15 May 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Brunswick Tiara

The Brunswick Tiara
The Brunswick Tiara belongs today to the Hanover family, but it didn't start its life in Germany. It started out in the same place several other storied tiaras did: in Empress Jos├ęphine's jewel collection. Jos├ęphine, the first wife of Napoleon I, wore this scrolling diadem with three particularly large diamonds in the center and a laurel wreath top. But like many of those other jewels, it ultimately left France. It turned up for sale in Germany at just the time that Prince Ernst August of Hanover was preparing to marry Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia (1892-1980), the daughter of German Emperor Wilhelm II.
Princess Victoria Louise
Ernst August would soon become the reigning Duke of Brunswick, and the tiara was purchased as a gift for Ernst August and his bride from the people of Brunswick for their wedding in 1913. Not everyone agreed with the gift selection (you can read the very detailed story here), but it was bought and fixed up by Brunswick's court jeweler (it was missing a couple of diamonds) and the bridal couple were pleased with the gift. I suppose both the tiara and the event it marked could be seen as symbols of the end of an era to a certain extent; their wedding was the last great royal gathering from around Europe before World War I set in and royal life began to change drastically, and just five years later, Ernst August would have to abdicate his position as reigning duke, as did other German title holders.
Princess Caroline
The significance of the title went, but the tiara stayed with the family. Victoria Louise wore it throughout her life, but after she stopped using the tiara (she passed away in 1980), the tiara disappeared from the public eye. It made a surprising and triumphant return in 2004 on the head of the Princess of Hanover, better known on this blog as Caroline of Monaco, at the wedding of Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik and Mary Donaldson. The tiara apparently passed to Caroline's husband, also Prince Ernst August of Hanover, who is Victoria Louise's grandson, but it was not worn by his first wife. Caroline wore two Hanover tiaras during the Danish wedding celebrations, but since then the marriage has soured and she has returned to wearing Monegasque jewels, so it could be a while before we see the Brunswick Tiara worn again.

How do you rate this tiara?

Photos: Getty Images/Wikimedia Commons/DR1