May 4, 2012

Tiara Thursday: The Prussian Diamond Tiara

This tiara has popped in and out of our radar as we've trotted along, but I think today it's time to give the most worn Spanish tiara some proper attention. Well, it seems like the most worn one, at least.

The Prussian Diamond Tiara
The star of this tiara is the central tear drop diamond and its surrounding ring. It swings freely in this platinum and diamond tiara from the German jeweler Koch, with Greek motifs all around. At the base sits a row of Greek keys; on top of that, a structure of columns; and on top, laurel leaves. All your basic Greek architecture elements, right there - like having a mini Parthenon sitting on your head.
Princess Victoria Louise (left), and Queen Frederika (right)
Due to its themes, this could be called the Hellenic Tiara, but we're naming it in tribute to its first owner today: Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia. Her father, Kaiser Wilhelm II, gave it to her when she married Prince Ernst August of Hanover in 1913. Victoria Louise sent the tiara home to its Greek roots by gifting it to her daughter Princess Frederika, who married the future King Paul of Greece.
Sofia on her wedding day
Just as she received the tiara from her mother, Frederika gave it to her own daughter. And her own daughter also became queen of another country: Queen Sofia of Spain. Sofia choose it for her wedding tiara.
Queen Sofia
The tiara has since made the rounds of the Spanish royal ladies. The queen has loaned it to both of her daughters, Infanta Elena and Infanta Cristina.
Infanta Cristina (left three), and Infanta Elena (right two)
Elena and Cristina both primarily wore the tiara in their younger years. Elena these days sticks to the tiara she received from her ex-husband's family, and Cristina's favorite seems to be the floral tiara. The most frequent user of the tiara today is Princess Letizia.
Letizia on her wedding day
In what I have speculated before might be the beginning of a Spanish bridal tiara tradition, Queen Sofia loaned the tiara to Letizia for her wedding day (you can see the tiara in action when we discussed her wedding gown). It has since become her most frequently worn tiara, though both Sofia and Cristina have also worn it since Letizia married into the family in 2004.
Princess Letizia
I never know quite what to make of this tiara. In some situations it seems so small since it's not that wide of a piece, but in others, the height makes it seem substantial. Its kokoshnik shape and strong motifs are all very architectural and sturdy, but it's also almost dainty, especially when you see it from angles that aren't straight on. I suppose that this once again comes down to tiara hair: get it right and you're in business, get it wrong and your head is just oddly tall.

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