12 May 2016

Tiara Thursday: Queen Alexandrine's Fringe Tiara

Our recent chats about the tiaras at Crown Princess Mary's disposal have given way to a few discussions about a fringe tiara in the Danish royal family. There's one to be found in the extended branches of the family: Queen Alexandrine's Fringe Tiara, featuring rays of diamonds of graduated size with diamond spacers between, is currently worn by Countess Sussie of Rosenborg.
Queen Alexandrine's Fringe Tiara, worn by Countess Sussie
Many fringe tiaras are referred to as Russian tiaras, thanks to their roots as jeweled versions of traditional Russian kokoshnik headdresses, which were popular at the Romanov court. This one actually is a Russian tiara: Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna (1860-1922) received it as a wedding gift from her uncle, Tsar Alexander II, when she married Friedrich Franz III of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in 1879. Anastasia was a fascinating character - after her husband died, she had an illegitimate son fathered by her personal secretary, and was known to enjoy her time at the tables in Monte Carlo - but it is her daughter that gives the tiara the name and royal association by which we know it today.
Queen Alexandrine's Fringe Tiara
Alexandrine Auguste of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1879-1952) married the future King Christian X of Denmark in 1898. Queen Alexandrine inherited this fringe tiara from her mother and wore it often, both in the stylish bandeau style across her forehead in her earlier years and atop her head in the traditional manner later on.
Anastasia Mikhailovna (left) wearing a fringe tiara that may be this one; Alexandrine (right)
It is thanks to Queen Alexandrine that we associate this tiara with the Danish royal family, but it didn't stay in the ruling branch very long. She left it to her son, Prince Knud (who actually was next in line for the throne for a time, until the laws were changed to permit female succession), and it was worn by his wife, Princess Caroline-Mathilde (1912-1995). It is now with their son, Count Ingolf of Rosenborg, and is worn by his second wife, Countess Sussie. Princess Elisabeth, Ingolf's sister, has also had occasion to wear the tiara. Big Danish royal events often include the extended family, so we have plenty of opportunities to see this in use, and I think Countess Sussie wears it very well indeed.
Video: Gala performance for Queen Margrethe's 70th Birthday, 2010. Zoom ahead to 4:57 for a glittering view of this tiara in action.
Diamond fringe tiaras have a tendency to look like clones of one another in their simplest form, but Queen Alexandrine's version puts an interesting spin on the basic design. The tallest pieces are almost like the rays of Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik Tiara in a more spaced out arrangement, with their diamonds of graduated size. The smaller pieces between are noticeable in a photograph of the tiara alone, but disappear when in use. The spaces they create give the tiara a lighter, more airy feel than many of its fellow fringe designs. I adore the fringe tiara in its most classic format above all, but this variation has a lot of appeal.

Where does this fall on your list of favorite fringe tiaras?

Photos: DR