Today marks the 140th Anniversary of the Birth of Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden, the British Princess who married the Swedish Crown Prince, died tragically young and is the grandmother of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and Queen Anne Marie of Greece! So many spectacular Swedish and Danish Royal heirlooms originate from Crown Princess Margareta, so to mark the anniversary, we are featuring one of her most iconic jewels, the Connaught Diamond Tiara!
When Princess Margaret of Connaught, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, married Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden in 1905, she received this spectacular Diamond Tiara composed of five distinctive upright loops of forget-me-not wreaths with diamond pendants alongside upside down bows supporting single diamond uprights, made by E. Wolff & Co. The Tiara was a gift from her parents Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia, and was illustrated alongside her other Wedding Gifts. The Tiara can also be worn as a necklace, while the diamond pendants can be removed to be worn on a chain or as earrings.
Crown Princess Margareta wore the Connaught Tiara quite often during her few years as a member of the Swedish Royal Family, most notably for a series of splendid portraits and events. The Tiara was notably worn as a necklace, along with the Khedive of Egypt Tiara, for the Wedding of her only brother, Prince Arthur of Connaught, and Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife in 1913.
After Crown Princess Margareta’s untimely death in 1920, the Connaught Tiara was inherited by her eldest son, Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, Duke of Västerbotten, and when he married Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1932, the Tiara got a new wearer. First publicly worn by Princess Sibylla at the Nobel Prize Ceremony in 1935, the Connaught Tiara soon becoming such a favourite that the piece is known as ‘Princess Sibylla’s Tiara’ within the Royal Family. Princess Sibylla wore the Connaught Tiara for countless occasions from the 1930s to the 70s, including the Danish State Banquet at the Royal Palace of Stockholm in 1947, the Nobel Prize Ceremony in 1948, the Swedish Opening of Parliament in 1956, the Wedding Ball of her daughter, Princess Birgitta of Sweden, and Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern in 1961, the Swedish Opening of Parliament in 1962, the Wedding Ball of Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Sophia of Greece in 1962, and the joint Wedding Ball for her daughters, Princess Margaretha and Princess Désirée, in 1964, wearing the Tiara up until her death in 1972.
Princess Sibylla loaned the Connaught Tiara to her daughter, Princess Christina, for the Wedding of her cousin, Princess Benedikte of Denmark, and Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg in 1968. When Princess Christina of Sweden got married in 1974, just a few years after her mother’s death, she chose to wear the Connaught Tiara ‘because she wanted to have part of her mother with her’. Princess Désirée wore the Tiara for an event in the 1980s, as did Princess Lilian, while Princess Brigitta wore the Tiara for the Wedding of Princess Madeline in 2013.
For much of the last five decades, the primary wearer of the Tiara has been Queen Silvia, who was persuaded by her sisters-in-law to wear the Connaught Tiara for the Gala held on the eve of her Wedding in 1976, ‘as a way to have their mother be part of the wedding and to show her that she was now part of the family’. The Tiara made numerous appearences through the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, usually for less formal Representation Dinners, though it was also worn for State Visits and the annual Nobel Prize Ceremony.
In 2010, Princess Madeleine wore the Connaught Tiara for the first time for the Wedding of her sister, Crown Princess Victoria, and later wore it for an iconic appearance at the Nobel Prize Ceremony in 2016, wearing the piece as a necklace the following day for the King’s Dinner for Nobel Laureates. Princess Madeleine has also worn the Diamond Pendants on a necklace and as earrings.
The Connaught Tiara is one of the few Tiaras in the massive Swedish Royal Collection that had not been worn by Crown Princess Victoria for ages, that was until the Wedding of her brother, Prince Carl Philip, in 2015, when she first wore the Tiara and liked it so much that it was worn to the Nobel Prize Ceremony later that year. More recent appearences of the Tiara came at the Nobel Prize Ceremony in 2018, in her 10th Anniversary Portraits in 2020, and for the recent German State Visit to Sweden. In Kungliga Smycken, Crown Princess Victoria recalled how she was walking by a painting and realized that she was wearing the same jewels as Crown Princess Margaretha in the painting, which was an awakening for her when the stories of the jewels became real and tangible.
However, Queen Silvia remains the primary wearer of the Connaught Tiara, having worn it over 90 times in public over the last 45 years. Recent appearences include King Carl XVI Gustaf’s 70th Birthday Banquet, the Swedish State Visit to Germany in 2016, Representationsmiddag in 2017, Representationsmiddag in 2018, Representationsmiddag in 2019, and most recently, the King’s Dinner for Nobel Laureates in 2019. There is no doubt we will continue to see this splendid Heirloom for years to come!