Queen Sofia of Spain is celebrating her 80th Birthday this week, and to mark her milestone birthday, we are taking a look at 8 pieces from the jewellery collection of the Greek Princess who became the first consort of the restored monarchy of modern Spain, featuring her Niarchos Ruby Parure today!
When Princess Sofia of Greece married Prince Juan Carlos of Spain in 1962, she received a versatile Van Cleef & Arpels suite of necklaces from Greek shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos. The ruby and diamond clusters of the Parure could be worn in various configurations, including two necklaces of varying lengths, and as a one-row or double-row tiara. The coordinating earrings were a wedding gift from her mother, Queen Frederica of Greece.
During the 1960s, Princess Sofia often wore the Niarchos Ruby Suite with her Prussian Diamond Tiara and the Mellerio Shell Tiara for a variety of occasions including the Greek Monarchy Centenary Celebrations in 1963, the Wedding Ball of King Constantine II of Greece and Princess Anne Marie of Denmark in 1964, the Wedding Ball of Princess Beatrix of The Netherlands in 1966, a Gala at the Teatro Real in Madrid in 1966, and Infanta Pilar’s Wedding Ball in 1967.
By the 1970s, Princess Sofia began wearing one of the rows of the Niarchos Ruby Suite as a Tiara, like when Prince Juan Carlos and Princess Sofia attended a State Dinner at the White House in 1971 and on a visit to the Philippines in 1974.
In 1975, Queen Sofa wore the Niarchos Ruby Suite for one of the most important days, King Juan Carlos’ Enthronement Mass, which heralded the restoration of the Spanish Monarchy.
In the later 1970s, Queen Sofa wore the Niarchos Ruby Suite with a two-row Tiara, most notably for the Spanish State Visit to Sweden in 1979 and also for a State Visit to Luxembourg in 1980.
Queen Sofia often wore the Niarchos Ruby Suite for a variety of Gala occasions and several portraits through the 1980s, the 1990s, and the 2000s, with a notable appearance for Crown Prince Felipe’s Pre Wedding Dinner in 2004. The suite is one of the rare few jewels she has never loaned out to her daughters or daughter-in-law, Queen Letizia.
Queen Sofia notably wore the Niarchos Ruby Suite with a single row Tiara for a French State Banquet in 2009, which was its last public appearance for years.
In 2023, Queen Sofia wore the Niarchos Ruby Suite at the spectacular Banquet to celebrate the Wedding of Crown Prince Al Hussein and Princess Rajwa at the Al Husseiniya Palace in Amman, which was her first tiara appearance in almost a decade, and the first time two rows of the necklace were worn since the 1970s.