The origin story of the Swedish Cameo tiara

The origin story of the Swedish Cameo tiara

A princess’s look is not complete without a tiara. Swedish royal brides, interestingly, seem to gravitate towards a specific one.

The Cameo is a famed tiara in the Swedish royal family and is believed to be one of the oldest tiaras still in use. The unusual tiara has a long, romantic history and has been worn by both Queen Silvia and Crown Princess Victoria on their wedding days.

The crown is believed to have first belonged to empress Josephine, the first wife of Napoleon, and the first empress of the French after he proclaimed himself Emperor. The crown was reportedly made for her in the early 1800s during the final years of her marriage to Napoleon.

The crown features 7 cameos, or oval pieces of jewellery that consist of a portrait in profile carved into it. The cameos were individually made and not intended to go together, which is why they vary in size and appearance. The largest cameo at the centre of the crown depicts a scene from the famous story of Cupid and Psyche. A base of gold and seed pearls frame the cameos.


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The #cameotiara The gorgeous bridal tiara of the Bernadottes had its start not in Sweden but at the imperial court of Napoléon. 1804: In France, Napoléon Bonaparte is crowned emperor at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. At his side is his wife, Joséphine. Born in Martinique as the daughter of a wealthy Creole planter, Joséphine had previously been married to Alexandre de Beauharnais, a French aristocrat who was guillotined during the Reign of Terror. She is crowned empress by her husband at his coronation, and she needs a vast collection of jewelry to help her fit the part. Among these is a set of cameo jewels, apparently made for her during this period by her husband’s court jeweler, Marie-Étienne Nitot. The set includes a grand tiara in gold set with pearls and large cameos depicting the story of Cupid and Psyche. It also includes a necklace, a bracelet, and a pair of earrings. Although Joséphine had two children, Eugène and Hortense, with Alexandre, she is not able to provide Napoléon with a much-needed biological heir to the French throne. He divorces her and marries Marie Louise of Austria, daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor. Joséphine relocates to the Château de Malmaison near Paris, taking her jewelry along with her. Joséphine loans the cameos to her daughter, Hortense, who had briefly been Queen of Holland during the first decade of the nineteenth century. Hortense wears the cameos in a portrait painted by Anne-Louis Girodet. The painting is the first known representation of the cameos. Josephine’s granddaughter received the #cameo as a wedding gift when she married #crownprinceoscar of #Sweden passing the tiara into the #Swedishroyalfamily where it has become the traditional #wedding tiara. #napoleonandjosephine #crownprincessvictoria #royaljewels #royalhistory

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The crown ended up in Sweden via empress Josephine’s granddaughter, also named Josephine, when she married the country’s first King Oscar in 1823. The queen passed the tiars on to daughter Eugenie. Since Eugenie had no children, the crown travelled throughout the family houses until it was presented to Princess Sybilla. It was from here that the crown began to feature atop the heads of Swedish brides.
Two of Princess Sybilla’s daughters, Princess Birgitta and Princess Desiree wore the tiara on their big days. In 1972, the tiara was passed on to Princess Sybilla’s son (who became King the following year) after her passing, and his bride Silvia wore it on their wedding day as she became Queen of Sweden. Queen Silvia wearing the tiara on her big day added even deeper royal significance to this prized diadem. Their eldest child and heir to the throne, Princess Victoria followed tradition and proudly wore the crown during her 2010 royal nuptials.


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♕ Tнe Caмeo Parυre Tιara ⋆⋆⋆ In 1809, Empress Joséphine (see photo2️⃣), first wife of French Emperor Napoléon I Bonaparte, likely received the cameos as a gift from her husband. The seven cameos used in the tiara were made first and were not intended to go together. Each is framed in pearls and sit on a base of gold and seed pearls. The tiara is part of a set including a pair of earrings, a brooch, a necklace, and a bracelet. ⋆ In 1814, Former Empress Joséphine died. The cameos was eventually inherited by her granddaughter, future Queen Josephine (see photos3️⃣), who married the future Oscar I, King of Sweden and Norway in 1923. Since then the cameos resided in the Swedish royal vaults. ⋆ In 1876, Queen Joséphine died. The cameos was inherited by her only daughter, Princess Eugénie (see photo4️⃣). Eugénie never married, but instead devoted her life to artistic pursuits and charitable causes. Upon her death in 1889, the cameos were inherited by her nephew, Prince Eugen, Duke of Närke (see photo5️⃣). Eugen was also a gifted artist and never married. ⋆ In 1947, The Duke of Närke died. Before his death, he loaned the cameos to his niece-in-law, Crown Princess Margaret (see photo5️⃣.1️⃣), and eventually gave the cameos as a wedding gift to Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (see photo5️⃣.2️⃣) when she married Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten in 1932. Sibylla also loaned the cameos to her sister-in-law, the future Queen Ingrid of Denmark (see photo5️⃣.3️⃣). ⋆ In 1961, Princess Sibylla’s second daughter Princess Birgitta (see photo6️⃣.1️⃣) married Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern. Three years later, Sibylla’s third daughter Princess Désirée (see photo6️⃣.2️⃣) married Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld. ⋆ In 1972, Princess Sibylla died. The cameos was inherited by her only son, current King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. Four years later, the King married Silvia Renate Sommerlath (see photos7️⃣to9️⃣). Thirty-four years later, their eldest child and heir Crown Princess Victoria, Duchess of Västergötland (see photos🔟) married Olof Daniel Westling. ⋆⋆⋆ #TheEuropeanRoyalty #CameoTiara #QueenJosephine #PrincessSibylla #QueenSilvia #CrownPrincessVictoria #Sweden

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Feature image: Instagram / kungahuset

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