Happy Birthday to the Duke of Alba, who turns 70 today! The Head of the five centuries-old House of Alba, the Duke is the eldest son of the late 18th Duchess of Alba, who was the most titled aristocrat in the world. To mark the Duke’s Birthday, ahead of the wedding of his Heir later this week, we are taking a look at the Duchess of Alba’s Tiaras-
A Spanish Ducal Coronet, this Emerald and Diamond Piece features eight strawberry leafs on a pearl and diamond base, which has been in the family since the mid 19th century, and was worn by 16th and 17th Duchesses of Alba before appearing on the infamous 18th Duchess, who wore the piece frequently throughout her life, for Portraits, Balls, and Weddings.
Originating from Empress Eugenie of France, a sister of a previous Duchess of Alba, the Pearl and Diamond Tiara features poiré pearls atop seven diamond loops fashioned in the shape of laurels, alternated with floral spikes. The piece was worn by the 18th Duchess at her first wedding in 1947, and at a couple of grand events, including the Imperial Ball in New York in 1959. In 1998, Empress Eugénie’s Pearl Tiara was worn by the Duchess’ only daughter, Eugenia, the 12th Duchess of Montoro at her wedding to Bullfighter Francisco Rivera Ordóñez. The Tiara now belongs to the Duchess of Montoro.
The Duchess of Alba owned a Diamond Kokoshnik Tiara, known as ‘La Rusa’, which she inherited from her maternal grandmother, the Duchess of Híjar and Aliaga, which she claimed came from Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia. The piece was worn by brides that married into the family, including a reluctant Princess María of Hohenlohe-Langenburg when she married the Duchess’ second son, the Duke of Hijar, in 1977, and by Matilde Solís when she married the current Duke of Alba. Later, the Tiara was sold by the Duchess to buy a horse for her son, the Duke of Arjona, and despite appearing for sale in recent years, has not been reacquired by the family.