Sunday, March 9, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: Douglas Floral Tiara

Photo: Information und Kommunikation der Regierung, Vaduz
Today's tiara isn't a Liechtenstein one in the strictest definition but it has been worn by one of the princely brides and as a little sparkle on a Sunday evening to ease into a new week never hurt nobody, let's talk about Hereditary Princess Sophie's wedding tiara which is often described as being a Bavarian piece even though it isn't. The confusion, however, is all too understandable: Why would a Duchess in Bavaria chose a non-Bavarian, non-new family tiara to wear at her own wedding? The answer is rather simple as well: Because her mother is a born Countess Douglas and it's a family tradition but let's start from the beginning.
Countess Ottora Douglas, Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria (Photos: Point de Vue, Zimbio)
While the tiara is usually described as either the Douglas or the Douglas Floral Tiara, it is not entirely certain who its first owner was. Generally, not much is known about the piece's history. Made towards the end of the 19th century by a French jeweller, the tiara consists of diamonds set in a floral motif. In addition to seven diamond daisies, the tiara features diamond leaves as well as single diamond berries; an all around very literal interpretation of the floral theme that was very popular during the second half of the 19th century. To go with the tiara, there are a pair of earrings as well as a large brooch in the same design. These days, the jewels are owned by Duchess Elizabeth in Bavaria, mother of Hereditary Princess Sophie, who was a born Countess Douglas.

Of originally Scottish ancestry, Duchess Elizabeth was born in Stockholm as the first daughter of Count Carl Ludvig Douglas and Ottora Haas-Heye and a member of the Stjernorp branch of the Swedish-German descendants of the Clan Douglas. Her father was the son of Swedish general Count Archibald Douglas, grandson of Countess Louise of Gondelsheim and Langenstein, herself a daughter of Grand Duke Ludwig I of Baden by morganatic marriage. Through her mother, Duchess Elizabeth is also the great-granddaughter of Prince Philipp of Eulenburg, friend of Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Duchess Elizabeth's family, however, isn't only very well connected but also quite rich and so it's no surprise that she was given a tiara by her family. When exactly she received the gift, I do not know. The only pictures I have seen of her and Duke Max in Bavaria's wedding, don't allow a good glimpse at the tiara and so it's hard to tell whether she already wore it at the time. Whether the tiara was a family heirloom or newly purchased for Duchess Elizabeth also isn't common knowledge but I can tell you that it was also worn by her mother, Countess Ottora, at the pre-wedding ball of Hereditary Princess Sophie in Munich in 1993.
Duchess Marie-Caroline, Duchess Elizabeth, Duchess Maria-Anna in Bavaria (Photos: Bunte, PPE)
Whether it already had a tradition as a bridal tiara or not, Duchess Elizabeth's daughters certainly made it one. When marrying Duke Philipp of Württemberg in 1991, Duchess Marie-Caroline became the first of the four married daughters to wear the tiara at her wedding, a suit followed by her sisters Duchess Elizabeth and Duchess Maria-Anna at their respective 2004 and 2007 weddings. The second daughter to do so, however, was Hereditary Princess Sophie in 1993 and who knows, as the only one of the daughters married to a future monarch as well as being the oldest one of the sisters, she might just be the one to inherit the Douglas Floral Tiara one day and thus it might actually be added to the Liechtenstein collection.

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