Today marks the Anniversary of the Birth of Infanta María Cristina, Countess of Marone, who was born on this day in 1911! The youngest daughter of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenie, who become Countess of Marone after her morganatic marriage, so to mark this occasion, we are featuring her Diamond Tiara!
But first lets learn about Infanta María Cristina! The fourth child and second daughter of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenie, named after her paternal grandmother, Queen Maria Cristina. In 1931, after the fall of the Spanish monarchy, and proclamation of the Second Republic, ‘Crista’ accompanied Alfonso XIII and the rest of the family into exile. When her parents separated, she stayed next to her father, first in Paris then in Rome. As an exiled Princess and possible carrier of the haemophilia, that her mother brought into the family, marriage prospects for ‘Crista’ were not forthcoming. For some time, she was thought as a good candidate to be the second wife of King Leopold III of the Belgians, and stepmother of the late Queen Astrid’s three children. However, she ended up morganatically marrying Enrico Marone Cinzano, an Italian businessman and industrialist, made Count Marone-Cinzano by King Victor Emanuel III ahead of the wedding. The couple had four daughters: Doña Vittoria Eugenia, Doña Giovanna, Doña Maria Teresa and Doña Anna Sandra. After the restoration of the Spanish monarchy, the Infanta divided her time between Torino and Madrid, where she bought a house. Maria Cristina died of heart attack during a family reunion at the residence of her sister-in-law, the Countess of Barcelona.
Composed of seven Diamond Flowers set in a floral design, this Diamond Bandeau was likely a coming-of-age gift to Infanta María Cristina in the late 1920s, with an early appearance at the 1929 Opening of the Cortes as well as for the Wedding of Princess Isabel Alfonsa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and Count Jan Kanty Zamoyski in 1929.
The Diamond Bandeau Tiara was also worn by Infanta María Cristina for the Palm Sunday Service at the Royal Palace of Madrid in 1931, just days before the departure of the Spanish Royal Family in exile. There were no photographed appearances of the Tiara on Infanta María Cristina in exile, and after her marriage to Enrique Eugenio Marone Cinzano, Count Marone in 1940, she was only pictured in Infanta Isabel’s Mellerio Emerald Tiara, Queen Victoria Eugenie’s Cartier Pearl Tiara, or Queen Victoria Eugenie’s Chaumet Tiara.
The Diamond Bandeau Tiara had been altered, and the floral elements removed, by the time it was worn by Doña Giovanna Marone-Cinzano, the second daughter of Infanta María Cristina, for the Wedding Ball of Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Sophia of Greece in 1962, followed by a Royal Party on ‘Cape St. Vincent’ in Athens.
In 1967, the Diamond Tiara was worn by Doña Maria Teresa Marone-Cinzano, the third daughter, for her wedding to María Ruiz de Arana y Montalvo, 17th Duke of Baena, 17th Duke of Sanlúcar la Mayor, 15th Marquess of Villamanrique, 13th Marquess of Castromonte, 5th Marquess of Brenes, 11th Count of Sevilla La Nueva and 5th Viscount of Mamblas.
While Infanta María Cristina sold Queen Victoria Eugenie’s Cartier Pearl Tiara and Queen Victoria Eugenie’s Chaumet Tiara in the 1980s, and dismantled Infanta Isabel’s Mellerio Emerald Tiara, the Diamond Bandeau Tiara was one of the Jewels that was inherited by her daughters upon her death in 1996, being worn by Doña Giovanna as a necklace for the Wedding Gala of Grown Prince Felipe of Spain at the El Pardo Palace in Madrid. It is likely that the Diamond Tiara remains with the family.