The George VI Victorian Sapphire Tiara Suite

In honour of it being the last day of September, we thought we would focus on one of the newer sapphire tiaras belonging to HM Queen Elizabeth, the George VI Victorian Sapphire Tiara Suite. This post comes from our guest royal poster Sarah Taylor, who is quite the jewelry expert!!

Let’s dive in.

HM Queen Elizabeth had this tiara commissioned in 1963 to match a sapphire suite that was given to her as HRH Princess Elizabeth by her father HM King George VI on the occasion of her marriage to Prince Philip in 1947.  This set of sapphire jewels and tiara belongs to HM Queen Elizabeth’s personal jewelry collection.

The Sapphire Suite was created in 1850, and consisted of a long necklace of linked oblong sapphires surrounded by diamonds, and a pair of oblong sapphire earrings surrounded by diamonds in a chandelier style. In 1952 the Queen had the necklace shortened by removing the largest sapphire, and in 1959 she had that central sapphire made into a gorgeous sapphire pendant, which can also be worn as a brooch.

The Queen wore the necklace and earrings many times before she had the tiara commissioned.

Midnight Matinee, 1951

At the premiere of the film Rob Roy in 1953

The tiara and a matching bracelet were commissioned by Her Majesty in 1963 to complete the parure.

The tiara and bracelet was debuted in 1969 when the Queen wore them to a charity event with Prince Philip

It is believed that the tiara was constructed out of a necklace that the Queen bought in 1963 that originally belonged to Louise of Belgium, Princess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (daughter of King Leopold II).

Here is Louise wearing the necklace. If you look carefully you can see many similarities between the tiara and the necklace, specifically the floral motifs.

The Queen has also worn the George VI Sapphire Suite Tiara more recently, including memorably in 1994 when Bill Clinton was visiting London, prior to a banquet in honour of the 50th anniversary of D-Day.

What do you think of this tiara?

As promised, we have some posts on our recent visit to Kensington Palace to follow. See you then!

In the meantime, you may also like these other posts by Sarah Taylor:

The Emerald Parure of the Netherlands

Wessex Aquamarine and Diamond Tiara

Queen Juliana of the Netherlands Aquamarine Tiara and Parure

 

6 Replies to “The George VI Victorian Sapphire Tiara Suite”

  1. The tiara and the entire suite are amazing. I have a question about the top picture: There is a broach on her left shoulder with what appears to be a photo of a man (whom I am assuming is her late father). I see other European royals wearing similar pins, with ribbons and similar photos. Many are fastened on a sash of some sort. Can you tell us a little more about these, when and how they are worn, etc?

    I enjoy your blog very much, thank you!

    1. The brooch that you are referring to is actually the ‘King George VI Royal Family Order’. Royal Family Orders are given by the Monarch to female members of the Royal Family (and sometimes to senior female members of the Royal Household). It is not automatic that a female member of the Royal Family would receive the Royal Family Order – Diana, Princess of Wales, HRH Countess of Wessex and HRH Duchess of Cornwall have all received the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II, but Sarah the Duchess of York did not receive it, and none of the Queen’s granddaughters have received it. Royal Family Orders exist in the UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Tonga. In this photo the Queen is wearing the Royal Family Order that was given to her by her father, King George VI. It is a miniature portrait of George VI. She often wears this to state occasions. It was given to Princess Elizabeth by her father in 1937, shortly before the Coronation.

      Stay tuned for a post on royal family orders!

  2. Love your blog!
    I don’t like how they turned the necklace into a tiara. It just looks like a necklace worn upsidedown on HM’s head! I think that it looks better as a necklace and should be returned to this form. The suite needs a better matching tiara anyways.

  3. The sapphire tiara is gorgeous. Really makes Her Majesty’s lovely blue eyes pop.

    Since this whole set of jewels is Her Majesty’s private collection, what will happen to them when she passes? Will they become part of a state collection, or be left to a family member, I wonder? Sorry to be gruesome…..just imagining William passing on his blonde, blue-eyed good looks to a daughter who might someday wear these jewels.

    1. The jewels in the Queen’s private collection can be dispersed according to the Queen’s wishes. She can leave them to the Crown, meaning they can be worn by future Queens, or she can leave them to a specific person. My guess is most if not all of her jewelry that has significant meaning will be left to the Crown in order to save her children and grandchildren from having to pay the very high taxes associated with each piece/set.

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