The Orsini-Ligne Aquamarine and Diamond Wedding Tiara and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge Wedding Gown Similarities

The last of our aquamarine tiara postings for March, here’s something a bit different – the Orsini-Ligne Aquamarine and Diamond Wedding Tiara!

The Orsini-Ligne Aquamarine and Diamond Wedding Tiara and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge Wedding Gown Similarities

On September 7th 2009, Prince Edouard de Ligne de La Tremoille of the Belgian noble House de Ligne married the famous Italian actress Isabella Orsini in a religious ceremony in his family’s ancestral castle in Antoing, Belgium. The House of Ligne can trace its history all the way back to the Holy Roman Empire. HH Princess Isabella as she is now known wore a gorgeous aquamarine and diamond tiara with matching earrings.

Coming out of the cathedral with her new husband. They look so happy! I believe Isabella had just released a dove

As you may have noticed from the above photos, Isabella’s Gerald Watelet wedding gown bears a striking resemblance to the Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen designed wedding gown that Catherine Middleton wore to marry HRH Prince William of Wales two years later. There was some surprise in the press (and to Isabella) when the similarities were noticed (lace covered bodices with a v-neckline and lace sleeves, similar skirts and train lengths), but it seems likely that both Catherine and Isabella chose a similar royal style icon for their wedding dress inspiration – Princess Grace of Monaco. They are both gorgeous and royal wedding gowns, and suit the bride. This Royal Post-er has been enamored of Princess Grace’s wedding gown since she was 5 years old, and thinks this trend to long lace sleeves and lace adorned bodices in wedding gowns is all for the best!

It should be noted that there are many differences between Catherine and Isabella’s wedding gowns – Isabella wore a lace jacket on top of her gown, while Catherine’s lace adorned bodice was part of her gown, Catherine’s gown has significantly more detail on the waist, hips and train, and seems to be of a more elaborate construction. Interesting to see this marked trend in wedding gowns, which has now translated into the bridal design industry.

A detail of the back of Catherine’s dress, as her veil is slightly covering it in the above photo

What do you think?

Hope you enjoyed our aquamarine tiara postings for March!

Here are links to the previous aquamarine postings: Queen Elizabeth’s Brazilian Aquamarine and Diamond Parure and the Boucheron Diamond Clips, The Aquamarine Pine Flower Tiara, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands’ Aquamarine Tiara and Parure, The Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara of Sweden, and the Wessex Aquamarine and Diamond Wedding Tiara

Wessex Aquamarine and Diamond Tiara

Our fifth aquamarine tiara post for March, here’s the Wessex Aquamarine and Diamond Tiara!

Wessex Aquamarine and Diamond Tiara

HRH Sophie, Countess of Wessex, the wife of HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, debuted her Aquamarine Tiara during the Coronation festivities of Prince Albert II of Monaco, in 2005. Prior to 2005 Sophie only had one tiara which she wore, her wedding tiara (Wessex wedding tiara), so the debut of Sophie’s new tiara was quite exciting for those of us interested in Sophie’s tiara occasions (and we imagine for Sophie as well!). There was one brief appearance of a tiara of unknown origin at Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark’s wedding to Mary Donaldson, but it hasn’t been seen since.

The fact that her new tiara is such a beautiful aquamarine and diamond tiara, and can also be converted and worn as a necklace, makes it’s even more appealing. It looks as if the aquamarine is significantly lighter in colour in the photographs of it being worn as a necklace – it may be a trick of light, or be on account of the tiara setting.

Very little is known about this tiara, aside from it being made of aquamarines and diamonds. There has been speculation that Prince Edward designed it himself, and also that it comes from pieces already within the Royal Family. Unfortunately, no information has been forthcoming. We hope more information on this gorgeous tiara of Sophie’s will come to light soon.

Here’s Sophie debuting her aquamarine tiara at the Coronation Gala of Prince Albert II of Monaco. Sophie seems to be wearing a matching pair of aquamarine earrings and necklace.

Sophie wearing the aquamarine tiara in necklace form

Let’s hope Sophie wears her aquamarine and diamond tiara again soon – it’s a favourite!

Next up and our last post on aquamarine tiaras for March, something a bit unexpected from the Princely House of Ligne in Belgium.

Links to our previous aquamarine tiara posts: Queen Elizabeth’s Brazilian Aquamarine and Diamond Parure and the Boucheron Diamond Clips, The Aquamarine Pine Flower Tiara, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands’ Aquamarine Tiara and Parure, and The Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara of Sweden

The Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara of Sweden

The Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara of Sweden

For the fourth installment of our look at aquamarine tiaras for March courtesy of guest poster Sarah, here’s the Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara of Sweden!

The Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara of Sweden has a long and unique history, and a British origin. The first wearer of the Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara was HRH Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden, born HRH Princess Margaret of Connaught, Queen Victoria’s granddaughter through Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s 3rd son, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, and his wife, Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia. When Princess Margaret married Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden in June 1905 (they were married at Windsor Castle, and then traveled to Sweden after their honeymoon), she brought with her the Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara and a matching brooch. The tiara consists of aquamarines surrounded by large diamonds, in the style of a kokoshnik (a popular Russian headdress that inspired many tiaras).

Crown Princess Margaret (she died suddenly before her husband became King of Sweden) left the Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara to her son, Prince Gustaf Adolf who gave it to his wife Princess Sibylla (born HH Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, through their fourth son Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany. Sibylla and her husband were 2nd cousins). Princess Sibylla wore the Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara often, and it seems to have been a favourite tiara of hers.

Princess Sibylla in a formal portrait

Princess Sibylla in Court robes

Princess Sibylla

Princess Sibylla then gave it to her daughter Princess Margaretha. Princess Margaretha is the eldest sister of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. She is properly known as Princess Margaretha, Mrs. Ambler (her late husband was Mr. John Ambler). It seems very appropriate that Princess Margaretha was given her grandmother Crown Princess Margaret’s tiara, as she was named after her.

Princess Margaretha wearing the Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara at her niece Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden’s 2010 wedding to Daniel Westling. This photograph also shows off the matching aquamarine brooch. The tiara hadn’t been seen since her daughter wore it at her wedding in 1998, so it was a happy surprise to see it worn by Princess Margaretha! You can really see how beautifully this tiara sparkles from this photograph.

Princess Margaretha’s daughter Sibylla Ambler wearing the Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara at her wedding to Baron Cornelius von Dincklage in 1998

So, what do you think of this one? Next up in aquamarine tiaras, HRH Sophie Countess of Wessex’s aquamarine tiara (it can also be worn as a necklace!)

This is the fourth in our aquamarine tiara feature – first was Queen Elizabeth’s Brazilian Aquamarine and Diamond Parure and the Boucheron Diamond Clips, second The Aquamarine Pine Flower Tiara, and third Queen Juliana of the Netherlands’ Aquamarine Tiara and Parur

Queen Juliana of the Netherlands’ Aquamarine Tiara and Parure

HM Queen Juliana of the Netherlands’ Aquamarine Tiara and Parure

                       Here worn by HRH Princess Máxima of the Netherlands

The Dutch Royal House has a beautiful collection of aquamarines, which have been collected since the 1920’s. Many of the pieces have great sentiment attached to them, and have been worn by many of the ladies of the Dutch Royal House. Queen Juliana’s Aquamarine Parure was purchased by one of the House of Orange-Nassau Foundations, so it belongs to the Foundation and cannot be split up among any heirs (important given the equal inheritance rules in Dutch law). This ensures it remains available to the Royal House to wear.

In 1927 as an eighteenth birthday present Princess Juliana received from her parents Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Henry an art deco style tiara of Brazilian aquamarines and diamonds set in platinum, from the Dutch jeweler Kempen, Begeer & Vos.The base of the tiara is a geometric assortment of square-cut aquamarines, topped with seven briolette aquamarines.

Princess Juliana received from her grandmother the Dowager Queen Emma, an aquamarine and diamond demi-parure. It’s an Edwardian/Belle Époque style demi-parure of a necklace, made by Burnier in The Hague. The long necklace (a sautoir) consists of one rectangular aquamarine, and six square aquamarines. The sautoir can be shortened and worn as a bracelet.

In 1937 Queen Juliana received a wedding present from her husband Prince Bernhard of a long necklace with a large pear-shaped aquamarine pendant.

Queen Juliana also received a wedding gift from her mother-in-law, Queen Armgard, which is a set of briolette aquamarine earrings. These earrings match the briolette aquamarines in the tiara.

Queen Juliana received a brooch from Prince Bernhard as an anniversary gift, a cushion cut aquamarine brooch in platinum, surrounded by smaller aquamarines.

The demi-parure also includes another large rectangular brooch.

After WWII and the Dutch Royal Family’s return to Holland (they spent the war living in Canada and Princess Margriet was born in Ottawa), Queen Juliana started to wear all of the aquamarine pieces together, as a parure. She had previously worn them only as separate pieces. As you can see, Queen Juliana and her three daughters, Princess Beatrix (now Queen Beatrix), Princess Irene, and Princess Margriet, wore the aquamarines in separate pieces, as well as the full tiara and parure, over the years.

It is now only worn as an entire set by by HRH Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, the wife of the heir to the Dutch throne HRH Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, and HRH Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, a younger sister of HM Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Queen Beatrix and other family members continue to wear parts of the aquamarine parure.
Isn’t it nice that the Dutch Royal Family share tiaras and parures as much as they do – allows us to see more jewelry!!

HRH Princess Margriet

Here’s HRH Princess Máxima

This is the third in our series of aquamarine tiaras for March – the first was Queen Elizabeth’s Brazilian Aquamarine and Diamond Parure and the Boucheron Diamond Clips and the second was The Aquamarine Pine Flower Tiara.

Stay tuned for a post on an Aquamarine Tiara from Sweden – the Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara of Sweden!

The Aquamarine Pine Flower Tiara

Continuing our featuring of Aquamarine Tiaras in honour of March, here’s a beautiful piece that has most recently been worn by HRH Princess Anne The Princess Royal – The Aquamarine Pine Flower Tiara!

These interesting posts on aquamarine royal jewels are written by guest poster Sarah Taylor. Thank you, Sarah! Here we go…

The Aquamarine Pine Flower Tiara

The Aquamarine Pine Flower Tiara was commissioned by HM King George VI from Cartier as a wedding anniversary gift for his wife HM Queen Elizabeth. It is also known as Princess Anne’s Aquamarine Pine Flower Tiara, or HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s Cartier Aquamarine Tiara. This tiara is composed of aquamarines and diamonds arranged in a pine cone motif (hence the ‘pine flower’ designation), interspersed with large upright rectangular aquamarines and smaller diamonds.

Here is HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother wearing the Aquamarine Pine Flower Tiara.

It does not seem to have been a favourite tiara of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and the next recorded wearing of it we have is when it was passed along to her granddaughter, HRH Princess Anne, The Princess Royal.

Here’s Princess Anne wearing it on a tour of Australia in 1974. Doesn’t it look colourful and festive on her?

A formal portrait:

Princess Anne had the tiara shortened at some point, and the large central aquamarine made into a pendant, which she seems to have also worn as a brooch. You can see the difference between the original tiara on the left, and the altered tiara on the right in the central stone – the altered tiara has a single large rectangular aquamarine as its centerpiece.

It looks like Princess Anne is wearing the detached central aquamarine cluster as a brooch in this photograph. What do you think?

This is the second of our aquamarine tiara posts (first up was Queen Elizabeth’s Brazilian Aquamarine and Diamond Parure and the Boucheron Diamond Clips). Up next in aquamarine tiaras, something completely different – from the Netherlands – Queen Juliana’s Aquamarine Tiara and Parure.

Queen Elizabeth’s Brazilian Aquamarine and Diamond Parure and the Boucheron Diamond Clips

In honour of aquamarine being the birthstone of March, we here at the Royal Post thought it would be interesting to focus on tiaras that feature aquamarines. This post will focus on Queen Elizabeth’s Aquamarine Tiara and her Boucheron Diamond Clips, and we have a couple of more posts to follow on other aquamarine tiaras. Stay tuned!!

Queen Elizabeth’s Brazilian Aquamarine and Diamond Parure and the Boucheron Diamond Clips

This is a modern tiara story. In 1953 Queen Elizabeth was given a necklace and matching pendant earrings in aquamarine, diamonds and platinum by the President and People of Brazil, as a Coronation gift. It had taken well over a year to locate the perfectly matching aquamarines that are featured in the pendant earrings, as well as the nine oblong aquamarines in the necklace and even larger aquamarine in the necklace pendant. They were made by Mappin & Webb, Rio de Janeiro in 1953. These are very large aquamarines and they certainly make an impression! Queen Elizabeth has now altered the pendant drop so it is a detachable and slightly aquamarine surrounded by a cluster of diamonds.

Queen Elizabeth so liked this aquamarine set that in 1957 she commissioned Garrards & Co, London to create a matching tiara for her. This tiara originally was in the form of a bandeau with 3 upright detachable aquamarines (they could also be worn as brooches), on a platinum band. The central large aquamarine was the original necklace pendant drop given to the Queen in 1953. Queen Elizabeth had the tiara redesigned in 1971. It was believed that she had incorporated pieces from a smaller aquamarine tiara gifted to her by the Governor of São Paulo in 1968.

Here’s Queen Elizabeth wearing the aquamarine tiara from the Governor of São Paulo, which Sophie, Countess of Wessex wore to the wedding of Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg and Countess Stephanie Lannoy in October 2012. Click here for our post on that wedding!

Here’s Queen Elizabeth wearing the original tiara in bandeau form, with the matching pendant earrings and necklace

Here you can see Queen Elizabeth wearing the tiara in its original form and the altered final form. Note that in the first photo, you can also see the original, unaltered form of the necklace. The final, altered form is in the second photo.

Here’s a photo showing the HM Queen Elizabeth wearing the necklace without the detachable pendant

Here’s Queen Elizabeth wearing the altered and final version of the tiara

The Brazilian Aquamarine and Diamond Bracelet was given to her by the Government of Brazil in 1958 to complete the original coronation set. The bracelet consisted of seven oblong aquamarines with diamonds – it was later shortened to five aquamarines with diamonds.

At the same time, the Government of Brazil finished the Parure by contributing the Brazilian Aquamarine and Diamond Brooch.

Queen Elizabeth wears other pieces of aquamarine jewelry, including the Boucheron Aquamarine and Diamond-Clip Brooches given to her in 1944 as an eighteenth birthday present by her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. HM The Queen often wears the Boucheron clips. They seem to be a favourite of hers!

Here is HM Queen Elizabeth wearing the Boucheron Aquamarine and Diamond Clips during her and HRH Prince Philip’s historic visit to Ireland in 2011:

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth decked out at Buckingham Palace, March 2006

Stay tuned for an upcoming post on HRH Princess Anne’s Cartier Aquamarine Pineflower Tiara…

Kate Celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with the 1st Battalion Irish Guards

The Duchess of Cambridge attended her first solo military engagement today. She presented shamrocks to forty Irish Guards officers, watched their annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, sipped some sherry, and joined them for lunch.

The band played God Save the Queen followed by the Irish folk song Carrickfergus, which was especially fitting for the Duchess. In addition to holding the titles Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate also hold the titles Baron and Baroness Carickfergus, which the articles we’ve read about Kate’s visit haven’t picked up on yet. The title refers to Carrickfergus in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Carrickfergus means ‘Rock of Fergus’ and the town is home to Carrickfergus Castle which is over 800 years old and is now open to the public:

As we expected, Kate wore the Irish Guard’s gold shamrock brooch for the second time. For our post on the brooch, click here. The first time Kate wore it was in June when she and William presented medals to officers of the Irish Guards:

She looked great in her green dress coat by Emilia Wickstead and a ‘Betty Boop’ hat by Lock & Co. Kate last wore a hat by Lock & Co. when she joined Prince Philip and the Queen for an ‘away day’ in Leicester. Kate also wore a pair of Kiki McDonough earrings that first appeared at Sandringham on Christmas Day.

Gotta love this dog. He’s an Irish Wolfhound named Conmeal:

Sipping sherry:

And time for a group shot!

And now it’s time for a little history. The presentation of Shamrocks to the Irish Guards is a long standing royal tradition. Queen Victoria first decreed that the Irish Regiments should wear a sprig of shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day. In particular, she said they should be worn on their hats (as they are doing in the picture above).

Queen Victoria stepped things up a bit in 1901 when she started the custom of presenting them to the Irish Guards. Here is Queen Alexandra decked out in her finery but without a shamrock in sight:

Queen Alexandra passed away in 1925. The next royal who we know of that took over these duties was Princess Mary, daughter of King George and Queen Mary. She was the third Princess Royal (check out our post on that title here). This photograph of Princess Mary and Princess Margaret was taken at Ascot in 1961:

This photograph is from when the Queen Mum took part in 1968. She actually began taking over this duty 1965, when Princess Mary passed away.

She sat with the Battalion for a photograph like Kate did today:

This photograph is from the ceremony in 1994:

And this is from St. Patricks Day in 2000. At this point, the Queen Mum was 99 years old. According to the BBC, this was also the first time that the ceremony took place in public.

Here’s Princess Anne doing the honours in 2008 (note the clovers are again pinned to the hats):

and in 2009 in a green jacket:

Well, Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all! Thanks for joining us for this recap.

A Full Royal Day in London for The Queen, Charles, Camilla, & Kate

Today there were several British Royals out in full force and we’ve attempted to include the bulk of them here. This is a pretty long post, so do get comfortable!

Let’s start with the Queen. Joined by Prince Philip, she officially opened Kensington Palace today after lengthy renovations. Charles Mackay, chairman of the Historic Royal Palaces board, explained: “We have set out to awake the sleeping beauty of Kensington Palace. Our objective was to open up the palace to make everyone feel welcome. It has been the most ambitious and complex project we have ever undertaken.”

The Palace will be open to the public on March 26, and visitors will be able to see how Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubliee in the exhibit Victoria Revealed. If you are able to make a visit, it sounds like it will be worth it.

Naturally, there was a ribbon cutting.

Next up, the Duchess of Cambridge paid a surprise visit to Great Britain’s field hockey team which must have been pretty thrilling for her. That is a pretty fun day at the office, no? It was a natural fit since she was the captain of her high school’s team and also played for St. Andrew’s University. Plus the Olympic spirit is just so infectious, it’s great to start a few months ahead.

A press release from LOCOG explained,

Great Britain’s hockey players enjoyed the company of a very special guest today as Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge joined the men’s and women’s squads at the London 2012 Olympic Park in Stratford.

The Duchess visited the hockey players in her role as an official Team GB Ambassador for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Together with fellow Ambassadors The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, The Duchess will play an active role in supporting Team GB and ParalympicsGB and inspiring young people to reach their full potential in the build up to and during the London 2012 Games.

First she toured the Olympic Park and looked a tad like a flight attendant, but full marks for co-ordinating the official Ambassador scarf with her coral jeans. It was nice to see her in pants for a change:
Here’s a photo of Kate at Marlborough College playing field hockey:

And getting right into things today:

It was good to see her putting on some running shoes and taking part. When she and William were in the Northwest Territories during their tour of Canada, she stood on the sidelines which is nowhere near as much fun:

At the end of her visit, Kate received a team jersey for her and one for William with “Cambridge” on the back. Do you think she’ll wear it to a future practice or during one of the actual Olympic matches? Hope so:

It will complement her Team Canada ice hockey jersey…they are sooo ready for costume parties now:

Love this picture of Kate front and centre with the men’s team:

Please don’t get upset for this comparison, I just cant’ help myself…

Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cornwall was at Clarence House where she hosted some young students who were all decked out in patriotic face paint. Now who will believe them when they say it’s actually them in the picture??

The Prince of Wales’ website explains:

The Duchess of Cornwall has agreed to become Patron of The Big Jubilee Lunch (BJL). Today a group of six young BJL organisers from a local school met Her Royal Highness to discuss their plans with her. The children, from St Peter’s Eaton Square primary school, with their faces painted in Union Jack colours, knocked on the door of Clarence House, which was opened by The Duchess of Cornwall. She invited the children inside, entertained them in the Garden Room, chatted about their Diamond Jubilee celebration plans, and enjoyed the cupcakes they had made as a gift for their hostess.

To round out the day, Kate, Charles, and Camilla visited the Dulwich Art Gallery in support of Charles’ charity, The Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Art. This was Kate’s first visit to one of Charles’ charities and they seemed to have had a great time.

Fashion Side Note: Kate seems to have gotten her hair smoothed out after her field hockey outing and even switched her earrings from her Kiki McDonough studs to her Links Hope earrings. Love the dress – especially the length of the skirt for an event like this.

The trio got right into things and tried out an art project themselves:

and ironed their work onto silk:

Here’s some footage from the BBC: uk-17392128

We’ll be seeing more of Kate in the next few days. On Monday, she will visit The Treehouse, a hospice run by EACH in Ipswich and will give her first speech during that visit. Before that, on Saturday (St. Patrick’s Day), she will present shamrocks to the Irish Guards at the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Aldershot.

Here’s a taste of how that will go down from when Princess Anne did the honours wearing the gold shamrock brooch:

Do you think Kate will wear the Shamrock Brooch again?

Have a great weekend…and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The Art of the Royal Signature

Ok, this might seem silly but what the heck! Royal signatures are fun to analyze, whether they are on important documents (such as the one that The Queen signed with Prime Minister Trudeau in 1982 which formally repatriated the Canadian Constitution, pictured above) or if they are simply on Christmas cards.  Confession: after seeing that Princess Diana signed her correspondence with simply “Diana”, we went about doing the same thing in our (much) younger years. That was all fine and good until a bank teller when we were around 12 or 13 pointed out that a last name was actually required on certain documents. Ha! Oh, well it was fun while it lasted. Last names aren’t something the British Royal Family really deals with all that much. The official website of the British Monarchy explains:

People often ask whether members of the Royal Family have a surname, and, if so, what it is.

Members of the Royal Family can be known both by the name of the Royal house, and by a surname, which are not always the same. And often they do not use a surname at all.

Before 1917, members of the British Royal Family had no surname, but only the name of the house or dynasty to which they belonged.

Kings and princes were historically known by the names of the countries over which they and their families ruled. Kings and queens therefore signed themselves by their first names only, a tradition in the United Kingdom which has continued to the present day…

For the most part, members of the Royal Family who are entitled to the style and dignity of HRH Prince or Princess do not need a surname, but if at any time any of them do need a surname (such as upon marriage), that surname is Mountbatten-Windsor.

The surname Mountbatten-Windsor first appeared on an official document on 14 November 1973, in the marriage register at Westminster Abbey for the marriage of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips….

Unless The Prince of Wales chooses to alter the present decisions when he becomes king, he will continue to be of the House of Windsor and his grandchildren will use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.

From what we understand, Beatrice and Eugenie use the last name “York” when needed, and Princes William and Harry go by the last name “Wales” for their military careers. However, they don’t sign with their last names.

Let’s go back to Diana to discuss this some more. Before her wedding to Prince Charles, Lady Diana Spencer signed her name “Diana Spencer.” This letter dated May 20, 1980 (a little over two months before the wedding) is a great example, we’re just sorry we can’t make it  bigger:

For enquiring minds, the letter reads: “I would like very much to thank you for your extremely kind letter and for the lovely drawing you have coloured so beautifully. Your though was very much appreciated.”  It must have been from a young child who’d sent a congratulatory letter.

Interestingly, Diana also signed the marriage register ‘Diana Spencer’ during her and Charles’ wedding. That seems to have been the last time she signed that way. After that, she shortened her signature to her first name:

It became so recognizable, it was appropriated for the Princess of Wales Memorial Fund

And also for Tina Brown’s Book The Diana Chronicles:

Sarah, Duchess of York did the same thing:

Sophie, Countess of Wessex signs her name like this:

Same with Camilla:

And now Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is following this tradition as well. Before the wedding, she signed her name Catherine Middleton.

This signature is from the guest book at lodge where William and Kate were staying when they got engaged. For more info on that click here.

Here’s another example. This comes from a book of condolensce that Kate and William signed for the New Zealand earthquake last February. Note that William just signs with his first name and since the wedding is still a couple of months away, Kate is still signing her full name:

There were lots of guests books to sign during William and Kate’s trip to Canada, at which point she would have just been signing “Catherine.”

This was in Ottawa on the first day:


And on Canada Day, also in Ottawa:

In Charlottetown:

In the Northwest Territories:

And this was in Calgary on the last day of the Canadian leg of the tour:

This signature comes from her Valentine’s Day visit to Liverpool last month. We’re definitely down to just Catherine now! Wonder how it came up in conversation that she should sign that way once she became HRH…or if she had already picked up on this particular tradition from William.

And, to end, The Queen, Prince Philip, and Kate also signed their names this way on a certificate which marked their Jubilee trip to Leicester:

They also signed the guestbook at the University that day:

So, any thoughts to this whole no last name thing? And does anyone know if the marriage register from William and Kate’s wedding was ever published? Until next time…

The Oriental Circlet Tiara

Happy Monday everyone! Our guest poster Sarah Taylor has returned to discuss another of Queen Elizabeth’s gorgeous ruby tiaras. Her last post was on Queen Elizabeth’s Burmese Ruby Tiara and today we are reviewing the Oriental Circlet Tiara, pictured below.

The Oriental Circlet Tiara, also known as the Indian Ruby Tiara, was commissioned by Prince Albert the Prince Consort in 1853 as a gift to his wife, Queen Victoria. Knowing the provenance explains why it is also known as Queen Victoria’s Oriental Circlet Tiara. So many names! Anyhow, Prince Albert also designed the tiara and it is based on ‘Moghul’ arches surrounding lotus flowers. Prince Albert had been impressed by the various jewels give to Queen Victoria by the East India Company at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, and it inspired him to design this tiara.

Prince Albert was often involved in the design and setting of Queen Victoria’s jewelry, as she said herself in a quote verified by the Royal Collection webpage, “Albert has such taste & arranges everything for me about my jewels.”  The tiara was created by Garrard & Co and consists of diamonds, rubies and gold.

Notably, the original Oriental Circlet Tiara that Queen Victoria wore was designed not with rubies, but with opals. Her daughter-in-law Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII, who received the tiara in 1901, later had the opals replaced with Burmese rubies, as she felt opals caused bad luck. The rubies had been given to Queen Victoria in 1873. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were both very fond of opals, and Prince Albert gave Queen Victoria many pieces of opal jewelry during their marriage. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert gave each of their daughters opals upon their marriages, as well as gifting Princess Alexandra of Denmark (the future Queen Alexandra) an opal parure consisting of three broaches, a cross, a pair of earrings, and a bracelet (she wore the opal and diamond bracelet on her wedding day).

The Oriental Circlet Tiara passed to Queen Alexandra’s daughter-in-law, Queen Mary, wife of King George V, in 1925. It does not seem that HM Queen Mary wore the Oriental Circlet Tiara. She was well known for her great interest in jewelry, which makes the omission of the Oriental Circlet Tiara from her tiara appearances unusual.

In 1937 the Oriental Circlet Tiara was passed to HM Queen Elizabeth, wife of King George VI, known these days at HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. It was passed to Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of her coronation as Queen Consort of King George VI. The Oriental Circlet Tiara was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth, and she wore it on many occasions throughout her life.

Here is Queen Elizabeth wearing it in Ottawa, Canada in May 1939. She is standing next to Canadian Prime Minster William Lyon Mackenzie King. Perhaps she picked it out since the red rubies would be seen as rather patriotic to Canadians…

and here she is with it on two more occasions:

It’s nice to see her all decked out in rubies.

The cluster and drop necklace, and the pendant earrings which are paired with the tiara, are part of the original Oriental Circlet set belonging to Queen Victoria. Queen Alexandra replaced all of the opals in the tiara, earrings and necklace with rubies.

HM Queen Elizabeth II has worn the Oriental Circlet Tiara since the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 2002. It is worth noting that at all times the Oriental Circlet Tiara has remained Crown Property, and not the personal property of the wearer. It was left to the Crown by Queen Victoria, with the intention that it would be born by future Queens, which it has. It is part of the Royal Collection.

Here HM The Queen pairs it with the Baring ruby necklace and Queen Mary’s ruby earrings, both of which she wears often, and which she has also paired with her Burmese Ruby Tiara.

So what do you think? Is this one of your favourites? Do let us know if there are any other tiaras in particular you’d like to hear more about!