Belgian Sapphire Tiara

When the Queen passed away last month, there was much talk about the spectacular Heirloom Jewels which have now passed on to the next generation, but over the next three days, we are featuring the three Tiaras that the late Queen bought, designed or commissioned, adding to her massive jewellery collection, so thus, we are featuring the Queen’s Belgian Sapphire Tiara!

The British Royal Tiaras | British Royal Orders | British Royal Jewels

Featuring large square sapphire set within an ornate diamond and sapphire frame, the piece was originally a necklace when worn by Princess Louise of Belgium, daughter of King Leopold II and wife of Prince Philip of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, when she was depicted wearing the necklace alongside a Köchert Tiara in the 1870s and 1880s. The Princess had a scandalous affair, was locked in an asylum, escaped and was then divorced before remarrying, by when she was forced to sell her jewels, which included this necklace.

While the Tiara was sold in the 1950s to Van Cleef & Arpels, the necklace appeared on sale in 1963, when it was acquired by Queen Elizabeth II, who required a Tiara to pair with the George VI Sapphire Parure she had received as a gift from her father, so the necklace was then put onto a Tiara frame. 

Embed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty Images

The Belgian Sapphire Tiara made its debut on the Queens first State Visit to Germany in 1965, following which it made a handful of appearances in the 1960s and 1970s, including on a Tour of the Caribbean in 1966 and the Japanese State Visit to Britain in 1971.

Embed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty Images

While it was worn though the 1980s, the Belgian Sapphire Tiara really gained favour in the 1990s, when it was worn for a series of State Visits and Royal Tours, including multiple Return Banquet at Claridges Hotel and on a visit to Pakistan in 1997, as well as important State Visits to the United States and Russia.

Embed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty Images

During the 2000s and 2010s, the Belgian Sapphire Tiara continued to be worn by the Queen as a lighter Tiara option as she grew older, being worn for the Colombian State Visit to Britain, and the Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace 2016. 

The final appearance of the Belgian Sapphire Tiara came when the Queen posed for a new Official Portrait which was taken by Chris Jackson at Windsor Castle in March 2019, but was released by the Canadian Government in October 2020. Of the three Tiaras that the Queen added to the Jewel Vaults, this Tiara is my least favourite though I’d love to see Queen Camilla or any of the other Royal Ladies wear the piece as a necklace.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

UPDATE: Queen Camilla wore the Belgian Sapphire Tiara along with the necklace of the George VI Sapphire Parure for the first time for South African State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in 2022.

The British Royal Tiaras | British Royal Orders | British Royal Jewels

3

Leave a Reply