14 March 2013

Tiara Thursday: Lilian's Laurel Wreath Tiara

Many of you have asked for a jewel tribute to Princess Lilian, and I have multiple emails asking for information on the tiara she often wore. Somehow I knew that would happen...
The Swedish Laurel Wreath Tiara
Made of diamonds set in silver and gold, this tiara can be either a necklace with a diamond pendant or a tiara with a dangling diamond pendant in its center. The design is a classic laurel wreath form, found in many other tiaras and pieces of jewelry; indeed, this one has what seems to be an identical twin necklace/tiara, sold by Christie's in 2010 for $83,170. Both were made by Boucheron.
Princess Margaret, wearing the necklace version
We know this tiara today as one of Princess Lilian's signature jewels, but it did not originate with her. It had been a wedding gift to Princess Margaret of Connaught in 1905, given by Queen Sophia of Sweden, grandmother of Margaret's new husband Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf. As we've discussed several times already, Margaret's jewels were split between her five children after her untimely death. This was one of the pieces inherited by her fourth child, Prince Bertil.
Princess Lilian
Bertil, as we know, fell in love with the divorced Welsh-born commoner Lilian Craig, and to her he gave his mother's jewels. Lilian was first seen wearing this tiara at King Gustaf VI Adolf's 90th birthday party in 1972 (above, far left) - an important measure of her acceptance into the family, despite the fact that she and Bertil had not yet been given consent to marry. She wore the tiara throughout her life as a princess, and she had quite a few tiara occasions since she and Bertil were a primary support for the King and Queen in the days before their children came of age. The Laurel Wreath was frequently used, but it wasn't the only tiara she wore.
Other tiaras worn by Lilian, left to right: the Four Button, the Six Button, the Baden Fringe, the Connaught, the Cut Steel, the Nine Prong
Princess Lilian had access to the Swedish family foundation for jewels, and she made use of it. The depth of her use of the family collection speaks, I think, to how highly she was regarded within the family. She certainly had a way with a tiara, making even difficult pieces like the Six Button or Nine Prong work. Even her own tiara is a hard piece to wear, being quite tall and having so much empty space in the middle, but Lilian made it work.
The Laurel Wreath Tiara was Lilian's personal property. She stated in her memoirs that this tiara would be inherited by Crown Princess Victoria, which makes sense given how close Victoria was to Bertil and Lilian. We shall have to wait and see if it is worn soon as a tribute, or kept in the vault for a time out of respect.

How do you think this compares to other laurel wreath tiaras?  

Update: Victoria wore this tiara for the first time at Princess Madeleine's wedding.

Photos: Scanpix/Sjoberg Bild/AllOverPress/IBL