tiara time: the Connaught tiara

diamond connaught tiara

Good Morning Beloved Readers! [Well, it’s morning here.] Perhaps you recall last week when the Khedive of Egypt tiara was featured and we all contemplated that lovely oil portrait of

crown-princess-margaret-Connaught-tiara-Khedive-tiara-as-stomacher.jpeg

How can one be so sad whilst wearing two tiaras?

Margaret of Connaught when she was Crown-Princess of Sweden. Yeah, that’s the one over there. Many of you remarked upon her melancholy aura, while it’s undeniably obvious it’s also baffling. The lovely princess is wearing not one but two tiaras! How can one girl look so sad when she’s wearing both the Khedive of Egypt and the Connaught Tiaras? Both of which, coincidentally, were wedding gifts.

Made by E. Wolff & Company, the tiara also hails by the monikers “the Forget-Me-Not Tiara” and later on as “Princess Sibylla’s Tiara.” The slanting looped halo of diamonds is yet another specimen from the Bernadotte Collection. The Connaught Tiara has 5 loops of forget-me-not wreaths, a diamond pendant dangling in the center of each. Alternating with the loops we have upside-down bows. Yeah I know…why upside down? You weren’t the only one who was thinking it. From connaught tiara inverted bowsthese inverted knots sprout more flowers, (left) each blossoming a sparking diamond. Forget-me-knots symbolize ‘love everlasting,’ making it an incredibly appropriate tiara for a wedding gift. I’m sorry, I’ve got to ask, what would constitute an inappropriate tiara for a wedding? What flower represents love that perishes so quickly it can be annulled rather than divorced? That would be one mean tiara. The Duke and Duchess of Connaught gave the diadem to their daughter Princess Margaret of Connaught (guess the mystery of the name is over) in honor of her wedding to then-Crown Prince Gustav Adolf of Sweden in 1905.

silvia and margaret in connaught as necklace collageWhen Crown Princess Margaret died in 1920, it became property of the Swedish crown, the Bernadotte Foundation, unlike the Khedive of Egypt which was given directly to her daughter Ingrid and subsequently bounced around Europe. The future King Gustavus VI married Louise of Battenberg but his second wife never wore the tiara, perhaps out of respect for the early departed Margaret. Margaret’s son, the Crown Prince-in-waiting Gustav Adolf, gave the tiara to his fiancée Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha as a wedding present. If you receive a gift before the actual wedding, especially from your betrothed, doesn’t that make it an engagement gift? Semantics…

Yet another transformer tiara, the Connaught can be removed from the frame and inverted to wear as the statement of all bib necklaces. Given how infrequently the Connaught has been seen in the mega-bib incarnation, we’re guessing the weight is herniating. (left: Crown Princess Margaret and Queen Silvia brave potential whiplash and wear it bib-style.)

For the love of god click to enlarge the montages!

We’ll return to the Connaught’s transformative properties in a bit, but let’s stay on topic, something you all know presents extensive difficulty for your Blog Hostess. Picture it, Sweden,1932. (What’s a tiara story without a Golden Girls reference?) Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Sibylla were both great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria, then again, who isn’t? Though heir to the throne, Gustav and Sibylla never enjoyed the titles of Crown Prince and Princess thanks to his grandfather Gustaf V’s lengthy reign, lasting 43 years until 1950, when his father Gustaf VI ascended the throne. Tragically, Prince Gustaf died three years earlier in a plane crash just over Copenhagen in 1947. Their only son, Carl Gustaf, became second-in-line to the throne at the age of nine months and, later, Crown Prince at the age of four.

sibylla of sweden in connaught tiara

(l to r) at the Greek Royal wedding in 19–; conversing with a laureate at the 1964 Nobel Prizes; regal in ermine and that amazing emerald necklace; at the same event with Princesses Blank and Blank and, finally,Sibylla just being Sibylla.

After her stepmother-in-law Queen Louise died in 1965, Sibylla became the senior Royal Princess of Sweden, ie. the de-facto Queen, acting in a supporting role for her father-in-law, King Gustaf VI Adolf.  As that tertiary moniker suggests, the Connaught tiara was a favorite of Princess Sibylla’s and she wore it masterfully no matter which role she took on at court.princess desiree in connaught tiara

Sibylla died in Stockholm of cancer less than a year before her son ascended to the throne, and well before King Carl Gustaf met Silvia Sommerlath. Just like her mother, Princess Désirée (left) followed Swedish tradition and sidled in as de facto Queen for her bachelor younger brother. A great job benefit being that you alone get to play with all of the tiaras in the m—f—ing Bernadotte Foundation? Wow. We think we need a cigarette after that daydream.

The tiara’s most high-profile role being the wedding choice for Princess Christina’s wedding to Tord Magnuson in 1974. Ah the 70s sunglasses-with-formal-wear look!

Princess Christina of Sweden Wedding

Many a wedding album of my aunts and uncles–and yes–my parents all are vogue-ing that same look. (Yes. It’s true. Your Blog Hostess actually is descended from people who think transparent orange frames go with white tie! *shudder* Now you know our secret.) The Connaught Diamond Tiara has also appeared on Princess Christina and Princess Louise, both in the pre- and post-Silvia years.

princesses chrisina, désirée and lilian connaught tiara

(L. to R.) Princess Christina, a more recent photo of Princess Désirée, and Princess Lillian

Taken at one of the Danish Royal Weddings (if memory serves), don’t you just love that in-depth conversation Christina’s having with her cocktail. She’s also looking smart having paired the Forget-Me-Not tiara with the Napoleonic Amethysts.

silvia at her pre-wedding galaAs is the trend with royals allowed to marry plebians nowadays, most of their brides receive the utmost status of commoner-in-royal-headgear the day of her wedding. (Kate, Leticia, Mette-Marit, the list goes on…) This bourgeoisie state lasts from however long the bridal toilette endures until they leave the Cathedral, now a “highness” of some form or another. Naturally, Silvia, such a fashion-innovator in the realms of formal wear, up-dos and diadems, rises to a different circle of élite: she wore the Connaught to her pre-wedding gala. (right.) As usual, she looks adorable. *sigh* Silvia was a civilian when she got out of bed and still a burghess when she lie back down that night! (Jealous much? We are!) Of course, we all know what famous tiara Queen Silvia wore on her wedding day…

queen silvia connaught tiara

It’s a hyperbolic understatement to say Queen Silvia has worn the Connaught Tiara a bunch since then. Above we have (from left to right, duh) a formal portrait of a young, young Queen Silvia; an informal portrait of a young Queen Silvia; the Queen at the 2008 Nobel Prizes love that dress; Silvia pairs the tiara with the necklace from the emerald demi-parure, and, lastly, Silvia, taken aback, but stays classy in diamonds and white mink.

transformer tiaras: more than meets the eye!

In addition to the option of inverting the Connaught tiara into that behemothic bib, the drop-pendant diamonds can also be detached from their nest in those 5 looming loops and used on a chain as a necklace or a reallysweet set of dangling earrings. (If Mr. Blog Hostess ever read this, that would be a colossal hint. But since he doesn’t, it’s just wishful thinking. Let’s all wish together.)

connaught diamond tiara necklace earringsare you remembering to click to enlarge? You have no idea how long these take…

(We’re not really whining for recognition. We just vehemently want to enjoy the images. Or at least have a closer look at them.) Above we see Crown Princess Victoria pair the necklace with the Four Button Tiara. This would seem the only time an image was captured with the future queen in any form of the Connaught. Thanks Google search. If you’re so Google, why are your image searches so crappy and mislabeled? Yeah. We said it. Watch Sergey and Larry will strike us down with lighting…heh. Up next we have four photos of the divine Princess Madeleine. The pulchritudinous profile shot supposedly shows the pendant diamonds as earrings but we’re reticent to believe the internet tag labeling this one. ahem, Sergey & Larry get your act together and stop making Vince Vaughn movies already. Third, Princess Madeleine accessorizes with her signature halo, the Aquamarine Bandeau. Next, the princess looking back-from-vacation breezy in a freakin’ sweet frock and lastly the best photo taken of Princess Madeleine ever. It must be! Both last and penultimate pairings feature another of Madeleine’s go-to-favorites: the Modern Fringe Tiara.

connaught tiara sketchAny photo documentation of the younger generation in the Connaught Tiara (as a tiara) is scant at best. Apparently, Crown Princess Victoria has never worn it, her younger sister a mere modicum more. No thanks to those two yutzes in Palo Alto, we only found one tiara event in which the Duchess of Hälsingland wore the Connaught in full form: her sister’s wedding in 2010. And–yes–Princess Madeleine rocked the hell out of it.

princess madeliene at swedish royal wedding 2010

the “never-fail combo”: luminous highlights and an heirloom tiara

Now it’s your turn to berate me…just kidding. That never happens here.

This is one of those polarizing corona: people either seem to love it or hate it. the Marmite of royal gear… I’ve heard the Connaught likened to the barbed wire atop a chain-link fence and regarded as some sort of perilous mountain range. We’re on the fence for this one. If we had our choice of tiaras, this diadem wouldn’t top the list but we wouldn’t turn it away as a gift, either. Now the hefty bib incarnation falls in style with all those statement necklaces that are so en vogue.(We’d try it.)

What’s your take on the Connaught “Convertible” Tiara? I think Princess Christina wore it best, with a nice poof up-do to back it up. Silvia does a good job too…is the secret all about placement or hairstyle? Or the couture with which one wears it?

We want to hear your opinions! Really!

This blog isn’t supposed to be just a love-affair with our own voice!

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About ♔ la dauphiine ♔

Connecticut-based jewelry monger, history buff, Mets fan. On the hum-drum side, call me a lauded poet, novelist and ghost-writer. (That's right, I haunt prose.)
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8 Responses to tiara time: the Connaught tiara

  1. Angelyn says:

    Princess Madeleine wears it best–shield maiden Viking princess style. Princess Victoria comes off second best. Isn’t that Princess Alice (Prince Philip’s mum) in the nun’s habit?

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    • You know, I forgot to write down who it was in that photo and then when it came time to caption it, I could only remember that it was at the Greek royal wedding and the nun was somebody royal. Yet another one of my classic gaffes!

      That’s the long way of saying, “Yes, it probably is Princess Alice if she became a nun.” As she’s a mother, did she take her orders later in life? Are there many royals who become nuns?

      (This is a topic about which I know little. The only case I knew of prior to this was in the Arthurian legends!)

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  2. Wonderful series on tiaras. I think Silvia was really a beautiful tiara wearer. Are the tiaras in the foundation called Bernadotte for the French officer who was adopted by the Sweden as their monarch? Do the tiaras date back to that time in history (Napoleon era)? Would Bernadotte’s wife Desiree have worn one of the tiaras?

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    • Yes! The foundation is named after Jean Baptiste, the Swedish royal family is known as the “House of Bernadotte,” he’s considered the founder…or whatever the first monarch in a new royal house is called. 😛

      Double yes! Many of the tiaras are MEGA-old, gifts given to Josephine’s granddaughter, let’s call her Josephine of Leuchtenberg for clarity. The Cameo Tiara, the Leuchtenberg Sapphire Parure, the Napoleonic Amethyst Parure and many others arrived in Sweden when Josephine of Leuchtenberg married Oscar I, Bernadotte and Desiree’s son. I believe some of the tiaras were given to Josephine’s mother, Augusta of Bavaria but I’d have to look back on those previous posts.

      Tiaras actually came back in style during Napoleonic France, called neo-classical because prior to that they were ancient Greek and Roman adornments. A good example being that Marie Antoinette didn’t wear a tiara but her daughter Marie Therese did.

      Thank you for such an academic comment and question! That’s the kind of banter we like to see around here!

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  3. I don’t think that Princess Sibylla wore a tiara at her wedding and the pictures of her with a veil are her wearing traditional court dress.

    Also, in the picture of Queen Silvia wearing the red kimono dress she’s actually wearing a ruby tiara also given to Crown Princess Margareta as a wedding gift.

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    • Hi Melissa, thank you for your comment.

      If you had read more carefully, you’ll see that we did not post–nor claim to post–a photo of Sibylla on her wedding, mainly because she was not wearing the Connaught Tiara. What we did say was that she received it as a wedding gift.

      Thank you for pointing out what we already knew, that the dress we labelled simply “regal in ermine” is a court dress not a wedding dress. Nobody wears ermine for a wedding. Again, we did not say those were wedding photos. We appreciate constructive criticism but only if it shows good reading comprehension.

      Yes–you finally get to be right–that was the Edward VI Wedding gift tiara. (Somes also referred to as the “Connaught Diamond and Ruby Tiara.” We prefer it when the tiaras are named after who gave them, don’t you? Either way, we have taken out the picture that offended you so. We hope this meets with your approval.

      Again, thank you for your comment and feel free to fact-check the rest of my blog. We enjoy free labor.

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  4. I have to agree with the barbed wire comment. It would not be my favorite, but I would never say that to anyone offering said tiara. I would pop that on and never take it off. I do think very open tiaras like this need that poof of hair behind them. Otherwise, they fade into the background.. as much as Diamonds can fade which isn’t much.

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    • Good point. Those “open air” tiaras do look much better with a good updo to back them up. Otherwise they tend to look tchotchke, like a beauty pageant tiara.

      Thanks for your comment, the part about “fading diamonds” gave me a nice mid-morning chuckle. Hope to see you around here more, Ashlea!

      Like

it's not just a love-affair with my own voice

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