14 May 2015

Tiara Thursday: Queen Amélie's Diamond Tiara

Queen Amélie's Diamond Tiara
In 1886, Princess Amélie of Orleans (1865-1951) married the Duke of Braganza, later King Carlos I of Portugal. Gifts of jewelry poured in, among them this important tiara, a present from her father-in-law King Luís I. Commissioned for the occasion by Portuguese crown jewelers Leitão & Irmão, it is made from hundreds of diamonds set in silver and gold and features fleur de lys motifs separated by rows of diamond collets, the largest of which top the tiara. It's an impressive piece, and it was a fitting tiara for a future queen consort.
Wedding gifts including this tiara (center). At right is a matching necklace given by Queen Maria Pia.
As it turned out, Amélie was to be the last queen consort of Portugal. Her husband and eldest son were assassinated in 1908. Her younger son became king, but his reign lasted only until 1910, when the monarchy was overthrown. The royal family went into exile, and this tiara went with them, basically disappearing for decades.
Video: Part of the 1995 Braganza wedding
When Queen Amélie died, she returned the tiara to the line of claimants to the Portuguese throne by leaving it to her godson, Duarte Pio, the current Duke of Braganza. Still, the tiara would not be seen again until the Duke married Isabel de Herédia on May 13, 1995, more than 40 years after Amélie's death. The new Duchess of Braganza perched the grand diadem on top of an elaborate hairstyle with flowers tucked all around for their wedding, the first royal wedding in Portugal since Amélie wed Carlos in 1886.
Amélie (left) and Isabel (right)
The Duke and Duchess of Braganza continue to have close ties to certain monarchies in Europe, and they do attend large royal gatherings. But this is not the tiara we see on the Duchess at those events; so far, she has just worn it in Portugal for their wedding and for official portraits. Luckily, she has others to pick from when a tiara is required (a small diamond bandeau that belonged to the Duke's mother is one option). And though I wish we could see this one more often, the way she uses it does seem a fitting tribute to the tiara's heritage.

Does this earn a spot on your list of favorite diamond tiaras?

Photos: Cardoso/Portuguese Royal House, Leitão & Irmão, Wikimedia Commons