27 August 2015

Tiara Thursday: Princess Chichibu's Honeysuckle Tiara

Princess Chichibu's Honeysuckle Tiara, as worn by Empress Michiko

This is the third of the tiaras currently at Empress Michiko's disposal to be covered here (previously: the Imperial Chrysanthemum Tiara and the Meiji Scroll Tiara) and I find it to be the most delicately designed of the three. The tiara features diamond honeysuckle or palmette motifs with large diamonds at the top and in the center, separately by diamond loops filled by lines of diamonds in graduated sizes.
Prince and Princess Chichibu, who wears this tiara
The tiara was worn by Setsuko, Princess Chichibu (1909-1995), who was married to Prince Chichibu, the second son of Emperor Taishō and Empress Teimei. She wore for their wedding photo in 1928 (above), and it may have been a gift to her when she married into the imperial family. Giving tiaras to incoming brides is still a tradition today, and much like those given now, it appears that there was originally a matching necklace and probably a full parure to go along with the diadem. Princess Chichibu was the aunt of the current emperor, Akihito, and the tiara has been worn by Empress Michiko in recent years.
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko
Princess Chichibu's Honeysuckle Tiara stands apart from the other two tiaras in the collection of the Empress because it is the only one not traditionally reserved for empresses, but it shares the same all white color scheme as the rest of the imperial tiaras. This basic honeysuckle/palmette design has been a popular tiara motif over the years, in examples such as the Gloucester Honeysuckle Tiara and royal newcomer Princess Sofia's Emerald and Diamond Tiara, though I find that this one has a special lightness to its design. It's currently out of commission, so to speak, because Empress Michiko stopped wearing tiaras a few years ago (the weight is thought to be hard on her - I believe she has back/neck issues).

How do you rate this version of a honeysuckle tiara?

Photos: via Getty Images, Wikimedia Commons/Imperial Household Agency, Thai Monarchy