Happy Birthday to Countess Marianne Bernadotte of Wisborg, Princess Bernadotte, who turns 99 today! The last surviving aunt of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, Countess Marianne has been a beloved member of the Swedish Royal Family for over six decades, so to mark her birthday, we are featuring her most contentious heirloom, the King Edward VII Ruby Tiara!
When Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden married Princess Margaret of Connaught at Windsor Castle in 1905, she received this striking Ruby and Diamond Tiara as a wedding gift from her uncle and aunt, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, along with a Ruby and Diamond Necklace given by the King and Queen’s Children.
When Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden tragically passed away in 1920, she left the Khedive of Egypt Tiara to her only daughter, Queen Ingrid of Denmark, the elder brother, Prince Gustaf Adolf, inherited the Connaught Diamond Tiara and Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara, Prince Bertil inherited the Boucheron Diamond Laurel Wreath Tiara, Prince Carl Johan got a Diamond Necklace, while the second son, Prince Sigvard, received the King Edward VII Ruby Tiara and an Amethyst Tiara. Prince Sigvard lost his princely title and position when he married a commoner, Erica Maria Patzek, in 1934, and following their divorce, he was married to the Danish Sonja Christensen Robbert between 1943 and 1961, with the couple having a son. Known only as Mr. Sigvard Bernadotte until 1951, when he was made a Count of Wisborg in Luxembourg, he later claimed to be styled as Prince Sigvard Bernadotte, which was not legally recognised and the title never adopted by his wives.
The King Edward VII Ruby Tiara remained unworn until it appeared on Countess Sonja during the Dutch State Visit to Denmark in 1953 and was later also worn for their niece, Crown Princess Margrethe of Denmark’s, 18th Birthday Gala in 1958.
After his divorce in 1961, Prince Sigvard remarried for the third time to actress Marianne Lindberg Tchang, who wore the King Edward VII Ruby Tiara on numerous occasion, both as a Tiara and as a necklace through the 1960s, including for the 60th Birthday of her father-in-law, King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden, in 1962.
At some point in the late 1960s, Prince Sigvard gave the Tiara to his father, King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden, in exchange for some funds, believing that the Tiara would be returned to him at a later date. However, the King disagreed and instead left the King Edward VII Ruby Tiara to Prince Sigvard’s son, Count Michael Bernadotte, upon his death in 1973, which became the source of much resentment on the part of Prince Sigvard, who also beloved his Swedish Princely Title should have been reinstated. However, Count Michael loaned the Tiara to Countess Marianne for the British State Visit to Sweden in 1983, the same year Prince Sigvard began using the title of ‘Prince Bernadotte’, which was never recognised by his nephew, King Carl XVI Gustaf.
Sometime between 1983 and 1988, the King Edward VII Ruby Tiara was bought by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden from Count Michael, and was first worn by Queen Silvia as a necklace during the Dutch State Visit in 1987. The Tiara continued to be a source of contentiousness when Prince Sigvard made a fuss when Queen Silvia wore the Tiara at the Wedding of Prince Joachim of Denmark and Alexandra Manley in 1995, following which it was not worn for several years.
The King Edward VII Ruby Tiara was loaned to Countess Marianne Bernadotte once again, when she wore it as a necklace for a Gala Dinner in 2001, a year before Prince Sigvard’s death, following which the contentions ownership claim was resolved.
By the late 2000s, Queen Silvia began wearing the King Edward VII Ruby Tiara much more often, with notable appearences during the Swedish State Visit to Japan in 2007, on State Visits to and from Portugal, and on a State Visit to Italy.
More recently, Queen Silvia has worn the King Edward VII Ruby Tiara for Crown Prince Frederik’s 50th Birthday Gala Dinner at Christiansborg Palace in 2018, the Finnish State Visit to Sweden in 2022, and more recently, the Swedish State Visit to Estonia earlier this year.
The Tiara has also been exhibited during a display about Crown Princess Margareta at the Royal Palace of Stockholm and there is no doubt we will continue to see this spectacular Heirloom for years to come!
Leuchtenberg Sapphire Parure | Laurel Wreath Tiara | Napoleonic Cut Steel Tiara | Napoleonic Amethyst Parure | Swedish Cameo Parure | Connaught Diamond Tiara | Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara | Swedish Pink Topaz Parure | Bernadotte Emerald Parure | Five Pearl Brooch | Diamond Epaulette Earrings | Diamond Stomacher Necklace | Swedish Royal Tiaras