was deposed in 1953, as personal property the Van Cleef & Arpels Tiara was retained by Princess Fawzia, unlike many other royal jewels which were confiscated by the State. She was pictured in parts of the parure at a variety of society events for decades until she passed away in 2013. The Tiara was probably inherited by her three children.

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