Thursday, 6 April 2017

State Dinner Sparklers: Spain in Japan

After all the excitement of her last State Dinner appearance and her debuting of La Buena, things were back to (diamond studded) normal for Queen Letizia as she and King Felipe were guests of honour at a gala evening in Japan. For the State Dinner in Tokyo, Letizia chose the diamond Floral Tiara which has been so popular with her and her in laws in recent times. In fact, it's been a glittering go to for many years.

And that's no wonder. It's a pretty piece that goes with just about everything. Queen Sofia wore it often in the early years of her husband's reign while both her daughters used it frequently and the Infanta Cristina loved it so much, she wore it for her wedding to Inaki Urdangarin in 1997. Letizia has also made good use of it in her thirteen years as a member of Spain's Royal Family and she gave it a starring role in Japan. Watch it sparkle in the video above (if you can take your eyes off the princess dress).

The tiara is acutally Sofia's personal property but then Letizia has been wearing a lot of her mother in law's gems in recent times. The diadem began this part of its royal journey fifty five years ago. It was a wedding gift for the then Princess Sofia in 1962, presented to her on behalf of the Spanish people by Francisco Franco who ruled as a dictator until his death in 1975.   But this piece actually has a longer royal history that links it to 19th century Spain.

The tiara did begin life as a wedding gift but for a much earlier Queen of Spain. It was originally made in 1879 by the British jewellers, J.P. Collins, as a present from King Alfonso XII (great great grandfather of King Felipe VI) to his second bride, Maria Theresa of Austria. The tiara stayed in the family until their son, Alfonso XIII, was forced into exile and at some point after that, it was sold. It became a second royal wedding gift when Franco bought it from Madrid's Aldao Jewellers decades later.

Queen Letizia has used this for State Banquets before and she also chose it for another big European event - the accession celebrations of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands in 2013. Several royal houses have a floral tiara and this is very much in keeping with the general style - swirling flowers made of diamonds. It's a relatively large version of the floral design which is perhaps why it's been so popular - it lends height and sparkle without being overpowering. And with its latest appearance on the State Dinner list for Letizia, it must surely now be among the favourites for her visit to the UK this summer. This State Dinner Sparkler has many more chapters of royal history still to come.

Photo credit: casareal Twitter

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