08 June 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Khedive of Egypt Tiara, Revisited

With the golden wedding anniversary of Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik approaching, it’s the perfect time to revisit the tiara she wore on her wedding day. We last visited this swirly diamond delight when it made your list of favorites in 2011. Would it make the list again? You tell me.

The Khedive of Egypt Tiara
Princess Margaret of Connaught received this diamond ornament, a Cartier confection of scrolls and wreaths dotted with larger diamonds, as a gift from the Khedive of Egypt when she married Crown Prince Gustav Adolf of Sweden in 1905. A fitting gift, as the couple first met in the Khedive's country. The piece could be used both as a tiara and as a stomacher or dress ornament.

Crown Princess Margaret met a sad end when she died suddenly in 1920 while pregnant with her sixth child. Margaret’s only daughter, Princess Ingrid, was just 10 years old. The Khedive of Egypt Tiara became the main jewel in Ingrid’s inheritance from her mother.

Kulturplakaten, via Wikimedia Commons
Ingrid brought the tiara with her when she married Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, the future Frederik IX, in 1935. Ingrid wore the tiara during her years as princess, her years as queen consort, and her years as queen mother. It remained with her until she passed away in 2000.

While in Queen Ingrid’s possession, the tiara was worn by several other family members. She loaned it to her niece, Sweden’s Princess Margaretha, while she was in Denmark for Queen Margrethe’s 18th birthday celebrations. And then she began a family tradition that continues to this day when she loaned the Khedive to each of her three daughters on their wedding days.

Video: Margrethe and Henrik's wedding, 1967
The bridal tiara tradition began with Ingrid and Frederik’s youngest daughter, 18-year-old Princess Anne-Marie, for her wedding to King Constantine II of Greece in 1964. Discussing this tradition in the documentary De Kongelige Juveler, Princess Benedikte (Ingrid and Frederik’s middle daughter) said, “When my youngest sister, Anne-Marie, married, I think my mother thought it would be suitable to wear as a bride because it’s very pretty, light - it’s not a heavy one - and she was very young. It was suitable. And then, of course, because she had worn it, my eldest sister and I also were allowed to wear it. And of course it was a wonderful thing to wear one’s grandmother’s tiara with the history and all. It was lovely, very lovely.”

All of Queen Ingrid's female descendants have worn this tiara on their wedding days so far: Queen Anne-Marie (1964), Queen Margrethe (1967), Princess Benedikte (1968), Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (1998), Princess Alexia of Greece (1999), Princess Nathalie of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (2011).

Rigmor Mydtskov & Sten Rønne via IMS Vintage Photos, Public Domain
The tiara is not the only family wedding tradition; these brides have also worn the family wedding veil, and some of them have used pieces of special heirloom lace on their dresses. The veil and lace also came from Crown Princess Margaret. (Crown Princess Mary used the veil and lace as well, with her own wedding tiara.) Put them all together, and the Danish royal family might have the most complete set of wedding traditions around.

When Queen Ingrid died, she left jewels at least one tiara to each of her daughters. The Khedive of Egypt Tiara was left to Queen Anne-Marie. Anne-Marie kept the bridal tradition going, loaning the tiara to her niece, Princess Nathalie. Nathalie’s wedding clearly showed the change Queen Anne-Marie made to the tiara. While it previously sat low to the head, it has now been mounted on a taller base. The tall base allows it to float above Anne-Marie’s hairstyle, and also meant that the tiara levitated pretty high above Nathalie’s wedding ‘do.

Close connections and family ties mean that the Greeks – despite being ex-monarchs – have plenty of royal events to attend, and thus have plenty of tiara-wearing opportunities. Queen Anne-Marie favors her Greek tiaras, but the swirling diamond Khedive of Egypt Tiara has made appearances back in Denmark for Queen Margrethe’s 2012 jubilee and for Prince Joachim’s 2008 wedding, among other occasions.

This is a curiously modern and light diadem for a design that it is actually old and heavy with diamonds. Its best purpose might be the one it’s found as a bridal tiara, where the swirls are delicate enough to work with most everything and strong enough to hold their own with a veil. How many more brides will it serve? Time will tell…

So, tell me: Would this make the favorites list today?