Today marks the centenary of the Death of Empress Auguste Viktoria of Germany, who died on this day in 1921! The last Kaiserin of Germany, the Empress possessed a plethora of important jewels, of which not much is publicly known, so to mark the day, we are featuring the splendid Prussian Diamond Scroll Tiara!
But first, lets learn about Empress Auguste Viktoria! The eldest daughter of Duke Frederick VIII of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, and Princess Adelheid of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Princess Auguste Viktoria grew up at Dolzig Castle until 1869, when her father became the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein and the family moved to Schloss Primkenau. In 1881, she married her second cousin, Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, who became Emperor Wilhelm II, the eldest son of Emperor Frederik of Germany and Victoria, Princess Royal, in 1888. The couple had seven children, including Crown Prince Wilhelm and Princess Victoria Louise, Duchess of Brunswick. The Kaiser was forced to abdicate at end of First World War, and while they retained the family’s private estates, the Empress accompanied the Emperor into exile in The Netherlands, where shocked by her exile and the suicide of her favourite son, she passed away at the age of 62. The Weimar Republic allowed her remains to be transported back to Germany, where they lie in the Temple of Antiquities in Potsdam.
Consisting of large diamond brilliants in a diamond scroll design, this Tiara was an heirloom of the House of Hohenzollern. The diamonds were quite old family pieces, from at least the early 18th century, becoming a part of the Prussian Crown Jewels, though it is unknown when the tiara was constructed. The Crown Jewels were placed in fireproof safes and guarded day and night by military sentinels, and could only be removed for important court occasions after four court ladies signed a statement.
While other Queens of Prussia and Empresses of Germany weren’t depicted nor pictured wearing the Diamond Scroll Tiara, Empress Auguste Viktoria often wore the tiara for official portraits and events, soon after becoming Queen and Empress in 1888, most notably the Wedding of the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the Emperor’s first cousin, in 1896.
Empress Auguste Viktoria usually wore the Prussian Diamond Scroll Tiara with strings of pearls and a magnificent pearl and diamond stomacher, a gift from the Ottoman Sultan, through the 1890s and the 1900s, though in the later years of her husband’s reign, she preferred to wear her Clover Coronet and Emerald Laurel Wreath Tiara, which were gifts for her 25th Anniversary. The Diamond Scroll Tiara was photographed for a book on the Jewels of House of Hohenzollern in 1913, and was probably kept with the family after the abolition of the German Monarchy at the end of the First World War, though it was not publicly worn. While it is possible that the diamond scroll tiara still belongs to the Prince of Prussia, it is more likely that it was among the jewels lost when the USSR expropriated the family’s extensive estates in East Germany after the Second World War, or it was sold to support the family in the decades since. Its current location is unknown.