Queen Letizia of the Spain will be celebrating her 50th Birthday this week! Having access to the Spanish Jewellery collection, Queen Letizia has worn many pieces from sizeable personal collection of her mother-in-law, Queen Sofia, as well as a variety of heirloom jewels, so to mark her birthday, we are featuring the most prominent of those Jewels, continuing with the Spanish Floral Tiara!
This piece of vegetal and floral inspiration, made of brilliant- and old-cut diamonds set in silver and gold, was acquired by Franco in Joyería Aldao in Madrid. It has always been speculated that this piece had a previous royal provenance, as it has been linked to Queen Maria Cristina of Spain. It has also been attributed to Maison Mellerio, however it has never been confirmed. In fact, many years later, the Royal Family issued that “it was commissioned by King Alfonso XII from English firm J.P. Collins in 1879 for his fiancee, Archduchess Maria Cristina of Habsburg. The jewel left the family in a later date, rejoining when the Dictator bought it for the Princess”.
When Prince Juan Carlos married Princess Sofia of Greece in 1962, Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco showed his approval on this union by sending a splendid jewel for the young Greek Princess. It was a huge floral ornament that could be worn as a necklace, as a devant-de-corsage, or as several brooches. The Princess first wore the piece as a necklace for her Pre-Wedding Ball at the Royal Palace of Athens, paired with the Mellerio Shell Tiara, a wedding gift from her parents-in-law.
Throughout the 1960s, Doña Sofia wore her Floral Ornament as various lesser pieces of jewellery. It was worn as a necklace, notably during the Greek Monarchy Centenary Gala in 1963. The Princess has also worn the 3 main flowers as separate brooches, namely during a Gala at the Teatro Real in Madrid and the Wedding Ball of the Margrave of Baden and Archduchess Valerie of Austria in 1966.
In the late 1970s, the Floral Corsage was converted into a Tiara. Unfortunately, it seems that it is an irreversible change as it was never seen again in it’s previous variations. Despite the fact that Casa Real stated that the central flower is adapted to be worn as a brooch, this has also never been seen. Queen Sofia first wore her brand “new” Floral Tiara, a very successful conversion, during a State Visit to Sweden in 1979.
Sofia, as Queen of the recently restored Spanish Monarchy, wore this Tiara on countless occasions. Until she had access to the bigger Tiaras of the Borbon Family, the Floral Tiara was often chosen for various glittering events, namely a State Visit to Japan 1980, a State Visit to The Netherlands in 1980, a State Visit to Norway in 1982 and a Danish State Visit to Spain in 1983.
The Floral Tiara is also the most shared one among Queen Sofia’s immediate family. Besides herself, Infanta Elena wore it in her younger years, until she was given the Marichalar Tiara when she married, and Infanta Cristina wore it often too.
This piece was notably worn by Infanta Cristina during her wedding ceremony in Barcelona in 1997. The bride paired it with Queen Victoria Eugenie’s Diamond Earrings. The Tiara continued to be worn by Infanta Cristina in the years after her wedding, for royal events at home and abroad.
However, despite the piece being often worn by her daughters, Queen Sofia continued to wear the Floral Tiara frequently, most notably for the Wedding of Crown Prince Haakon of Norway in 2001.
After Letizia Ortiz married the Prince of Asturias in 2004, she had also been given the possibly of wearing the Floral Tiara for her gala appearances. Soon it became a favourite. Nowadays, this is the present Queen’s most worn sparkler, a solid presence in her tiara rotation. This Tiara has been seen on Doña Letizia’s head on various occasions abroad, namely for the Wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Queen Beatrix Abdication Dinner, and a Banquet in Guildhall during a State Visit to the United Kingdom.
It has also been frequently used in Spain, during State Banquets at the Royal Palace of Madrid, like during the Israeli State Visit in 2017. The Floral Tiara was seen for the last time during a Banquet held during a Peruvian State Visit to Spain in 2019. However, due to the Queen’s fondness for this piece, there is no doubt we’ll continue to see it for years to come!
Spanish Fleur-de-Lys Tiara | Prussian Diamond Tiara | Spanish Floral Tiara | Cartier Pearl Tiara | Queen Maria Christina’s Loop Tiara | Mellerio Shell Tiara | The Joyas de Pasar | Queen Victoria Eugenie’s Diamond Earrings | Queen Victoria Eugenie’s Diamond Bracelets | Spanish Royal Tiaras | Spanish Royal Jewels
This article was written by assistant editor, David Rato, who runs the Spanish Royal Jewels account on Instagram!