Today marks the 95th Anniversary of the Death of Queen Lovisa of Denmark, who died on this day in 1926! To mark the anniversary, we are featuring her magnificent Prussian Royal Heirloom that has passed through the Dutch, Swedish, and Danish Royal Families for the past 200 years!
But first, lets learn about Queen Lovisa! The only surviving child of King Charles XV of Sweden and Norway and Princess Louise of the Netherlands, Princess Lovisa could not be recognized as the Heir to the Thrones of Sweden and Norway, which went to her uncle, but grew up at the centre of the Swedish Royal Court in Stockholm. In 1869, Princess Lovisa married Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark, the eldest son and Heir of King Christian IX of Denmark who was also the brother of King George I of Greece, Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, and Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom. The couple had eight children, including King Christian X of Denmark, King Haakon VII of Norway, and Princess Ingeborg of Sweden, and while Crown Princess Lovisa/Louise (as she was known in Denmark) was popular with the Danish public, she was not well-liked among the extended Danish Royal Family. During her decades as Crown Princess, she founded many charitable and religious organizations and rafter the death of her parents, remained close with the Swedish Royal Family, especially when her daughter, Princess Ingeborg, married her cousin, Prince Carl. When her son, Prince Carl, was appointed King of an independent Norway in 1905, it fulfilled her King Charles XV’s wish to see his descendent on one of his thrones. Crown Prince Frederick finally succeeded to the Danish Throne in 1906, and the new Queen Louise continued her patronage of art, literature and charity during their short reign until 1912, and afterwards as a widow, the Queen Dowager built Egelund Slot, where she resided until her death in 1926, a few months before her 75th birthday. Her descendents include Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, King Harald V of Norway, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, King Philippe of Belgium, and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg.
Featuring a large pearl surrounded by diamonds in an ornate diamond frame, from which five graduated pear-shaped pearls are suspended, the Pearl Poiré Brooch was commissioned by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia in Berlin around 1825, as a wedding gift with the Pearl Poiré Tiara for his daughter, Princess Louise, who was marrying Prince Frederik of The Netherlands. An identical Tiara and Brooch were ordered by the King five years later when Prince Frederik’s sister, Princess Marianne, married his son, Prince Albert of Prussia.
The Pearl Poiré Tiara and the Pearl Poiré Brooch were worn by Princess Louise for a Portrait painted by Jean-Baptiste Van der Hulst in 1836 with her daughter, Princess Louise, who became the Queen of Sweden and Norway and was given the Pearl Poiré Brooch as a wedding gift, wearing it for a portrait by Amalia Lindegren in 1861, while she didn’t inherit the Tiara until Princess Louise’s death in 1870, though Queen Louise died just a few months later.
The Pearl Poiré Tiara and the Pearl Poiré Brooch were inherited by her only daughter, the then Crown Princess Lovisa, who had brought so many jewels to Denmark that “if it was all laid out on a card table, you could not see the fabric underneath”. She was pictured wearing the Pearl Poiré Brooch from the 1860s to the 1890s, notably wearing it for the Wedding of her son, Prince Carl of Denmark, to his cousin, Princess Maud of Wales, in 1896, alongside a coordinating Parure given to her as a Wedding Gift from the Khedive of Egypt. Upon her death in 1926, Queen Lovisa left the Tiara, Khedive of Egypt Parure, the Pearl Poiré Brooch, and a smaller Pearl Brooch to the Danish Royal Property Trust, reserving it for the exclusive use of Danish Queens.
The next wearer of the Pearl Poiré Brooch, and the coordinating Parure, was Queen Alexandrine, who notably wore the Brooch for an Official Portrait and at the Wedding Ball of her son, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, to Princess Ingrid of Sweden at the Royal Palace of Stockholm in 1935.
In 1937, Queen Alexandrine loaned the Pearl Poiré Parure, and the Brooch, to the then Crown Princess Ingrid for the Coronation of King George VI in London, who later loaned it to Princess Margaretha for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, and it came into her possession after the Accession of King Frederik IX in 1947. Queen Ingrid notably wore the Pearl Poiré Brooch, usually with the Parure, for the Danish State Banquet at the Royal Palace of Stockholm in 1947, a State Visit to France in 1950, the Wedding of Princess Ragnhild of Norway in 1953, Crown Princess Margrethe’s 18th Birthday in 1958, a State Visit to Norway in 1960, a State Visit to Italy in 1964, Princess Anne Marie’s Farewell Dinner in 1964, a State Visit to France in 1965, a State Visit to Belgium in 1968, and the the Wedding of King Harald of Norway in 1968, as well as the Wedding of King Constantine of Greece to her daughter, Princess Anne-Marie in 1964, Crown Princess Margrethe’s Wedding Gala in 1967, and the Wedding of her daughter, Princess Benedikte, to Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg in 1968. The Brooch, and Parure were also worn for a plethora of portraits and the annual New Year’s Courts, as well as the magnificent celebrations in Persepolis to mark the 2500th Anniversary of the Persian Empire in 1971.
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The Pearl Poiré Brooch, and the Parure, were passed on to Queen Margrethe in 1972, and since the grand Danish Emerald Parure cannot leave Denmark, as her second grandest Parure, the suite has been worn for a plethora of State Occasions at home and abroad, as a Brooch and also as the clasp of the Danish Crown Pearl and Ruby Parure, including the Danish State Visit to Britain in 1974, a State Visit to the Netherlands in 1975, a State Visit to Belgium in 1976, a State Visit to France in 1978, the Spanish State Visit in 1980, the Dutch State Banquet at Fredensborg Palace in 1984, the Enthronement of Emperor Akihito in 1990, the State Visit to the United States in 1991, the Norwegian State Visit in 1991, the Jordanian State Visit and the Japanese State Visit in 1998, as well as Queen Margrethe’s 60th Birthday in 2000, a State Visit to Belgium in 2002, the Wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden in 2010, and the Belgian State Visit in 2017. Queen Margrethe usually alternates the Emerald Parure and the Pearl Poiré Parure for the annual New Year’s Reception, but she almost always wears the Pearl Poiré Brooch with her decades old Jørgen Bender navy damask gown for the subsequent New Year’s Levées. The Pearl Poiré Brooch has also been displayed in recent years and was most recently worn for a new Portrait mark Queen Margrethe’s 80th Birthday last year. There is no doubt we will continue to see this splendid Royal Heirloom worn for years to come!