Today marks the 95th Anniversary of the Death of Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom, the Danish Princess who was the longest-serving Princess of Wales and then a trendsetting Queen Consort, and to mark the occasion, we are taking a look at her Diamond Circlet.
Featuring Diamond Fleur-de-Lys and Maltese Crosses on top of a Diamond Base, the Diamond Circlet was made by Garrard for Queen Alexandra in 1910, as a Crown to be worn in her widowhood, probably a replacement of the George IV State Diadem, and could originally incorporate the famous Cullinan VI Diamond. The Diamond Circlet was most prominently worn by Queen Alexandra, paired with Queen Victoria’s Small Diamond Crown, at the Wedding of her granddaughter, Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife, to Prince Arthur of Connaught in 1913, and during a Danish State Visit in 1914, though it appears not to have been publicly worn in the years since.
After Queen Alexandra’s death in 1925, the Diamond Circlet, without the Cullinan VI, was inherited by her daughter, Queen Maud of Norway, who had the Diamond Fleur-de-Lys removed and wore the Diamond Bandeau with the Maltese Crosses (hence why it is now known as the Maltese Circlet Tiara) for a variety of important occasions, like her 60th Birthday Portraits in 1929, King Haakon VII’s Silver Jubilee in 1930, and the Coronation of her nephew, King George VI, in 1937. In 1938, Queen Maud brought all her jewels with her to England while she was having an operation, and where she passed away of heart failure (also on this day). 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 Diamond Circlet 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.
However, it took many years for Queen Alexandra’s Diamond Circlet to be publicly seen, and the Bandeau base was first worn by the then Crown Princess Sonja in 1985, who wore it in that version during the 1980s and 1990s, when the Diamond Circlet was also worn by Princess Märtha Louise for important State Visits from Denmark and Sweden.
Unlike Queen Maud, who wore the Maltese Crosses on the edges, Queen Sonja wears three of them together at the front of the Tiara and the fourth as brooch. While she has also worn just the Crosses themselves as well, she usually prefers wearing only the Diamond Circlet Base. The Tiara has not been publicly worn in over a decade, but there is no doubt we will continue to see the Diamond Circlet worn for years to come!