As Norway’s first queen consort since 1938, Queen Sonja brought back the spectacle and glamour of a queen when her husband, King Harald, came to the throne in January 1991.
As a major representative of Norway, both home and abroad, Queen Sonja has many majestic tiaras at her disposal. Today, we’re going to look at some of her most magnificent jewels.
Maltese Cross TiaraEmbed from Getty Images
Composed of four diamond Maltese crosses on a diamond bandeau frame, the Maltese Cross Tiara originated in the United Kingdom as a tiara for Queen Alexandra following the death of Edward VII. It was designed to look similar to the George IV State Diadem, and its four crosses are detachable to be worn in different configurations. It also featured four fleur-de-lys settings that were later removed.
After Queen Alexandra died in 1925, the tiara made its way to her daughter, Queen Maud of Norway. Most famously, Queen Maud wore the tiara at the 1937 coronation of her nephew, George VI. When she died the following year in the United Kingdom, her jewels were with her and did not return to Norway until 1953. Queen Sonja typically wears this intriguing tiara with three crosses on the bandeau and the fourth as a brooch or just the diamond bandeau base.
Modern Gold Parure TiaraEmbed from Getty Images
Queen Sonja received this golden tiara on her 60th birthday in 1997 from King Harald. This modern tiara is set in yellow gold, a rarity, and features diamonds set in gold with a detachable centre piece that Queen Sonja has used with a topaz, a tourmaline, and a larger gold and diamond setting.
The tiara also comes with multiple parure sets to mimic the central stone, including necklaces and earrings. Queen Sonja has, so far, been the only Norwegian royal to wear this tiara.
Norwegian Amethyst Parure TiaraEmbed from Getty Images
Yet another gift from her husband, Queen Sonja received the Norwegian Amethyst parure, which includes the tiara (which can be worn as a necklace, as well), earrings, a brooch, and a necklace that can be worn as two bracelets.
A simpler design than some of the other tiaras in her collection, this is simply amethysts and diamonds in a traditional setting. Queen Sonja has worn it both as a tiara and a necklace and has since loaned it out to her daughter-in-law on an almost exclusive basis, though Princess Märtha Louise has also worn the tiara, as well.
Norwegian Emerald Parure TiaraEmbed from Getty Images
This magnificent tiara has a storied history behind it. Created, possibly for Empress Joséphine, in the early 1800s, the Norwegian Emerald Parure Tiara was made by French jewellers Bapst and features geometrically shaped emeralds set in a more modern pattern of diamonds atop a base of gold and silver.
It came to Norway by way of Sweden, through Empress Joséphine’s granddaughter, Queen Josephine of Sweden and Norway. Princess Märtha of Sweden, who married her cousin, Crown Prince Olav of Norway, received the tiara as a wedding present from her parents, and, upon her death, it was handed down to Princess Astrid, who often acted as the first lady of Norway with her father until Sonja married her brother, Harald.
Since then, Queen Sonja has made this one of her most popular tiaras, being the only royal who currently wears it. Despite its long history in the country, she is the first Queen of Norway to actually wear the Norwegian Emerald Parure Tiara.
Queen Josefina’s Diamond TiaraEmbed from Getty Images
The Queen Josephine Diamond Tiara is one of the oldest pieces in the Norwegian Royal Family’s jewel vaults and can be traced back to the 1800s when it was worn by Queen Josephine of Norway and Sweden. The Queen Josephine Diamond Tiara is one that is currently only worn by Queen Sonja, and it is a floral and laurel-style diamond tiara that is mounted on a gold and silver base.
It was previously worn by Princess Astrid when she acted as the first lady of the Norwegian court after her mother, Princess Märtha, passed away. Once Queen Sonja married into the family in 1968, she became its exclusive wearer.
Queen Maud’s Pearl TiaraEmbed from Getty Images
Queen Maud, then Princess Maud, received this tiara from her parents, Edward VII and Alexandra, upon her wedding day in 1896, and wore it as one of her main tiaras after she became Queen of Norway in 1905.
She wore it regularly until her death in 1938, and then her jewels were held in the United Kingdom until 1953 (they were kept there for safety during the Second World War and were not reunited with the Norwegian royals until a state visit to the newly-crowned Queen Elizabeth II).
Queen Sonja wore the tiara afterwards with great regularity, however, in 1995, she sent this tiara, along with several other small jewels, to London to be cleaned at Garrard. While it was in London, it was stolen. Garrard created a replica tiara that is now used by Queen Sonja and the other royal women.
Vifte TiaraEmbed from Getty Images
The Vitfe Tiara is a petite fan-shaped tiara (vitfe is Norwegian for ‘fan’) that originates, again, with Queen Maud. The future Queen of Norway reportedly received this tiara as an 18th birthday present from her grandmother, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and brought it to Norway upon her marriage.
The tiny diamond tiara can be transformed into a necklace and has mainly been worn by Queen Sonja and Crown Princess Mette-Marit as such.