13 April 2017

Tiara Thursday: Queen Louise's Diamond Tiara

The Swedish royal court announced this week that Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld, husband of King Carl Gustaf's sister Princess Désirée, passed away at the age of 82.
Princess Désirée and Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld
By Frankie Fouganthin - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
I've had the tiara featured below on my list to cover for some time. Since it has connections to this couple, it seemed an appropriate choice for this week.

Queen Louise's Diamond Tiara
This petite v-shaped tiara, featuring diamond scrolls rolling away from a diamond central motif, is not among the Swedish tiaras that we regularly see today, but a group of young princesses made great use of it a few decades ago. Its history dates back at least a generation further.

Queen Louise
It belonged to Queen Louise of Sweden (1889-1965), consort of King Gustaf VI Adolf. She wore it across her forehead in the bandeau fashion popular during the 1920s and 1930s, and atop her head later in life. Louise is one of those royal figures who had a dizzying number of connections to other royal families: born a Princess of Battenberg and later titled Lady Louise Mountbatten, she was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, niece of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, sister of the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, aunt to the Duke of Edinburgh, and on and on. Her romantic history was interesting, too: Louise declined a proposal from the King of Portugal and had two failed secret engagements before Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden came courting. Gustaf Adolf's first wife, Margaret of Connaught (another of Louise's relatives), had died three years earlier. The new couple married in 1923 at the Chapel Royal at St. James' Palace.

Princess Birgitta
As queen consort, Louise had full use of the big pieces in the Swedish tiara collection, so her small tiara got more use as a loaner for the young princesses in the family. Her step-granddaughters, Princesses Margaretha, Birgitta, Désirée, and Christina, all wore the diamond tiara. These four princesses, nicknamed the Haga Princesses because of their upbringing at Haga Palace, are the elder sisters of King Carl XVI Gustaf.

Princess Désirée wears Queen Louise's Diamond Tiara and Princess Margaretha wears the Four Button Tiara on the cover of a book celebrating their respective weddings
Queen Louise gave the tiara as a wedding gift to Princess Désirée in 1964 for her marriage to Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld. Désirée wore the Cameo Tiara for their wedding, and used Queen Louise's Diamond Tiara at their wedding ball. You can read more about their wedding here. Princess Margaretha was married the same month (hence the dual commemorative book above), and you can read more about her wedding here.

Désirée and Niclas at their wedding ball
Each of the Haga Princesses ended up with at least one tiara of their own through gifts from different people: the Swedish Aquamarine Kokoshnik for Margaretha, a pearl tiara for Birgitta, this tiara for Désirée, and the now-stolen Queen Sophia's Diamond and Pearl Tiara for Christina.

Peter Knutson/Kungahuset.se
Since she no longer participates in the regular activities of the Swedish royal family, Désirée does not have a lot of public occasions on which to wear the tiara. For the most recent big family weddings, she has borrowed larger tiaras from the Swedish family collection: Queen Josephine's Amethyst Tiara for Crown Princess Victoria's wedding and the Cut Steel Tiara for Prince Carl Philip's and Princess Madeleine's weddings. Queen Louise's Diamond Tiara hasn't gone ignored, though; Princess Désirée wore it to her brother's birthday dinner in 2016. 

Who do you think wore this one best?