07 November 2013

Tiara Thursday: The Prussian Meander Tiara

The Prussian Meander Tiara
The Prussian Meander Tiara was made by German court jewellers Koch in 1905 as a wedding gift for Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1886-1954) from her groom, Wilhelm, the German Crown Prince and Crown Prince of Prussia (appropriately, this is also commonly known as Crown Princess Cecilie's Meander Tiara).

Made of diamonds set in platinum in a kokoshnik shape, it includes panels of diamond trellis work set between two rows of Greek key or meander motifs. Each trellis section is centered by a large brilliant diamond.

It's a striking and grand diadem, and was well suited to its original purpose - after all, had history turned out differently, Wilhelm would have succeeded his father, Wilhelm II, as Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia, and this would have been worn by an Empress and Queen. Obviously that's not what happened, but the tiara is still with the Hohenzollern family and is still worn by the couple's descendants.

In the next generation, it was worn by Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia (1909-1967) when she married Cecilie and Wilhelm's son Prince Louis Ferdinand in 1938. Turning it into a family wedding tradition, it was worn by both of Kira and Louis Ferdinand's daughters at their respective weddings: Princess Marie-Cécile in 1965 when she married Duke Friedrich August of Oldenburg and Princess Xenia in 1973 when she married Per-Edvard Lithander. The tiara disappeared for a time but made a grand reappearance when Prince Georg Friedrich, grandson of Kira and Louis Ferdinand, married Princess Sophie of Isenburg. Sophie wore her family's floral tiara for the couple's religious ceremony and then changed into the Prussian Meander Tiara for their wedding ball and looked every bit the new Princess of Prussia.
Left to Right: Kira, Marie-Cécile, Sophie
Princess Sophie's appearance in the tiara was a reminder just how large this one really is - and yet, thanks to that dainty diamond trellis in the middle, it manages not to overwhelm. I can only hope we will get more opportunities to see this on Sophie in the future!

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Photos: DR/Bunte