Happy Birthday to Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, who turns 65 today! The accomplished Luxembourg Princess who was the last Royal to marry a member of a fellow Reigning Royal Family when she wed a Prince of Liechtenstein, Princess Margaretha has access to the Liechtenstein and spectacular Luxembourg Royal Collections, but her most prominent personal jewel is Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte’s Sapphire Bracelet Tiara!
When Princess Josephine-Charlotte of Belgium got engaged to Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg in 1953, she received a bracelet made of 258 brillants and a large central sapphire from Sri Lanka from the the Association de la Noblesse du Royaume de Belgique, the Belgian nobility association, which she first wore for her Engagement Ball. The centerpiece of the Bracelet can also be detached to be worn as a Brooch. The Hereditary Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte paired the Bracelet with other wedding gifts, including the Belgian Scroll Tiara, her Diamond Earrings, and Congo Diamond Necklace for the Wedding Ball of her brother, King Baudouin, and Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón at the Royal Palace of Brussles in 1960.
In the 1970s, as Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte’s two daughters, Princess Marie Astrid and Princess Margaretha, became of age, she had many bracelets from the parures in the family collection converted into Tiaras, which included the Aquamarine Bandeau Tiara, Citrine or Topaz Tiara, the Amethyst Tiara, and the Oval Amethyst Tiara, as well as converting her Sapphire Bracelet into a Tiara, which was worn by Princess Marie Astrid for a Banquet during the British State Visit to Luxembourg in 1976, and by Princess Margretha for Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Josephine Charlotte’s 25th Anniversary Gala in 1978.
Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte also wore the Sapphire Bracelet as a Tiara through the 1970s, notably for a Portrait and for a Spanish State Banquet with her Sapphire Necklace Tiara. She also wore the piece as a Brooch for King Carl XVI Gustaf’s 50th Birthday Banquet in 1996.
After her death in 2005, many of Grand Duchess Josephine Charlotte’s jewels were put on auction by her children, and they included most of the jewel acquired by the Grand Duchess during her marriage; the Belgian Scroll Tiara, her Diamond Earrings, Congo Diamond Necklace, Queen Astrid’s Emerald Choker, Van Cleef & Arpels Ruby Suite, and also this Sapphire Bracelet. The Auction was later cancelled due to public outcry, and the Sapphire Bracelet is among the jewels that were not discreetly sold.
It appears that Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte’s Sapphire Bracelet was inherited by Princess Margretha, as she has worn it exclusively in the past few years, wearing the piece as a Tiara for the Luxembourg State Visit to Belgium in 2007, and also wore the piece as a Brooch for the Wedding of her nephew, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg, and Countess Stephanie de Lannoy in 2012. With Princess Margretha’s three children having gotten married in the past few months, lets hope we see this splendid heirlooms worn again soon!