Today marks the 30th Anniversary of the Death of Princess Ileana of Romania, who died on this day in 1991! The Romanian Princess who married an Austrian Archduke and then had to flee both Austria and Romania to eventually settle in the United States, we have already talked about how Princess Ileana sold the magnificent Vladimir Sapphire Kokoshnik to fund her life in exile, but today we are going to talk about her Diamond Scroll Tiara!
Composed of an attractive series of Diamond Scrolls over a base of rows of diamonds, the Tiara was reportedly a present from Emperor Napoleon to Empress Marie Louise passing down the Habsburg Royal Family to Archduke Leopold Salvator of Austria. The Tiara was worn by his wife, Infanta Blanca of Spain, as an ornament on her waist while wearing the famous Hortense Diadem, and by his eldest daughter, Archduchess Dolores, in a portrait. (h/t to Royal Magazin)
Archduke Leopold Salvator of Austria gave the Tiara as a wedding gift to Princess Ileana of Romania when she married Archduke Anton of Austria, the son of Archduke Leopold Salvator and Infanta Blanca, in 1931. Princess Ileana wore the Tiara for her Wedding Ball in 1931 and also wore it for a Ball in Vienna in 1936. She also talked about the Tiara in her memoir ‘I Live Again’:
I may as well begin by telling you frankly that a princess spends very little of her time wearing a diadem! Although the court functions at Bucharest were always dignified and beautiful, by the standards of some courts they were simple and sober ones. I myself wore the lovely sapphire and diamond tiara on only one state occasion, and that was at a large ball which the Legitimist Party gave in the Hofburg in Vienna, four years after I was married. I went to only one “court ball” in my life, and that was at my own wedding; but there I wore a much smaller diadem given me by my father-in-law. (It was, however, an appropriate one for the occasion when the title “Archduchess of Austria” had been added to my name, because the diadem had originally been a present from Napoleon to Maria Louisa, who was also an archduchess of Austria.)
After fleeing both Austria and Romania into exile first in Argentina and then in the United States, Princess Ileana had to sell the Vladimir Sapphire Kokoshnik to fund her children’s education, but it seems she retained the Tiara as it was worn by her daughter, Archduchess Alexandra, for a Debutante Ball in New York City in 1954, and it was also worn by Archduchess Alexandra when she married Duke Eugen Eberhard of Württemberg in 1962. The current location of the Tiara is unknown as Princess Ileana became an Orthodox Nun and founded the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, the first English language Orthodox monastery in North America, where she served as abbess until her retirement in 1981, remaining at the monastery until her death on this day in 1991. The Tiara still exists, and was exhibited in Vienna in 2007. Since has not been sold like some other jewels, it probably remains with her surviving children, who also received Bran Castle, Princess Ileana’s inheritance, from the Romanian Government in 2009.