Today marks the Anniversary of the Birth of Queen Elisabeth of Greece, a Romanian Princess was a short-lived Greek Queen Consort. To mark the occasion, we are taking a look at her mother’s Cartier Pearl Tiara, which was regularly worn by Queen Elisabeth.
During the First World War, Queen Marie of Romania, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, sent all of her jewellery to Russia for safekeeping, which was later seized by the Bolsheviks and has yet to be returned. In compensation, her husband, King Ferdinand, allowed her to acquire several pieces of jewellery to replenish her collection, including the Vladimir Sapphire Kokoshnik and her Diamond Sautoir with a 478.68 carat Sapphire, but this lesser-known Cartier Pearl and Diamond Tiara, which features pear-shaped pearls suspended from arches, was actually an inheritance from her mother, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna, who died in 1920, and was transformed by Cartier.
While not a favourite like the Vladimir Sapphire Kokoshnik, the Cartier Pearl Tiara was frequently worn by Queen Marie, including in portraits, her 1926 Tour of the United States, and her daughter, Princess Ileana’s Wedding Ball in 1930, often complemented by strings of pearls.
Queen Marie loaned the Cartier Pearl and Diamond Tiara to her second daughter, Queen Elisabeth, who had been the short-lived Consort of King George II of Greece, for the Romanian Couple’s lavish Coronation in 1922. Despite being the source of inspiration behind the Greek Emerald Tiara, she had relatively few jewels, and anyways, the emeralds had not been set in a frame by 1922. At Queen Marie’s death in 1938, the Tiara was inherited by Princess Elisabeth, by then divorced, while Queen Marie’s Diamond Sautoir went to her ex daughter-in-law, Queen Helen, her Fringe Tiara went to her daughter, Queen Maria of Yugoslavia, and her Vladimir Sapphire Kokoshnik went to her favourite daughter, Princess Ileana. A decade later, the Romanian Royal Family was forced into exile by the Communist Government, and if she managed to smuggle the Tiara out of the country, Princess Elisabeth probably sold the piece during her exile, or left it to her lover, Marc Favrat, who she adopted three months before her death in 1956.