Countess Karin Bernadotte’s Tiara

Today marks the 30th Anniversary of the Death of Countess Karin Bernadotte af Wisborg, who died on this day in 1991! The daughter of a Stockholm Businessman, when Karin Nissvandt married Prince Lennart of Sweden, Duke of Småland, the son of Prince Vilhelm, Duke of Södermanland and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia, in 1932, he lost his titles and succession rights, being known as Mr and Mrs Bernadotte for almost 20 years before he was granted into the nobility of Luxembourg as Count of Wisborg, and his wife became a Countess of Wisborg, all while settled on the Island of Mainau, inherited from the Baden Royal Family.  Today’s piece is quite unusual for the Royal Watcher, featuring a very unusual faux Tiara!

Embed from Getty Images

By the time Prince Lennart married Karin Nissvandt in 1932, much of the massive jewellery collection of his mother, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, had been long sold, and the circumstances of their marriage mean’t that there was no access to the massive Swedish Royal collection either, so the then Mrs Bernadotte wore a faux Tiara for a portrait around 1939, which consisted of honeysuckles in a delicate Art Nouveau design. It is likely that the piece never belonged to Countess Karin and was only borrowed as she later wore the Tiara created from cufflinks that Prince Lennart inherited from his grandfather, King Gustaf V of Sweden.

The eventual fate of Countess Karin’s Tiara is unknown but, if we remember correctly as we can no longer locate the original source, a few years ago, jeweller Andrew Prince found the frame of this tiara in an antique shop and restored it back to mint condition.

Andrew Prince supplied many of the Tiaras for Downton Abbey, and this Tiara was worn by Janet Montgomery playing Freda Dudley Ward in the Season 4 Christmas Special, first in the scene showing the annual Debutante Presentation at Buckingham Palace…

… and later in the scene of Lady Rose’s Coming Out Ball. The Tiara no longer appears on the Kentshire website, so has likely been sold, though lets hope that a piece with such an illustrious history makes a public appearance, preferably in film or drama, again soon!


One thought on “Countess Karin Bernadotte’s Tiara

  1. Oh, my! This is such an interesting background story to this tiara! I’m a fan of Downton Abbey and I remember it very well on Mrs. Frieda Dudley Ward. It was quite a standout! I’m so sorry that the rules were so strict back in the day regarding dynastic marriages, especially for members who were not likely to inherit the crown. Thank goodness for the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg! I’ve often wondered what prompted her to come to the rescue of the Swedish princes. She did that not only for Prince Lennart, but I think also for Prince Sigvard and Prince Carl Johan.

Leave a Reply