Today marks the 125th Anniversary of the Death of Queen Louise of Denmark, who passed away on this day in 1898! The Hesse Princess who married her cousin and became the Danish Queen, she is known 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 her Pearl and Diamond Tiara!
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.
Shortly before King Christian IX’s accession to the Danish Throne, the family was in London for the Wedding of the Prince of Wales to their daughter, Princess Alexandra of Denmark, at Windsor Castle, where it seems the then Princess Louise was wearing this versatile Diamond and Pearl Tiara, composed of Diamond Plaques and pear-shaped pearl intervals, over a base of a large diamond riviere. The provenance of the piece is unknown as the family were rather impoverished.
When Queen Louise got access to the Danish Crown Jewels, she was wearing only the diamond elements of the Tiara for a painting, along with the Danish Crown Pearl Necklace.
The Pearl and Diamond Tiara remained Queen Louise’s primary heirloom for the entirety of her life, especially as the Danish Crown Jewels are unable to leave Denmark. Thus, when her second daughter, Princess Dagmar married the future Tsar Alexander III of Russia in 1866, King Christian IX and Queen Louise were unable to attend as the felt unable to adorn themselves or entertain in a manner befitting the splendour of the Russian Court.
In 1884, Queen Louise was photographed wearing her Pearl and Diamond Tiara with many of her children at the wedding of Princess Elisabeth of Hesse-Kassel to Crown Prince Leopold of Anhalt at Schloss Philippsruhe.
When King Christian IX and Queen Louise celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1892, Queen Louise wore her Pearl and Diamond Tiara for a series of Official Portraits released to mark the occasion.
When Queen Louise went to England to attend the Wedding of her grandson, the Duke of York and future King George V, to Princess May of Teck in 1893, she wore the Pearl and Diamond Tiara at the Wedding, paired with the Danish Crown Diamond Parure, which was a most daring choice as the Danish Crown Jewels are prohibited from leaving Denmark.
Following Queen Louise’s death in 1893, the fate of her Pearl and Diamond Tiara is unknown but it was depicted in a posthumous portrait of Queen Louise by Laurits Tuxen in 1903, which is on display at Frederiksborg Castle.