Monday, 12 December 2016

Nobel Tiaras 2016, part two

Take a deep breath and get ready for some serious tiara action with day two of the Nobel events

Because one set of tiaras in 24 hours is never enough. The Royal Family of Sweden like to up the sparkle ante in the weeks before Christmas by donning just about every diadem they own within the space of a day as the Nobel celebrations really get into full swing. After the solemnity of the official Nobel Prize ceremony comes the glamour of the King's Nobel Banquet. Always held the day after the ceremony at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, this is a chance for the tiaras left behind during the main event to take their moment in the moonlight. Get ready to sparkle, again. You can never have too much of it.

This was a diamond heavy evening for Sweden's royals and adding a lot of that carat weight was Queen Silvia. She chose Queen Sophia's Tiara which not only towers above just about every other diadem going, it contains at least 500 diamonds. That's the way to dazzle.

This is a regal tiara, looking about as mid 19th century as they come. It originated with Queen Sophia who, until 5 years ago, was the longest reigning consort in Sweden's history when Silvia took that title. Arranged in an intricate pattern of swirls, the tiara builds to a set of nine tips or prongs and it's reported to have as much flexibility as an iron rod when it comes to adapting it to the wearers' head. Fortunately, it seems to sit rather nicely in Silvia's hair as she's made this a go to piece for the Nobels for decades.  She also wore it to Madeleine's wedding (where the picture above was taken) - her two daughters also chose the same diadems as they wore that day in June for this year's King's Nobel Banquet.

At this time of the year, thoughts turn to Princess Lilian who - after decades of waiting - became a Swedish royal bride in December 1976. The much loved royal, who died in 2013, was remembered by Crown Princess Victoria who wore the Laurel Wreath Tiara left to her by Lilian. 

Lilian's husband, Prince Bertil, inherited this tiara from his mother, Margaret of Connaught, who had married the man who would become King Gustaf VI Adolf (although she died thirty years before he took the throne). It's an unusual piece, bought for Margaret at the time of her marriage by her husband's granny, Queen Sofia - you can't beat a royal wedding for diamond studded gifts. The two rows of laurel leaves, made of diamonds of course, make an arch which hosts a single, swinging stone. Victoria first wore it for the wedding of her sister, Madeleine, in 2013 - just months after Lilian's death. Its appearance at the Nobel King's Dinner is another lovely tribute.

Princess Sofia debuted another new diadem for her at the King's Nobel Banquet - the Four Button Tiara. Don't worry, these are diamond buttons. The name refers to the four round collections of sparklers, designed to look like flowers, which sit on top of a plain metal band.

It's been worn by just about every princess in Sweden in recent decades (you can see a young Victoria using it at a previous Nobel Prize event above) and usually in the early part of their royal public lives, a kind of starter for ten on the tiara front. Sofia suited it rather well and as Princess Lilian also wore this tiara on more than one occasion, it was another tribute to the princess who put duty above love.

Madeleine was the only royal lady not to wear a necklace at the main prize giving ceremony on December 10th but she more than made up for that at the King's Banquet. Necklace, you say? OK, here's a tiara as a necklace. All the diamond power with the added bonus of doing that old fashioned royal thing of sticking a diadem round your neck just to get all the jewels out for a sparkling night.

Luckily, Madeleine kept the dress simple or she might have found herself auditioning for the part of dowager duchess sixty years too soon. She wore the Fringe Tiara that she used on her wedding day - this is a favourite diadem of Madeleine's and it does what it says on the tin. This is a classic fringe tiara, made of diamonds, sitting on a row of more diamonds. Just in case anyone could still see beyond the bling, Madeleine converted the Connaught tiara she wore the day before into a necklace and went straight to the top of the class for dazzling. It's been a tiara-tastic couple of days. Keep sparkling.

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