Friday, 28 October 2016

State Sparklers: Norway's gala dinner

Diamonds, pearls and turquoises were all sparkling in the tiaras chosen by Norway's royals this week

There was a trio of tiara triumphs on display last night in Oslo as the Norwegian Royal Family hosted the traditional dinner held every year for members of the country's parliament. The event has been held ever since 1906 and included a speech from the King of Norway and, this year, a menu featuring vegetables grown in the palace gardens. Plus tiaras. Three glittering, gorgeous tiaras. We got pearls, we got diamonds, we got turquoises. Yes, turqoises. Here are the diadems that sparkled at this traditional Norwegian royal event.

Queen Sonja treated us to a glimpse of one of her most famous tiaras, the diadem with the most dramatic story of them all. Sonja wore the Queen Maud Pearl and Diamond Tiara in its full form and sparkled and then some.


This diamond and pearl sparkler started off as a wedding present for Maud of Wales when she wed Carl of Denmark in 1896. When they became King and Queen of Norway, this rather Victorian looking set of scrolls studded with sparklers and topped with pearls made its way into the new royal jewellery box and became a firm favourite (it can be reduced to a single layer of diamonds for a simpler look, who doesn't love versatility?). But in 1995, it was sent off for repairs at Garrards and ended up being stolen in a big robbery there. The version Sonja has worn ever since is the replica made by the jewellery house for Norway's Royal Family. 

Crown Princess Mette-Marit wore the tiara most associated with her. The Diamond Daisy Bandeau was a wedding present, just like the pearls and diamonds originally belonging to Queen Maud and worn by Sonja for this gala dinner. Mette-Marit was given this delicate diadem by King Harald and Queen Sonja when she married Crown Prince Haakon Magnus in 2001 and she wore it as she said 'I do' and became a royal.

It's a band of daisies made from diamonds so no prizes for guessing how it got its name and since her wedding, it's easily been Mette-Marit's favourite tiara. It's very similar to a diadem worn by Catre Blanchett in An Ideal Husband, made in 1999, but there's never been official confirmation of whther they are the same piece. Either way, it wasn't really a surprise to see the Crown Princess of Norway wear this tiara for the gala dinner this week. Mette-Marit clearly loves it and this iconic piece of 21st century royal jewellery is a bit of a signature look for her.

Princess Astrid treated us to a viewing of one of the most unusual tiaras around right now, another sparkler that began life with Queen Maud and which looks about as Edwardian as a tiara can in 2016; Queen Maud's Turquoise Tiara is the personal property of King Harald's big sister and it's one of the most striking pieces in regular royal use. 

Maud inherited it from her own mother, Queen Alexandra, on her death in 1925. It's a wall of diamonds rising to a cental peak and studded with large turquoises. Astrid usually wears it with a matching necklace and earrings. It's a hard colour to pull off but it suits this princess down to the ground and added another layer of lustre to the sparkling set of tiaras worn at this week's gala dinner which is so much a part of Norway's royal traditions. 

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