March 18, 2012

Sunday Special-Tiaras lost and found

Tiaras are so delightful, aren't they? (Stupid question.) They're just sparkly and happy. But the truth is, they can be frustrating too. Namely, they have this annoying tendency to disappear. Wonderful pieces can go unseen for decades or more, leaving those of us not in the know to wonder: where did they go? We file them under the "lost" category, even though they aren't often actually lost or forgotten.

Thursday  we talked about the Ruby Peacock Tiara, just one example of a tiara declared missing in action that came back to delight us once again. Today, a quick glance at a few more diadems that have resurfaced in the past few years.

The Delhi Durbar Tiara
Queen Mary (left), the Duchess of Cornwall (right)
The Delhi Durbar Tiara, created for Queen Mary to wear to the celebration of her husband's coronation in India, was a Mary favorite. She gave it to Queen Elizabeth (the future Queen Mother), who wore it in the 1940s and then tucked it away for the rest of her life. Jaws dropped when it showed up on top of the Duchess of Cornwall's head for her first tiara appearance after her wedding to the Prince of Wales - and it hasn't been seen since then. It's a classic example of a collection that is larger than the number of ladies using it, so that pieces that aren't to someone's taste get pushed to the back. The same could be said for Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara (unseen from Princess Anne's first wedding until after the Queen Mother's death) or the Halo Scroll Tiara (unseen from Princess Anne's youth until the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge), and it's what keeps us hoping that other mystery gems might still be hanging around somewhere in the British royal palaces.

The Brunswick Tiara
Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia (left), Princess Caroline of Monaco a.k.a. the Princess of Hanover (right)
Perhaps the same could be said for the disappearance of the famous Brunswick Tiara. The diadem that once adorned the head of the Empress Jos├ęphine made its way to the hands of Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia, who used it well. But it went unseen for a long time when her grandson Ernst August inherited the Prince of Hanover title. Perhaps his first wife just didn't like it, as his second wife - Caroline of Monaco - gave it another spin at the wedding of the Crown Prince of Denmark in 2004.

Queen Sophie's Diamond Tiara
Queen Frederika of Greece (left), Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece (right)
Taking into consideration the number of royal families in exile these days plus the number of jewel sales that go on, we must be forgiven for often wondering if missing tiaras have gone on the auction block, or have been sold privately. Such was the case with Queen Sophie's gigantic diamond tiara, a firm favorite of Queen Frederika of Greece, but not seen after her last tiara events. Even though Queen Anne-Marie was said to have stated it would be back, people wondered. And then - it was back! Princess Marie-Chantal made my tiara year straight off the bat back in January when she brought this monster out to play for Queen Margrethe's big jubilee. Delicious, though we still have no actual explanation for why it took so long to reappear.

The Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara
Princess Sibylla of Sweden (left), Princess Margaretha of Sweden (right)
Same song, different country: Sweden's Princess Sibylla gave her kokoshnik tiara studded with huge aquamarines to her daughter, Princess Margaretha. She wore it in her younger years, and her daughter wore it to her wedding in 1997, but then it went unseen. Many speculated that it might have been sold - until she turned up at her niece Crown Princess Victoria's wedding and showed us all.

The Ancona Tiara
Princess Lydia, Duchess of Genoa (left), and the Duchess of Castro (right)
And finally, sometimes things really do end up in a sale - making the surprise extra delightful when we get to see them again. Such is the case with the diamond and pearl Ancona Tiara, which was sold after traveling down one branch of the Italian Two Sicilies family. Turns out, it was purchased by the wealthy Crociani family - and Camilla Crociani happens to be married to the Duke of Castro (himself a claimant to the head of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies). Much like the Brunswick Tiara, it made a happy reentry to the royal world at the wedding of Frederik and Mary.

There are many, many more examples of tiaras lost and found out there. But let me ask you this...

Which currently "lost" tiara would you most like to be "found"?

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