After the Bourbon Restoration, especially once she was dauphine, Marie Thérèse required many a parure to suit her rank. Most of these jewels were lost, dismantled or sold, much like the 18th Century French Monarchy. (That simile was weak! Sorry.) I wasn’t sure what to call this tiara, it exists no longer so why give it a name? Wow, I take issue with the Tiara Nomenclature Task Force right now! I’ve listed it as Marie Térèse’s Favorite Tiara but we could also call it her diamond tiara or the Duchesse d’Anglomêne Diamond Tiara. There’s much semantics with which we can play.
The former Madame Royale’s favorite piece of diamond gear indeed has dissipated in the wind. Painted portraits that remain from the French Bourbon dynasty are as scarce as the crown jewels. Keeping that in mind, there supposedly exists only one image of the Duchesse d’Angoulême in her favorite tiara. It hangs in the Museum at Versailles. (Yes, it’s the one on the left there. Go you! So smart! That’s why you’re a reader here!)
The story behind the tiara is a bit sweet. The diamond diadem was part of a parure belonging to the French Crown jewels. When the inventory of the crown jewels was regulated by the government in 1818, Marie Térèse had to return the parure. She voiced her sadness to her uncle, expressing the wish to keep her favorite tiara. King Louis XVIII made a deal in which he’d return the original diamonds but keep the diadem frame, swapping in new diamonds. The switcheroo ran King Louis 333,962 francs back in the day. (Do not ask me what that is now, as you’re all aware, I’m not an economist.) After that the diadem became the Duchesse d’Angoulême’s personal property.
Nobody has the slightest as to its whereabouts now. Marie Térèse had no children. (A solid decision being married to her first cousin and all.) If you’re a betting girl, taking odds that the Duchesse d’Angoulême Diamond Tiara is still floating around out there isn’t even a long shot. It would just be a waste of a bet.
What I find interesting about all the portraits of Marie Térèse is that she appears to be wearing her Diamond Tiara in every portrayal. If my calculations are correct, that would certainly make it her favorite, not to mention taking Gros’ portrait down a peg. No, there there isn’t only one! (Why have I been on a “Highlander” kick as of late? And why would a painting have an ego?)
I admit to outlandish speculation in the past, but I think this one’s got a good chance of being true. The tiara Marie Térèse wears in each of the three portraits sure look like the same one. It must be her favorite diamond diadem.
What do you think? Is it the same tiara?