I do enjoy taking a good look at every tiara royal tiara out there, and I know many of you do, too! This post focuses on one of the Queen Mum’s tiaras, the Lotus Flower Tiara (this beauty also goes by the name Papyrus Leaf Tiara sometimes, too).
As we know, Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon did not choose to wear a tiara on her wedding day though she already had at least two at her disposal. She decided to keep things simple, and go for flowers instead which was more in vogue at the time.
Honestly, I think she really missed a great tiara wearing opportunity here. I mean, come on!!
Side Note Fun fact: James Pryce, Kate Middleton’s hairdresser for her wedding day, has confirmed that Kate did originally plan to wear flowers in her hair but by February had switched to a tiara.
However, after the wedding, she started to get her tiaras out and the Lotus Flower Tiara became one of her go-to’s in the early years. According to the fabulous book Tiaras, A History of Splendour by Geoffrey C. Munn, Queen Elizabeth let it be known that this tiara was originally owned by Queen Mary.
It may very well have been made from the diamonds and pearls of this necklace and was said to have been made by William Davis of E. Wolff & Co., who were suppliers to Garrard.
George Munn describes it as being “one of the prettiest of Queen Elizabeth’s tiaras…was Egyptian in inspiration, arranged as a band of stylized lotus flowers and overreaching arches, with the graduated pinnacles surmounted by a single pearl…The lotus flower tiara was given to Queen Elizabeth by Queen Mary.”
The then Duchess of York sat for a series of portraits in 1927 which were taken to mark her tour of Australia that year. As you can see, she chose to wear it low on the forehead as was the fashion at that time. (Check out our posts on Tiaras worn in Untraditional Ways for more, here, here, and here).
Apparently, she also took the tiara to Canada on her trip there in 1939 and wore it for the Opening of Parliament. Still hunting for a picture, and will post one if or when it is unearthed!
Later, the Queen Mum gifted the tiara to Princess Margaret, who wore it on numerous occasions, and with great aplomb.
Margaret also chose to wear it when she sat for this portrait by John Gilroy. The portrait is owned by The National Portrait Gallery:
Later, Princess Margaret’s daughter-in-law the Hon. Serena Stanhope wore it on her wedding day, which unfortunately is the last time it was actually seen on top of anyone’s head (at least in public!). She also wore a wedding gown that was inspired by Princess Margaret’s wedding dress.
It seems to still be owned by the family since this tiara was not included in the action of Princess Margaret’s personal effects after her death, so here’s to hoping we see it out again soon.
I think that this tiara is a real treasure because of it’s history (it started out as Queen Mary’s necklace!) and it’s appearance at key events over many decades. Plus, it’s elegant and does well with many different hair do’s (total bonus!). What do you think of this taira?
UPDATED December 2013: Kate was photographed wearing this tiara to a ball at Buckingham Palace. Hurrah! This is only Kate’s second tiara appearance and it’s a fabulous choice of tiara for her, don’t you think? Check out our post on Kate and this tiara here.