Beatrix’s first tiara appearance was in the evening of 30 June, the day she paid an official visit to the capital. It was the first time she wore the laurel wreath tiara, to a gala performance by the London Festival Ballet in the Municipal Theatre in Amsterdam. Her tiara was not seen earlier.
According to René Brus, De juwelen van het Huis Oranje-Nassau (1996), this tiara was a heirloom from princess Louise (c. 1800), sister of king William I. Yet in 2005 journalist Els Smit wrote in magazine Vorsten that the tiara was newly acquired by Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard in the 1950s. Asked about the sources of this story the editors replied that ms. Smit had good inside information. Regrettably, the inside information apparently did not include data about the provenance of the tiara.
It has been argued that if the tiara indeed had been a heirloom from princess Louise it probably would have been worn earlier by a member of the royal family. Yet the story of Princess Mabel’s wedding tiara, which was purchased by king Willem III from Mellerio in 1888 but never seen before that wedding proves that this argument is not entirely convincing.
Princess Beatrix’ first tiara later was worn by princesses Margriet, Christina, Simone (of Lippe-Biesterfeld), Laurentien and Maria Carolina (of Bourbon Parma).
It remains an intriguing question what the provenance of this most elegant tiara is. When was it created and who was the jeweler? When and where was it purchased? And will it be the first tiara of Princess Amalia in December of this year or hopefully soon thereafter?
(Unfortunately, uploading a picture of the gala of 30 June 1956 from my files seems not to be possible).
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