Queen Maud’s Diamond Tiara

Today marks the 90th Anniversary of the Birth of the late Princess Ragnhild of Norway, who was born on this day in 1930. The elder sister of King Harald, who married her former bodyguard and moved to Brazil, Princess Ragnhild possessed a variety of heirloom jewels, like today’s piece, Queen Maud’s Diamond Tiara.

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A gift to Princess Maud of Wales from “Lady and Gentlemen Friends” when she married Prince Carl of Denmark in 1896, this Diamond Tiara features an intricate design on a base of collets between two rows of diamonds with diamond uprights, that are interchangeable with turquoises. The Tiara was worn at the Coronation of her father, King Edward VII, in 1902 and for a series of official portraits after becoming the first Queen Consort of Norway, though it remained publicly unworn in the years afterwards. In 1938, Queen Maud brought her jewels with her to England while she was having an operation, and where she passed away of heart failure. Queen Maud’s jewels remained in England, throughout the Norwegian Royal Family’s exile during WWII, and were only reclaimed during a visit for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. Soon afterwards, her daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Martha passed away, and the Tiara remained in the vaults for years until the Norwegian Royal jewellery collection was divided up following the wedding of then Crown Prince Harald in 1968.

Queen Maud’s Diamond Tiara passed to Princess Ragnhild, who began wearing it in the 1980s, though she preferred Princess Ingeborg’s Boucheron Pearl Circle Tiara for most occasions. After her death in 2012, Queen Maud’s Diamond Tiara is one of the family hierlooms that is said to pass back into the collection of the main Royal Family, though it has remained unworn. Lets hope we see the Tiara soon, hopefully on Crown Princess Mette Marit or Princess Ingrid Alexandra.


5 thoughts on “Queen Maud’s Diamond Tiara

  1. It’s so sad that Norway doesn’t have a jewel foundation like Sweden and the Netherlands. It’s so easy for amazing jewels like this tiara to end up on the auctioneer’s block. Nobody has seen this tiara in a long time and I, for one, think it would be a miracle if Princess Ragnhild left this tiara to the royal family. She didn’t like Crown Prince Haakon’s choice of wife, so even if she did bequeath it back to the royal family, she may have left it with conditions. Maybe she left it specifically to Princess Ingrid Alexandra or something like that. But what I hope is that she didn’t leave it to her kids because they’ll most likely sell it since none of them will ever use it at all! I’ve always been surprised by the fact that Princess Ragnhild inherited the best jewels even though she didn’t participate in any royal events after she married and her sister Astrid was the first lady of Norway after her mother died. Those excellent jewels should have been left to Princess Astrid, who instead got the Burger King tiara, a spiky turquoise tiara, and some funky aigrettes, though it must be said that Princess Astrid is a trooper and makes the most of what she has!

    1. I agree that a jewel foundation would have been great for the Norwegian Royal collection of jewels. It is always sad to see grand and historical pieces disappear from the main line. But we should not forget that the jewels are private property and the family is entitled to do what they want with them.
      Princess Ragnhild did attend a few royal events even after she was married; grand family celebrations (many of them tiara events) and even some State Visits. And Princess Astrid also got the Vasa diamond tiara, so I don’t think she draw the shortest straw either. When Princess Astrid acted as first lady she also (fortunately) had access to the jewels still in the main line, like the Emerald parure and Queen Josephine’s Diamond tiara. But agree wholeheartedly in that she is indeed a trooper! 🙂

      1. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that she left it to Princess Ingrid Alexandra, maybe with the caveat that Princess Ragnhild’s descendants could use it. I know it’s a very expensive and valuable jewel and could represent a windfall for her children so the probability that that would happen is small. But I can hope!

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