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The tiara that became emblematic of an historic queen

Queen Margrethe II Portrait

For what may well be her last tiara appearance of her life as Monarch, Queen Margrethe II chose one of the most significant jewellery pieces in the Danish vault. And it was the tiara worn by Margrethe II in the first official photo of her following her accession in 1972. It has been emblematic of her historic reign for over half a century.

Nicknamed the “Pearl Poiré Tiara” from the shape of the gems, the piece is one with a most fascinating history. It is widely believed to have been originally created in 1825 as a wedding gift for Princess Louise of Prussia, as she married Prince Frederik of the Netherlands. 

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The tiara resided in Dutch land until the death of its original owner in 1870, when now-Queen Louise left it to her only remaining daughter, another Louise; however, the latter passed away from pneumonia shortly after her mother, and never even had a chance to properly count the tiara amongst her possessions. 

The second Louise only had one daughter, Princess Lovisa of Sweden and Norway, who married Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark in 1869, taking with her the tiara, which has been in the Danish Royal Family ever since now. Queen Lovisa put the tiara and accompanying jewels in the family trust, ensuring that the pieces could not be sold or otherwise separated. 

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Yes, pieces, plural: the parure was created as a “married parure”, meaning that jewels that were not created together. The tiara originally was only accompanied by a brooch with five pearl pendents. They are used together by virtue of similar shapes or gemstones.

In this case, Queen Lovisa began wearing the tiara and brooch set with the pearl and diamond necklace she had received as a wedding gift from the Khedive of Egypt, as well as a pair of earrings made from two of the necklace’s pendants. Later on, she also added a second brooch to the set: a pearl and diamond cluster brooch, which is believed to originally have been the clasp of the necklace she had received as a wedding gift from Tsar Alexander III and his wife, a sister to Lovisa’s husband, Frederik.

As an interesting side note, the original tiara and brooch set had a twin, which was believed to have been gifted by King Friedrich Wilhem of Prussia to Princess Marianne of the Netherlands for her marriage to her son Prince Albrecht, a brother to the original Princess Louise. However, the whereabouts of this second set are currently unknown; it was last seen on Princess Marianne’s granddaughter, Duchess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who passed away in 1944. 

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The Pearl Poiré Tiara is currently only worn by the Queen, and is considered the “big” diadem of the Danish royal vault; Queen Margrethe has worn it for numerous portraits, as well as several of the New Year’s reception. One of the most memorable appearances was at the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel in 2010, as well as a banquet in honour of newly-proclaimed King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima’s State Visit to Denmark – both countries have ties with the tiara, and the gesture was seen as a fitting tribute to ancient family ties. 

The entire set is expected now to be passed onto the next Queen, Mary, as she takes the throne with her husband Frederik. 

With thanks from Royal Central to Lauren at the ‘Crown Jeweller’ for help with detailed information on the piece.

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