Wednesday, 21 June 2017

State Dinner Sparklers: Netherlands in Italy

Thank goodness for Queen Maxima. Just when June was getting ever so slightly tiara light (we've come to rely too heavily on Sweden for weddings and anniversaries this month, we need to raise our diadem game), the Queen of the Netherlands rescues us all with a sparkling appearance in Rome. Maxima and King Willem-Alexander are on a four day State Visit to Italy. That means a State Banquet and Maxima let the temperatures do the talking going for one of the hottest stones around.

Rubies are traditionally the birthstone of July but when the thermometer in Rome says thirty plus, why wait to bring out the fiery red stone?  Queen Maxima wore the Mellerio ruby tiara for the State Banquet which was held at the Quirinale Palace in their honour and hosted by the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella and his wife, Laura.

The Mellerio Ruby Tiara is a 19th century piece which began life as a present for Queen Emma from her doting husband, King Wilhelm III. In a way it's quite appropriate to see it worn by the first woman to be queen consort of the Netherlands since Emma but then many of the jewels in the Dutch royal collection began their regal story in the same way so Maxima isn't exactly scrapping around when it comes to paying tribute to her predecessor.

The tiara is made up of three ruby and diamonds scrolls linked by three lines of huge diamonds. It's a testament to the power of the rubies used in this diadem (made by legendary jeweller Mellerio de Meller, hence the name) that although there are only six of them compared to dozens of diamonds, it's the red that wins out. Maxima has been rather fond of this one, wearing it in official portraits as well as for State Banquets and royal weddings, and she matched it to the bright red dress worn for her husband's 50th birthday in April (talking of which, did WA eat all the cake, that jacket is starting to strain). The Mellerio Ruby Tiara is a sparkler with a summer air. Perfect for a State Visit that's set the thermometer rising.

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