Today marks the 80th Anniversary of the Death of Grand Duchess Maria-Ana of Luxembourg, who died on this in 1941! Born Infanta Maria-Ana of Portugal, daughter of the deposed King Miguel of Portugal, she grew up in the Austro-Hungarian Empire before marrying the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and having six daughters, two of whom became Grand Duchesses, among them Grand Duchess Charlotte. After serving as Regent of Luxembourg between 1908 to 1912, Grand Duchess Maria-Ana lived mainly at Schloss Hohenburg in Bavaria, before joining the Grand Ducal Family when they fled Europe into exile in the United States, where she passed away in 1942. To mark the anniversary, we are featuring one of Grand Ducal Family’s most splendid Heirlooms, the Grand Duchess Adélaïde Tiara!
Composed of a large central sapphire surrounded by leaves and berries made of brilliant and rose-cut diamonds, the Tiara was created between 1865 and 1870 and may have been made using jewels that were part of the trousseau of Princess Adelheid-Marie of Anhalt-Dessau when she married the Duke of Nassau, later Grand Duke Adolphe of Luxembourg.
The Tiara was reportedly a favourite of Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde of Luxembourg, the namesake granddaughter of Grand Duchess Adelheid-Marie, though she was never photographed wearing it, and after her Abdication in 1919, the Tiara was then worn by her mother, the Dowager Grand Duchess Marie Anne, for the Wedding of her daughter, Princess Sophie, to Prince Ernst Heinrich of Saxony in 1921 and the Wedding of her other daughter, Princess Elisabeth, to Prince Ludwig Philipp of Thurn and Taxis, in 1922.
In the 1920s, the Grand Duchess Adélaïde Tiara began to be worn by the reigning Grand Duchess Charlotte, who wore it along with Grand Duchess Maria-Ana’s Pearl Negligee for a Portrait, and it continued to be worn for Portraits and events through the 1940s and 1950s, after the Grand Ducal Family’s exile during the Second World War. The Tiara remained with Grand Duchess Charlotte until her death in 1985.
The Tiara is a part of the Grand Ducal Family’s Jewellery Foundation and was worn by Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte only once publicly, for the Heads of State Banquet at the Guildhall in 1995, while Grand Duchess Maria Teresa has only worn the Grand Duchess Adélaïde Tiara a few times, including King Carl XVI Gustaf’s 50th Birthday Banquet in 1996, a State Visit from Portugal, for a few National Day Galas and the Wedding Ball of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco in 2011, while the most notable instance was in 2008, when the Grand Duchess arrived for a Return Dinner during a State Visit to Sweden with the Tiara on, but after the Swedish Royal Ladies arrived bare-headed, she took it off before too long.
The Grand Duchess Adélaïde Tiara has become a favourite of the daughters-in-law of the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess in recent years, being first worn by Princess Tessy for the Wedding Gala of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Countess Stephanie de Lannoy in 2012, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie for Queen Beatrix’s Abdication Dinner in 2013 and National Day in 2015, and Princess Claire for the National Day Gala in 2016 and the National Day in 2018.
The Tiara has also become an unofficial wedding tiara of the Grand Ducal Family in recent years, being worn by Princess Marie-Gabrielle of Nassau for her Wedding in Marbella in 2017, while Archduchess Gabriella of Austria wore the Grand Duchess Adélaïde Tiara for her Wedding to Prince Henri of Bourbon-Parma in 2020.
The Tiara has become a favourite of Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie in recent years, being worn for King Harald and Queen Sonja’s 80th Birthday Banquet in 2017 and most recently for Princess Ingrid Alexandra’s 18th Birthday Banquet at the Royal Palace of Oslo last month. There is no doubt we will continue to see this splendid Heirloom for years to come!