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Queen Maria José inherited the tiara from her brother Prince Charles Theodore (1903 -1983)
In his will, this exceptional jewel is referred to as 'The Empress Josephine Tiara' on account of the fact that the briolette-cut diamonds in the tiara were a gift from Tsar Alexander I of Russia to the Empress Josephine. The Tsar used to bring presents for Josephine when he visited her at La Malmaison, following her divorce from Napoleon
It was purchased after the First World War in Switzerland by the King of Belgium from the collection of the Dukes of Leuchtenberg, a title first granted to Eugene de Beauharnais, son of the Empress Josephine, and adopted son of Napoleon, on the occasion of his marriage to Princess Augusta Amalia, daughter of King Maximilian of Bavaria. Their youngest child, Prince Maximilian Joseph married in 1839 Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia, eldest daughter of Tsar Nicholas I.