SUPPORT OUR JOURNALISM: Please consider donating to keep our website running and free for all - thank you!


The links between Empress Josephine and two modern symbols of Swedish royalty

The Swedish Royal Family has a knack for jewellery, and that’s especially true of their steel tiaras. There are two steel cut tiaras in their vault: the Steel Cut Tiara and the Steel Cut Bandeau.

The Cut Steel Tiara dates back to Queen Hortense of Holland’s time—she was the granddaughter of Empress Joséphine—and lived as queen consort between 1806 and 1810.

The steel tiara is designed with a nature motif, and its scrolls of floral and leaf elements are entirely cut steel: no gemstones are featured in this sparkler. The steel is supported with a yellow gold frame.

Embed from Getty Images

Queen Hortense never had a daughter of her own, and upon her death, the Cut Steel Tiara was passed along from niece to niece until it wound up in the possession of her niece Josephine, who later became Queen of Sweden.

Queen Josephine was queen consort of Sweden between 1844 and 1859 and was the last wearer of the Cut Steel Tiara for over a century, when Queen Silvia found the tiara in the vaults, forgotten for decades, and decided to wear it again in 1979 after repairing it.

The Cut Steel Tiara has since been worn by Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Princess Christina, Princess Désirée and Princess Lilian.   

The Cut Steel Bandeau is a smaller tiara in the Swedish Royal Family vault, most frequently worn by Crown Princess Victoria, though Princess Sofia and Princess Christina have also worn it.  

Embed from Getty Images

The spherical steel is set atop a base of entwined cut steel in a lattice-work design, and its provenance is unknown. It is accompanied by a matching hair comb piece that can be worn with updos.

The Swedish Royal Family has said that this is a privately owned tiara that does not belong to the wider Bernadotte Foundation that manages the family’s jewels.

Like the Cut Steel Tiara, the bandeau was also hidden away in the vault for about a century before Crown Princess Victoria wore it for the first time in 2012.

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.