Today marks the Anniversary of the Birth of Queen Josefina of Sweden and Norway, who was born on this day in 1807! The Leuchtenberg Princess and granddaughter of the famous Empress Josephine, Queen Josefina brought a massive amount of jewels to the Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian royal collections, among which was her splendid Diamond Stomacher Necklace!
When Princess Josefina of Leuchtenberg, a granddaughter of Empress Josephine, married the future King Oscar I, she brought a huge collection of jewels into the vaults of the Royal Family, including this diamond stomacher, also known as a devant de corsage, featuring diamond rosettes and multiple diamond pendants with a diamond bow hung with a larger pendants, which has an unknown provenance but possibly came from Empress Josephine’s collection. Queen Josefina was notably portrayed in the diamond stomacher for a portrait in the 1840s or 1850s, wearing the pearl version of her Leuchtenberg Sapphire Tiara and replacing some of the diamonds int eh pendants with pearls. The stomacher was designated an heirloom of the crown and had passed from Queen to Queen, and other senior royal ladies, ever since. In the 1860s, her daughter-in-law, Queen Louise, wore the diamond stomacher for an official portrait in Swedish Court Dress, alongside a Floral Bracelet/Choker now in the Danish Royal Collection.
Later, Queen Louise’s sister-in-law and successor, Queen Sofia, was pictured wearing Queen Josefina’s Diamond Stomacher amid masses of diamond and pearl necklaces and her 9-Prong Tiara in the 1880s, while her successor, Queen Victoria notably wore the stomacher with the Baden Fringe Tiara for a series of portraits taken around 1920.
In the 1930s and 1940s, then Crown Princess Louise wore Queen Josefina’s Diamond Stomacher with Queen Sofia’s 9-Prong Tiara for the Coronation Ball for King George VI in 1937 and at Queen Juliana’s Inauguration Gala in 1948, also wearing it with the Braganza Tiara and the Leuchtenberg Sapphire Tiara for official portraits after becoming Queen. Her daughter-in-law, Princess Sibylla, notably wore the Diamond Stomacher with the Connaught Diamond Tiara for a Gala Dinner in the 1950s.
Around the time Queen Silvia married King Carl XVI Gustaf in 1976, she first wore the stomacher as a pendant from a diamond riviere, and then had it transformed into a substantial necklace, removing two of the internal elements which are now worn as earrings. However, the piece is not a favourite of Queen Silvia and she has only worn it a few times over the years.
Queen Josefina’s Diamond Stomacher Necklace did become a favourite of Princess Lilian, because the design echoed the design of her Laurel Wreath Tiara, and she often paired the two for a plethora of important events, also wearing the necklace with the Baden Fringe Tiara, usually for the annual Nobel Prize Ceremonies.
Crown Princess Victoria inherited Princess Lilian’s Laurel Wreath Tiara in 2013, and paired it with the Diamond Stomacher Necklace for the Wedding of her sister, Princess Madeline, a few months later, alongside the earrings made from the removed pendants. She later wore the necklace with the Baden Fringe Tiara for a Nobel Prize Dinner in 2014, when new official portraits were also taken. There is no doubt we will continue to see this splendid royal heirloom worn for years to come!