Today marks the 205th Anniversary of the Birth of Queen Louise of Denmark, who was born on this day in 1817! The Hesse Princess with strong Danish Ties, she married her second cousin and through political manoeuvring became the Danish King and Queen, she is kown as the ‘Mother-in-Law of Europe’ through the marriages of her children, who sat on the thrones of Denmark, Greece, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Queen Louise had a notoriously small Jewellery Collection, so today we are featuring one of the few Jewels she had in her possession: The Danish Crown Emerald Parure!
But first, lets learn about Queen Louise! The daughter of Prince William of Hesse-Kassel and Princess Charlotte of Denmark, Princess Louise was the niece of King Christian VIII of Denmark and lived in Denmark from the age of three, due to the family’s high chances of succession to the Danish Throne. In 1842, Princess Louise married her second cousin Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg, who had a competing claim to the Danish Throne, which led to her and her family renouncing their claims in favour of her husband who was confirmed as the successor to the Throne of her cousin, King Frederick VII, in 1853. The couple had six children; King Frederick VIII of Denmark, Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom, King George I of Greece, Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, Crown Princess Thyra of Hannover, and Prince Valdemar of Denmark, with the family living a humble life at the Yellow Palace in Copenhagen, performing many domestic tasks themselves, until their accession to the Danish Throne in 1863.
Known as the ‘The Mother-in-law of Europe’, King Christian IX and Queen Louise hosted their children, in-laws and grandchildren at Fredensborg Palace and Bernstorff Palace every summer, forming close bonds between the different dynasties. Queen Louise passed away in 1898, a few years before the death of her husband, and was buried at Roskilde Cathedral.
Though the Danish Ruby Parure is the most historic in the Danish Royal Collection, The Emerald Parure is among most important Jewels at the use of the Danish Queen. Made in 1840 by C.M. Weisshaupt, the Parure features a Tiara composed of 67 emeralds and 2,650 diamonds, of which the largest 26 emeralds date from 1723, alongside a a pair of necklace, earrings, and a large brooch, and was given to Queen Caroline Amalie as a Silver Wedding Anniversary Gift. Queen Caroline Amalie was not depicted in the Parure but left it to the Danish Crown Jewels upon her death in 1881, which means that it cannot be taken outside of Denmark or be worn by anyone other than the Queen Regnant or Queen Consort.
After Queen Caroline Amalie’s death in 1881, the Emerald Parure finally came into the possession of Queen Louise, who lack of suitable jewels had prevented her from attending the Wedding of her daughter, Princess Dagmar, to the future Tsar Alexander III of Russia. Queen Louise primarily wore a Diamond Tiara, and was only depicted in the Tiara of the Emerald Parure once, for a painting now at Vallø Slot.
UPDATE: On my visit to Buckingham Palace on the day Queen Elizabeth II passed away (the day after this article was published), I spotted a bust of Queen Louise wearing the Tiara and the Necklace of the Emerald Parure.
Neither, Queen Lovisa (who had a large personal jewellery collection) nor Queen Alexandrine were pictured in the Crown Emerald Parure, but after the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Queen Alexandrine sent the Danish Crown Jewels for safekeeping to Rosenborg Castle, where remain on permanent public display but remain at the disposal of the Queen.
It wasn’t until after the Accession of King Frederik IX of Denmark in 1947 that the Emerald Parure began to be publicly worn by the glamorous Queen Ingrid, who wore it for numerous occasions, including for the British State Visit to Denmark in 1957, the Wedding Gala for King Constantine II of Greece and her daughter, Princess Anne Marie, in Copenhagen in 1964, and Crown Princess Margrethe’s Wedding Gala at Fredensborg Palace in 1967.
Queen Margrethe began to wear the Emerald Parure soon after her Accession in 1972, including for the documentary ‘Margrethe, Queen of Denmark‘, when she was interviewed wearing the Parure. Other notable appearances came for important State Banquets and for Official Portraits, which included the Norwegian State Visit to Denmark in 1974, the Yugoslavian State Visit to Denmark in 1974, the British State Visit to Denmark in 1979, her 40th Birthday Portraits in 1980, and the Norwegian State Visit to Denmark in 1991.
The Emerald Parure was also worn during the Belgian State Visit to Denmark in 1995, for Prince Joachim’s Wedding Ball in 1995, for her Silver Jubilee in 1997, during the Japanese State Visit to Denmark in 1998, for Crown Prince Frederik’s Pre-Wedding Dinner in 2004, her 70th Birthday Gala in 2010, and most recently for the Danish New Year’s Reception in 2018 and the Danish New Year’s Reception in 2020. Queen Margrethe has said:
I always feel a great responsibility since they are not personal property like other jewels, and they are exposed and shown at Rosenberg so the public will see them, so we don’t take them out for very long and not often either, but people also find it interesting when they are missing because they are actually being used and are not museum pieces
The Danish Emerald Parure is on permanent display, except when being used, at Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen, where I saw them in 2020. The Parure was featured in ‘The Queen’s Treasury‘, released to mark Queen Margrethe’s Golden Jubilee this year. With the Jubilee Celebrations set to take place in the next few days (which I will be attending), there is no doubt the Emerald Parure will be worn now and for years to come!