In Defense of the Tiara – The Grand Duchess Vladimir

Programming Note: Tune in this weekend for coverage of Ingrid Alexandra’s confirmation. The service is at noon, local Norwegian time, with a luncheon at the palace at 1:30 p.m. Ingrid Alexandra’s royal godparents will be in attendance, including King Felipe, Crown Prince Frederick, and Crown Princess Victoria. The hofdames will be tucked in their beds during the actual ceremony, so this will not be a live open post. We do, however, intend to have a post on Saturday for your reading pleasure.

For the next in our series of convertible tiaras, I present the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara.

Pearl Vlad

The History

This tiara has a long history with royals, starting in Imperial Russia with Grand Duchess Vladimir (born Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, thus the aunt of Alexandrine and Cecilie). This tiara was made in 1874 by the Russian court jeweler, Bolin. The tiara is designed as 15 intertwined diamond circles, with a ribbon connecting them on the top and originally set with hanging pearl pendants.

During the Russian Revolution the tiara, along with many of Marie’s other jewels, were hidden away in Vladimir Palace. They were returned after a family friend, who happened to be a member of the British Intelligence Service, retrieved them (okay…that’s a movie I’d pay to see…).

With her jewels returned, she promptly set to bequeathing them to her children. This tiara went to her daughter, Princess Nicholas of Greece (born Grand Duchess Elena), who in 1921 sold it to Queen Mary of the UK. Mary being Mary, she couldn’t leave well enough alone, and incorporated the Cambridge Emeralds into this tiara.

Emerald Vlad

Upon Mary’s death in 1953 this tiara, along with many others, were inherited by Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Elizabeth doesn’t play with her jewels as much as Queen Mary did, but she did wear this tiara one way her grandmother didn’t…without any hanging pendants.

Empty Vlad

The Case for the Tiara

The Handbag: Filled with pearls it is magnificent. Filled with emeralds it is queenly. Filled with nothing? It reminds me of a gymnasium apparatus. Since two out of three delight me, sign me up as a “For”.

The Case against the Tiara

OC: Newp. I think it’s the size of the hoops that I don’t care for. I’m always disappointed when I see it worn.

LG: This actually used to be one of my faves, before I got deep into the royal world. Looking at it now, it just seems bulky. The pearls look tight in their circles, and the emeralds don’t really fit. Without either, it just looks sad.

LiL: Nope. Not at all. I don’t like the pearls and can barely tolerate the emeralds. If she has to wear it, I’d prefer her to leave out the stones and go “au naturale”. That’s the only version I remotely like.

Which of the versions of the Vladimir is your fave?