Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden stole the show in a stunning tiara during her father King Carl XVI Gustaf’s 70th birthday celebrations in April. The heir to the Swedish throne dazzled in the Laurel Wreath Tiara that once belonged to her dad’s aunt, Princess Lilian. In December, her younger sister Princess Madeleine wore the Aquamarine Tiara to the gala dinner for the Nobel Prize winners in Stockholm.
The 38-year-old’s tiara has a special meaning and can be worn both as a tiara and as a necklace, just like other tiaras belonging to the Bernadotte family. However, the headpiece is not an easy to wear. The diadem’s unusual vertical shape and design, uses open space around its central diamond, so the wearer has to be very confident that her hair, along with every other visible supporting detail, are absolutely right.
The tiara was made by the French jeweler Boucheron. The diamonds in the tiara was set in silver and gold and was first seen early in the 20th century. It is believed to be one of the two pieces made by the jeweler.
A strikingly similar tiara was auctioned by Christie’s and sold for $83,170 in 2010. Frederic Boucheron, who was the person behind designs of the jewelry, focused on gem-set pieces, known as 'joaillerie', rather than 'bijouterie', which used decorative materials such as glass, enamel or animal horn that was done by his rival Lalique. Victoria’s tiara features a design inspired by laurel wreath, which was fashionable among aristocrats at this time, reflecting their interest in the newly revived Olympic Games.
The Laurel Wreath Tiara was given as a gift to Princess Margaret of Connaught from her Swedish paternal grandmother in 1905. After the death of the princess in 1920, her son Prince Bertil inherited the piece of jewelry. Bertil, who was Carl Gustaf’s uncle, gave it to his Welsh model wife Lilian before their wedding.
Though Bertil and Lilian loved each other, they could not marry after his brother died in a plane crash in 1947. According to Swedish custom, if he had to become a regent of the infant Carl Gustaf, he could not marry his divorced commoner lady love. Both Bertil and Lilian accepted the duty and later Carl Gustaf asked them to get married in 1976, after 29 years of wait.
Lilian started wearing the tiara much before their wedding. But the Bernadotte clan was also very warm and welcoming to the princess, who with Bertil guided the young family. The princess, who was known as a style icon, left the tiara to Victoria in her will.
The crown princess wore it to her sister’s wedding in 2013. However, it remains to be seen for royal fans whether the second-in-line to the Swedish throne, four-year-old Princess Estelle will one day wear the same tiara. Estelle is the first child of Victoria and her husband Prince Daniel.