Portuguese Emerald Tiara

Today marks the 70th Anniversary of the Death of Queen Amélie of Portugal, who died on this day in 1951! The eldest daughter of Prince Philippe, Count of Paris and Infanta Marie Isabelle of Spain, Amélie was born in London, where her family was living in exile. In 1886, she married Dom Carlos, Prince Royal of Portugal. The couple had three children, Prince Luís Filipe, Infanta Maria Ana (who died right after birth), and Infante Manuel, succeeding to the throne in 1889. In 1908, the King and his heir, Luis Filipe, were assassinated at Terreiro do Paço square, which led to the accession of her younger son as King. Manuel II reigned for two years before the monarchy was abolished. Amélie lived the rest of her life in exile in Versailles, France. She outlived her son, who had no descendants. To mark the day, we are taking a look at her Emerald Parure!

The Portuguese Royal Tiaras | Portuguese Star Tiara

In 1886, on the occasion of her marriage to Prince Dom Carlos, Princess Amelie received from her parents, the Count and Countess of Paris, a magnificent parure of emeralds and diamonds. The set consists of a tiara, a necklace, and three square brooches. Although it was never confirmed, it is speculated that the parure could have been a family heirloom, either from Amélie’s paternal or maternal family. Its execution is often attributed to Bapst or Laurent, both important French jewellers.

Princess Amélie started wearing her Emerald Parure right after her arrival in Portugal, debuting it at one of the galas held on the occasion of the marriage. She was photographed and portrayed wearing the emeralds on several occasions, both as Duchess of Bragança and later as Queen Consort. She often paired it with other jewels from her jewellery collection, such as the Duke of Aumale’s emerald brooch and her Diamond Fence Choker, as well as pieces from the Royal Treasury, namely the Diamond Rivières and Queen Maria Pia Star Tiara.

With the fall of the monarchy in 1910, the Royal Family rapidly left the country, leaving a major part of their possessions behind. Later, the republican government returned to the Queen her personal possessions, including her jewellery collection. As she remarked, “everything was returned, not even a small pin was missing”. In exile, the Queen still had opportunities to wear her Emerald Parure. She also adapted to the change of fashion, using the tiara as a bandeau.

When the Queen died, in 1951, her jewels were inherited by several members of her French family and personal friends and staff, namely her three sisters, the Duchess of Aosta, the Duchess of Guise and Infanta Luisa of Spain, as well as her godson, Dom Duarte of Bragança, and some of her many nieces and nephews, like the Count of Paris, who as the head of the Orléans family, inherited the Emerald Parure.

The Count of Paris rapidly sold his aunt’s Emerald Parure at auction. From the only photograph available from the sale, we can see that the necklace has been altered, as the large central square emerald was removed, and a pair of earrings was created. The fate of the Parure remains unknown, some claim that it was, for some time, the property of a South American billionaire, who bought it somewhere in the 1950s and that it remains intact to this day in a ‘mysterious’ bank box.

This article was written by assistant editor, David Rato, who runs the Spanish Royal Jewels account on Instagram!

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4 thoughts on “Portuguese Emerald Tiara

  1. Poor Queen Amelie. For all the fame, fortune, and position, it must have been absolutely awful to witness the assassination of her husband and first-born child. It’s not surprising that she didn’t accept the government’s offer to go live in Portugal during WWII. But, her jewelry was spectacular! It’s a pity that this lovely emerald tiara has been lost to history, but I do believe that there is one lovely tiara that belonged to Queen Amelie that is still being used by the Portuguese royals. It’s a beautiful all-diamond tiara that was given to her by King Luis and which Queen Amelie left to her nephew Dom Duarte, the current claimant to the throne. His wife Doña Isabel de Heredia wore it on her wedding and has worn it afterwards only for very important occasions.

    Liked by 1 person

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