The Norwegian Royal Tiaras reveal a wonderful snapshot of Norway’s history, some more than 200 years old and one just 20 years old. The tiaras also provide its close links with the country’s neighbors. Learn more about the royal tiaras of Norway.
The Emerald Parure is a magnificent tiara thought to have originated from Empress Joséphine, first wife of Napoléon. It was made by French jewelers Bapst and was given to her granddaughter, Queen Josephine of Sweden and Norway and was worn by her daughter-in-law and successor, Queen Sofia.
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 it 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 Maud’s Pearl and Diamond Tiara was a wedding gift to the queen in 1896 from her parents Edward VII and Alexandra. The large piece features an intricate design on a base of collets between two rows of diamonds with diamond uprights, interchangeable with turquoises, on top.
It was worn by Queen Maud at the 1902 Coronation of her father, King Edward VII and it was one of her main tiaras after she became Queen of Norway in 1905. She wore it regularly until her death in 1938. It was held in the United Kingdom until 1953 (kept there for safety during the World War II). It was reunited with the Norwegian royals at a state visit to the newly-crowned Queen Elizabeth II.
Queen Sonja wore the tiara regularly afterwards and sent it along with several small jewels to London to be cleaned at Garrard. It was stolen and Garrard had to create a replica that is now used by Queen Sonja and other women of the royal Norwegian family. The replica worn as a bridal tiara by Princess Martha Louise in 2002.
Princess Ingeborg’s Boucheron Circle Tiara is a delicate tiara of interlocking diamond circles set in platinum, with diamond and pearl button elements that were later additions to the piece. Made by Boucheron around 1900 and purchased by Prince Carl of Sweden for his wife, Princess Ingeborg. Later passed down to her granddaughter, Princess Ragnhild, and now likely still owned by her descendants.
Worn by Princess Ingeborg of Sweden, Crown Princess Martha, Princess Margaretha of Denmark, and Princess Ragnhild.
Queen Alexandra’s Turquoise Circlet was left to Queen Maud, who wore it at the pre-wedding of her only son, future King Olav V, in 1929. While the Pearl Tiara, Maltese Circlet, and Vifte Tiara went to King Harald and Queen Sonja, the Turquoise Circlet Tiara was inherited by Princess Astrid in 1968, when her grandmother’s jewels were divided between the three children of King Olav.
This is Princess Astrid’s grandest Tiara, and worn for important occasions along with turquoise jewels that were a wedding gift to Queen Maud. Princess Astrid wore it in an official portrait released to mark her 85th Birthday.
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The Maltese Circlet originated in the United Kingdom as a tiara for Queen Alexandra following the death of Edward VII. After Queen Alexandra died in 1925, the tiara was handed over to her daughter, Queen Maud of Norway. Queen Maud wore the tiara at the 1937 coronation of her nephew, George VI. The jewels were with her when she died the following year and did not return to Norway until 1953. Now, Queen Sonja typically wears the intriguing tiara on special occasions.
When King Harald came to the throne in January 1991, his wife Queen Sonja bought back the glittering tiara from Norway’s first queen consort since 1938. Today, Queen Sonja has many spectacular tiaras at her disposal.
The history, however, leads way back to 1911, when the parure was lent to Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden, Queen Sofia’s granddaughter-in-law, for the coronation of her cousin, King Geroge V in London. At her death in 1912, Queen Sofia left the Emerald jewel to her third daughter-in-law, Princess Ingeborg. In 1937. She loaned the parure to her daughter, who had become Crown Princess Martha of Norway. During World War II, when Princess Martha had fled to Sweden to escape the Nazis, Princess Ingeborg gave the parure to her daughter, telling her to “sell the valuable heirloom jewels if her family should face a financial crisis.”
The tiara is said to be the grandest tiara in the Norwegian Royal collection, and today, Queen Sonja is the sole wearer of the piece and only wears it for the most important events.
Norwegian Amethyst Parure Tiara is another gift to Queen Sonja from her husband. It is a simpler design than some of the other of the queen’s tiaras with amethysts and diamonds in a traditional setting. Queen Sonja has worn it both as a tiara and a necklace. The tiara has been loaned out to her daughter-in-law on an almost exclusive basis, but Princess Märtha Louise has also worn it.
Queen Josefina’s Diamond Tiara is composed of floral motifs and laurel wreaths depicted in diamonds and mounted in gold and silver. It was depicted on Queen Josephine of Sweden and Norway in 1849 and might have been worn at her wedding in 1823. In 1876, the Diamond Tiara was left to her granddaughter, who became Queen Louise of Denmark. Queen Louise left it to her unmarried son, Prince Gustav, who loaned it to his sister, Princess Thyra, and niece, Crown Princess Martha of Norway, eventually leaving it to her in 1944. It has also been worn by Princess Astrid, but since 1968 it has been worn exclusively (albeit rarely) by Queen Sonja.
The Vifte Tiara is a small fan-shaped tiara (vitfe is Norwegian for ‘fan’) that originates 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.
King Olav’s Gift Tiara is made of scattered diamonds ears of wheat, topped by a row of small pearls. It was given to Princess Martha Louise as an eighteenth-birthday present in 1989 by King Olav V. It has been worn by Princess Martha and Queen Sonja.
The Modern Gold Parure Tiara was a 60th birthday gift to Queen Sonja from King Harald in 1997. This modern tiara is a rarity with diamonds set in yellow gold with a detachable center piece with multiple parure sets to mimic the central stone. Queen Sonja has, so far, been the only Norwegian royal to wear this tiara,
The Diamond Daisy Bandeau, a low-profile tiara of diamond daisies set within individual diamond halos, was given to Crown Princess Mette-Marit as a wedding present in 2001 by King Harald V and Queen Sonja. The Diamond Daisy Bandeau was made ca. 1910.
Queen Sofia’s Gold Bandeau is a tiara made of gold and set with semi-precious gemstones, accompanied by additional coordinating pieces to form a parure. Originally owned by Queen Sofia of Sweden and Norway. Later in the collection of Princess Ingeborg of Sweden, and presently owned and worn by her granddaughter, Princess Astrid.
Princess Astrid’s Diamond Feather Aigrette is a small aigrette element of diamond-set feathered wings, worn atop a slim frame (also used with the Ruby and Diamond Aigrette).
The Feather Aigrette is reportedly from the collection of Queen Maud. Presently owned and wore by Princess Astrid.
Princess Astrid’s Ruby and Diamond Aigrette is a small aigrette of ruby and diamond “antennae” elements, worn atop a slim frame (also used with the Diamond Feather Aigrette). Presently owned and worn by Princess Astrid.
The Vasa Tiara is a diamond and platinum Art Deco tiara, featuring the heraldic symbol of Sweden’s Vasa dynasty, able to be worn both atop the head and low across the forehead.
The tiara is made by C. F. Carlman and presented to Crown Princess Martha as a wedding gift by the city of Stockholm in 1929. Later inherited by her daughter, Princess Astrid. Worn by Crown Princess Martha, Princess Ragnhild, and Princess Astrid.
The Royal Tiaras of Norway, compiled by Tor Kjolberg
Ferature image (on top): Queen Sonja of Norway (left) and Crown Princess Mette Marit. Photo: Sølve Sundsbøe / Royal court