Which Tiara Will Queen Letizia Take To London?
The King and Queen of Spain begin the long-awaited Spanish State Visit to Britain on Wednesday, and – after two postponements – the big question on the lips of royal watchers is, which tiara from the Spanish collection will be making the trip to grace Queen Letizia’s head?
Let’s have a quick review of the options Letizia has in the Spanish vaults…
The Fleur de Lys Tiara
The definitive ‘Big Gun’ tiara of the Spanish collection, La Buena as it is known was a wedding gift from King Alfonso XIII to his bride, Victoria Eugenia of Battenberg, in 1906. Made of platinum and diamonds, Ena’s will stipulates the tiara – along with other pieces collectively termed the ‘joyas de pasar‘- passes from Queen to Queen. Queen Letizia has worn the tiara once – back in February this year – since her husband became King.
Queen Maria Christina’s Loop Tiara
This diamond tiara topped with pearls, reportedly made by Cartier, sits in the collection of Queen Sofia and has not yet been worn by the current Queen. It was a gift to Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria when she married Alfonso XII in 1879. The tiara – featuring tall diamond loops with upright pearls in the ‘drops’ of the loops – passed down the generations to Juan, Count of Barcelona, and was worn by both his wife, Maria Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and their daughter Pilar.
The Cartier Diamond and Pearl Tiara
Another tiara that Queen Letizia has yet to wear is the diamond and pearl tiara from Cartier that, like many others, originates with Queen Victoria Eugenia. Set in platinum, eight pearls are surrounded by diamond swirls. It was left by Ena to her daughter, Maria Cristina, Countess of Marone; after her death in 1996, the tiara ended up in Queen Sofia’s collection.
The Mellerio Shell Tiara
One of the oldest tiaras in the Spanish collection, this diamond tiara constructed of platinum in the general outline of a shell features pearl and diamond drops through the centre. It was a wedding gift from Isabella II to Isabella, Princess of Asturias in 1868. It made its way into the main line upon the death of the childless Isabella, and proceeded through the generations down to the current day.
The Spanish Floral Tiara
A tiara that was a wedding gift to Queen Sofia from General Francisco Franco, this platinum and diamond tiara features five flowers connected by vines. Its provenance is typically attributed to Mellerio, however the Spanish Royal Court confirmed in 2013 that it was actually a British piece – from J.P. Collins, dating back to 1879 for another Spanish royal bride, Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria. When the Bourbons went into exile in the 1930s, this was one of the tiaras they sold for funds. It was with luck that it was available decades later for Franco to purchase when he was wedding gift hunting.
The Prussian Diamond Tiara
Made by Koch, this tiara comes from to Spain through Queen Sofia’s links to Prussia’s royals: her grandmother, Princess Viktoria Luise, was the daughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II, and received this tiara as a wedding gift in 1913 when she married into the Hanoverian Royal Family. It passed to her daughter Frederica, who then passed it to her daughter, Sofia. Both Queen Sofia and Queen Letizia wore this as their wedding tiara (the beginnings of a tradition in Spain?) The all-diamond tiara features Greek key elements, laurel wreaths and a dangling diamond drop in the centre.
The Ansorena Tiara
The only tiara in the Spanish collection that has no links to anyone but the present Queen, this came into her possession sometime around 2009. Featuring a diamond fleur-de-lys motif in the centre (which can be removed and worn as a brooch) flanked by ten curved diamond spikes topped with Australian pearls, the tiara is set in white gold and was either a) a gift from the Queen’s husband, or b) a gift from the Ansorena jewellers themselves.
Tagged Ansorena Tiara, Cartier Diamond and Pearl Tiara, Fleur de Lys Tiara, Mellerio Shell Tiara, Prussian Diamond Tiara, Queen Letizia of Spain, Queen Maria Christina's Loop Tiara, Spanish Floral Tiara, State Visit.