Victoria Romanovna wearing the Lacis Tiara.
Photograph (c) David Nivière.

On Thursday, Victoria Romanovna (Rebecca) Bettarini was kind enough to send photographs by noted French photographer David Nivière as well as the full English translation of an interview which appeared in an abbreviated form in Point de Vue. In the interview, Victoria Romanovna tells of the process behind picking her bridal diadem in addition to giving some further insight into the preparations for the first imperial wedding in Russia in over a century.

An Interview with Victoria Romanovna

Victoria Romanovna enters Maison Chaumet in Paris.
Photograph (c) David Nivière.

Q: How did you choose your tiara?

A: Stephane Bern and the CEO of Chaumet, Jean Marc Mansvelt, welcomed me to this extraordinary Hôtel particulier at 12 place Vendôme, and from there we talked a lot about what I hoped this tiara would symbolize for Russia, for France, and for Europe. I wanted to be able to wear a tiara on this day that had deep historical significance. This was why I chose to pay tribute not only to Russia, but also to jewelry from a house with 240 years of history such as Chaumet. The choice was very fast, I immediately found exactly what I was looking for.

Victoria Romanovna reviewing the Chaumet tiara collection.
Photograph (c) David Nivière.

Q: Which type of tiara attracted you?

A: I chose a tiara which is breathtaking — because it balances lightness in construction with the extraordinary stones, it is both classic and contemporary, sumptuous and simple. It suits the wedding dress perfectly, and reflects my own personality very well.

Q: Why did you choose Chaumet?

A: Maison Chaumet created many masterpieces for the Russian Imperial House [in the past]. In particular, George’s great-great-grandmother [Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna] one of the house’s most important clients by 1899. The “Waterfall” tiara that the house created for her remains today a mythical and extraordinary piece, which unfortunately disappeared during the revolution. It must also be remembered that Chaumet created a sensation during The Red Cross Exhibition of 1901 in Saint Petersburg, following which [Joseph] Chaumet was decorated with the Imperial Order of Saint Anna.

The Chaumet Lacis Tiara which will be worn by Princess Victoria Romanovna Romanoff.
Photograph (c) David Nivière.

Q: Why this particular one?

A: The choice was hard because they had majestic tiaras. But I wanted to choose a tiara that had never been worn, and which would be both a tribute to Russian culture, as well as a tribute to the firm’s fine jewelry. This is why I wanted to choose a tiara created with the “fil couteau” or “knife edge” technique, which is one of the specialties of Maison Chaumet. In its form, the tiara pays homage not only to a Russian kokoshnik [the traditional form for Russian tiaras], but in addition its shape is inspired by ships’ sails, and for me this seemed like an homage not only to George’s great-grandfather [Grand Duke Kirill] who was chief of Naval staff, but also to the City of Saint Petersburg.

Q: What does Grand Duke George think of it?

A: He thinks it is just perfect in it’s symbolism, but also that it looks great on me.

Q: Did you choose it together?

A: No, because that same day the Grand Duke was participating in an official engagement at the French Senate for a ceremony as part of the bicentenary of the Emperor Napoleon.

The Chaumet Lacis Tiara which will be worn by Princess Victoria Romanovna Romanoff.
Photograph (c) David Nivière.

Q: What does it [the tiara] mean to you?

A: I think it is important to pay tribute to the history of Russia, a great European empire which over the centuries has repeatedly help determine the fate of Europe and the world. This cultural exchange, with links between Russia, France, and Europe is part of a long historical tradition.

Victoria Romanovna wearing her chosen wedding diadem, the Lacis Tiara, at Maison Chaumet.
Photograph (c) David Nivière.

Q: How did you feel when you tried it on for the first time?

A: I immediately felt that it was the right choice, and it made me realize that the finesse of this wonderful knowledge and craftsmanship is the result of a passion and mastery of the art [of jewelry making] over generations.

Q: What were the reactions to the announcement of your engagement?

A: It is very touching to see the interest aroused by the announcement of our upcoming marriage, which will be the first marriage of the son of the head of the Imperial House in St Petersburg since before the revolution.

Q: How are you going to occupy the months leading up to your wedding scheduled for October 1 in St. Petersburg?

A: The organisation of this wedding is already consuming us, we are prepared for a lot of work, we have a lot of choices and decisions to be made, and a lot of protocol work awaits us! Fortunately, we can count on the help of the Chancellery as well as the support of the Russian authorities for the organisation.

Q: What style of wedding are you hoping for?

A: It will be an Orthodox wedding in the finest traditions of both Russia and the Imperial Family.

Q: Have you imagined your future dress?

A: I found that finding the dress was not as easy as I thought it was! After a long search, I found what I was looking for. A dress that is imposing but soft, with a contemporary fabric but a very classic style. A dress that will stand out from others, but very traditional at the same time.

Q: What would you like for the reception?

A: The reception will take place in a historic palace in Saint Petersburg. We hope to be able to open many of the most beautiful palaces in the city to show our guests the grandeur and beauty of the “Venice of the North”, imagined by Peter the Great and which is still so beautiful and symbolic today.

Again, one wishes to express one’s thanks to the Russian Imperial Chancellery and Victoria Romanovna Bettarini for providing the photographs taken by Monsieur David Nivière as well as the English translation of the full interview given by Rebecca Victoria Romanovna Bettarini to Point de Vue

For more coverage from Eurohistory on the upcoming Russian imperial wedding, please feel free to read the following articles:

The Chaumet Lacis Tiara for the Russian Imperial Wedding in October! (17 March 2021)

The Betrothal Ceremony of Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia and Victoria Romanovna Bettarini (25 January 2021)

An Imperial Engagement: HIH Grand Duke George of Russia and Nob. Rebecca Virginia Bettarini (20 January 2021)

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