Grand Duchess Victoria Melita’s Emerald Tiara

Today marks the 145th Anniversary of the Death of Princess Victoria Melita of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha | Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna of Russia, who was born on this day in 1876! The daughter of a British Prince and Russian Grand Duchess who became the Sovereigns of the illustrious German Duchy, she first married the Grand Duke of Hesse and then Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, who became the Russian Tsar in exile. Grand Duchess Victoria Melita lived a fascinating life and possessed a plethora of important jewels, so today we are featuring her splendid Emerald Tiara!

Strawberry Leaf Tiara | Greek Key Tiara | Cartier Sapphire Necklace |

Featuring large emerald and diamond clusters atop a simple diamond frame, the Tiara was a wedding gift to Princess Victoria Melita from her parents, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg und Gotha and Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia, when she married her paternal first cousin, Grand Duke of Hesse. The Tiara was first worn on her Wedding Day, when the couple’s mutual aunt, Empress Frederick of Germany wrote of the bride wearing:

a light slender diadem of emeralds with a sprig of orange blossom stuck in behind’

A favourite tiara in the 1890s, alongside the Hesse Strawberry Leaf Tiara, the new Grand Duchess of Hesse notably wore the Emerald Tiara at the Wedding of the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and her sister, Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1896.

The Grand Duchess continued to wear the Tiara for all sorts of events, including a Costume Gala when she was pictured with her sister, Queen Marie of Romania, and a series of Official Portraits taken in the early 1900s, both times with a pearl and emerald bead necklace that was also a wedding gift. Following her divorce in 1901, the Emerald Tiara was among the jewels displayed at a charity exhibition in Coburg in 1903, alongside the spectacular collections of her mother and sisters

Princess Victoria Melita also retained her Emerald Tiara during her second marriage, to her maternal first cousin, Grand Duke Kyril Vladimirovich, with the newly christened Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna wearing the Tiara for a series of portraits taken in the late 1900s, likely when the couple were banished from Russia for years due to their scandalous marriage. It is thought that the Tiara was dismantled to create a new emerald parure in the early 1910s, but during the Russian Revolution, the Grand Duchess’ jewels were smuggled out of Russia hidden within the stuffing of her daughters’ dolls, and faced with harsh financial difficulties in exile, she was forced to sell jewels. While some pieces, like her , were retained, the majority of the collection, including the Vladimir Sapphire Kokoshnik, her Greek Key Tiara and Cartier Sapphire Necklace were sold to her sister Queen Marie and her children. Unlike the better documented fate of some of her other jewels, the current whereabouts of the emeralds are unknown.


Royal Magazin

3 thoughts on “Grand Duchess Victoria Melita’s Emerald Tiara

  1. ”she first married the Grand Duke of Hesse and then Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, who became the Russian Tsar in exile.” Grand Duke Kirill was a traitor to the Russian monarchy, and was NEVER “Tsar in Exile.” His claims were bogus… as are those of his granddaughter Maria.

  2. Well, I’m glad Princess Victoria Melita found happiness in her second marriage. It must have been awful for both her and the Duke of Hesse to be forced to marry against their will. And then she lost her daughter at a very early age, not to mention the tragedy that befell her in-laws, the Romanovs. This tiara has such an era-specific vibe to it that I wouldn’t be surprised if it was dismantled and the stones either sold or used elsewhere.

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