Today marks the 70th Anniversary of the Death of Princess Irene of Hesse, who passed away on this day in 1953! The Hesse Princess (sister of the last Tsarina of Russia) who was married to her Prussian cousin, and were known as ‘The Very Amiables’ despite decades of family tragedies, Princess Irene possessed this splendid Diamond Fleur-de-Lys Tiara, which remains a family heirloom!
The third daughter of Grand Duke Louis IV of Hesse and by Rhine and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, she was the sister of Princess Victoria, Marchioness of Milford Haven, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, the Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia, as well as being a granddaughter of Queen Victoria who helped raise her Hesse grandchildren after the tragic early death of their mother in 1878. In 1888, Princess Irene married Prince Henry of Prussia, son of Emperor Frederik III of Germany and Victoria, the Princess Royal. The couple, known as ‘The Very Amiables’ had three sons, of whom two had haemophilia, residing at Schloss Hemmelmark through the upheavals of the First and Second World War. The Prince died in 1929, and the Princess in 1953.
Princess Irene was pictured wearing several splendid Tiaras, including this striking Diamond Fleur-de-Lys Tiara of unknown provenance, which appeared around the turn of the 20th century.
Princess Irene, more commonly known as Princess Henry, most notably wore the Diamond Fleur-de-Lys Tiara for a series of portraits taken around 1902, paired with a pearl choker and a long diamond riviere.
The Diamond Fleur-de-Lys Tiara was also worn by Princess Irene for an portrait titled: ‘Princess Henry of Prussia, seated reading Gesetzlich gesch’
In 1919, the Diamond Fleur-de-Lys Tiara was worn by Princess Charlotte of Saxe-Altenburg when she married Prince Sigismund of Prussia, the second son of Prince Henry and Princess Irene.
By the 1930s, Princess Irene adopted her granddaughter, Princess Barbara of Prussia, who became her heir and inherited Schloss Hemmelmark, as well as the Diamond Fleur-de-Lys Tiara, which was seems to have worn by her in 1954 for her Wedding to Duke Christian Louis of Mecklenburg, second son of the last Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Princess Alexandra of Hanover.
The year after Princess Barbara’s passing, the Diamond Fleur-de-Lys Tiara was worn by her younger daughter, Duchess Edwina von Mecklenburg-Schwerin, for her Wedding to Konrad von Posern at Schloss Hemmelmark in 1995.
More recently, the Diamond Fleur-de-Lys Tiara was worn by Duchess Donata of Mecklenburg, Princess Irene’s great-granddaughter, for the Wedding Ball of the Prince of Prussia and Princess Sophie of Isenburg in 2011. Duchess Donata is the senior remaining member of the House of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Lets hope we see this spectacular Royal heirloom worn again soon!