Marie-Chantal Miller’s Wedding Dress & Tiara

The incredibly lavish events that marked Prince Pavlos of Greece’s wedding to Marie-Chantal Miller deserve a place in the history books. Last week we recapped the wedding festivites (click here for a refresher) and today we’re taking a close look at the bride’s couture wedding dress.

On the steps [Us Weekly]
On the steps [Us Weekly]
Since the couple became engaged during the Christmas 1994 holiday and the wedding took place on July 1 of 1995, there were just 6 months to pull everything together.  Marie-Chantal chose Valentino to design the dress and according to Vogue, it took more than 25 seamstresses to complete the £140,000 ivory silk gown. Twelve different types of lace reportedly were included in the dress and with a high neck, fitted bodice, and long sleeves Marie-Chantal wanted quite a traditional and modest silhouette. The bodice and sleeves are made of floral lace (much like Grace Kelly’s iconic wedding dress) and the lace extends to the empire line of the dress.

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It’s a beautiful gown but even with all the attention to detail it is not a favorite of mine- overall it just seems rather heavy – but I do love the lustre of the ivory silk and the detail on the skirt is gorgeous.

The bride & groom posed outside of the cathedral after the wedding [Vogue]
The bride & groom posed outside of the cathedral after the wedding [Vogue]
 In fact, the lace appliqué on the skirt is somewhat reminiscent of Kate Middletown’s Alexander McQueen wedding gown. I wouldn’t be surprised if Marie-Chantals’ gown was an inspirational reference for her. Check out both of the gowns on display below to see the similar affect they both have:

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Different and yet so similar – can you see it, too?

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I think what really takes the heaviness factor over the top is the chantilly lace veil; there’s just so much going on and those scallops are not dainty. I think a more diaphanous veil may have done the trick. Regardless, the veil extended beyond the length of the dress which was quite stunning, though.

Along with her intricate veil  Marie-Chantal wore a diamond and pearl encrusted tiara. This particular tiara is known as the Antique Corsage Tiara and it was on loan from her mother-in-law Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.

The Corsage Tiara [Hello!]
The Corsage Tiara [Hello!]
Queen Anne-Marie received it on her 18th birthday (gotta love the 18th birthday tiara tradition) and it has quite an extraordinary history. The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor – a fantastic blog- has a great post on this tiara here. Marie-Chantal wore the tiara at other occasions after the wedding, though nowadays she seems to prefer wearing three other tiaras at her disposal (perhaps they should be the subject of another post!).

In choosing Valentino, Marie-Chantal started something of a trend among royal brides including  Maxima, shown here at her 2002 wedding to Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. Maxima’s gown was made of silk mikado and has a similar silhouette to Marie-Chantal’s.

[getty src=”856210″ width=”219″ height=”354″]

Princess Madeleine of Sweden also chose Valentino as well for her 2013 wedding to Christopher O’Neill

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 as did Prince Amadeo of Belgium’s bride Elisabetta Rosboch Von Wolkenstein in 2014.

[getty src=”451735874″ width=”594″ height=”400″]

Marie-Chantal remained friends with Valentino over the years and loaned her dress to be exhibited for Valentino: Master of Couture. This exhibit was held at Somerset House in London from November 2012 – March 2013 which gives us a great look at the detail of the dress. Here’s a better look at the train – it is separate from the skirt and extends from the waist.

[getty src=”157057594″ width=”594″ height=”387″]

Marie-Chantal and Valentino posed in front of the dress at a private viewing before the exhibit opened which is quite sweet.

[getty src=”157088647″ width=”376″ height=”594″]

The King and Queen of Greece showed up as well, and Marie-Chantal brought along her oldest child and only daughter Princess Olympia (more on her here).

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Marie-Chantal still wears Valentino and they seem quite chummy; she shared this instagram picture with the design legend en route to Princess Madeleine’s wedding.

A little instagram insights from Marie-Chantal [Hello!]
A little instagram insights from Marie-Chantal [Hello!]
So what are your thoughts on this wedding gown – too ornate and heavy or perfectly pretty and just right?


The Devonshire Diamonds: The Coronet, Tiara, & Parure

While not technically royal jewels, the Ducal Devonshire tiaras and parure are, shall we say, significant pieces of jewelry so let’s give attention where attention is due!

#1Devonshire Diamond Coronet

Hello, gorgeous! (via Chartsworth official site)
Hello, gorgeous! (via Chatsworth official site)

Let’s start with the biggest, which is suitably described on the official Chatsworth website as a Diamond Coronet rather than a tiara. In her delightful book Home to Roost, the late Deborah Mitford, Duchess of Devonshire (‘Debo’ to family and friends) includes an amusing chapter to tiaras in general. It was originally an article written for The Telegraph in 2002. Here are some excerpts (shown in bold) that highlight this tiara of all tiaras:

My grandmother-in-law, Evelyn Duchess of Devonshire, was Mistress of the Robes to Queen Mary for forty-three years from 1910. Together they weathered long hours of tiara’d evenings, including those during the fabulous Indian Durbar in Delhi in 1911. The magically beautiful but relentless program, carried out in torrid heat, was exhausting for all concerned, and after one particularly lengthy evening Granny Evie was heard to say, ‘The Queen has been complaining about the weight of her Tiara…The Queen doesn’t know what a heavy tiara is.’ 

Evelyn knew what she was talking about. The larger of the two Devonshire diamond tiaras in indeed a whopper.

Evelyn Duchess of Devonshire by Bassano, vintage print, 29 April 1920 (via Royal Jewels of the World)
Evelyn Duchess of Devonshire by Bassano, vintage print, 29 April 1920 (via Royal Jewels of the World)

 It was made in 1893 for Louise, the 8th Duke of Devonshire’s wife. She was formerly married to the Duke of Manchester and was known as ‘the Double Duchess.’

Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire did wear ‘the big tiara’ on a few occasions. I’ll let her tell the story…

I remember going to…an entertainment in London in the early 1960’s, by myself as Andrew had an engagement elsewhere. With…confidence I wore the big tiara…When I ran out of partners and wanted to go home, I went out to look for a taxi. It never occurred to me that it might not be a good idea to stand alone in the street, long after midnight, with a load of diamonds around my neck and 1,900 more glittering above my head.

One memorable evening we were staying at Windsor Castle for a dance given by the Queen. I came down to dinner, got up as I thought our hostess and the other guests would be, the big tiara firmly in place. To my horror none of the other women wore theirs. It is far worse to be overdressed than underdressed a I sat through dinner wishing I was anywhere else. When the dancing began, I took it off, put it under a chair and enjoyed myself enormously. I suppose Windsor Castle in the only house where you could be sure of finding the blessed thing still there at bedtime.

If only there was a picture of Debo standing there waiting for a taxi to arrive! She perhaps most famously wore the tiara for her 80th birthday party along with the famous House of Worth gown worn by Louise, Duchess of Devonshire for the Diamond Jubilee costume party she threw at Devonshire House in London in 1897.

Deborah Duchess of Devonshire dressed for her 80th birthday party (via The Telegraph)
Deborah Duchess of Devonshire dressed for her 80th birthday party (via The Telegraph)

This photo shows the Duchess at the 1897 costume ball (on the left) side by side with Debo. It appears that the sleeves of the gown were altered at some point after the ball.

Via Royal Jewels of the World
Via Royal Jewels of the World

Here’s a more relaxed photo. I love how it really shows that Debo didn’t take all the Duchess stuff too seriously,

via Royal Jewels of the World
via Royal Jewels of the World

This photo shows the gown in more detail. It is displayed at Chatsworth.

(via Chatsworth)
(via Chatsworth)

Let’s take another look at the tiara, I can’t resist.

via Pinterest
via Pinterest

This detailed description comes from the Chatsworth site and is quite illuminating.

The coronet has a row of thirteen scrolled palmettes (a fan- like shape of leaves on a palm tree), alternating with a lotus pattern. The upper section was made around 1893 and was set throughout with cushion-shaped diamonds. The base has a row of lozenge motifs set between two lines of more cushion shaped diamonds and dates from around 1897.It is mounted in silver and gold.

In order to make the coronet the 8th Duke of Devonshire removed the diamonds in the Devonshire Parure and other heirlooms, such as the 6th Duke’s Garter Star. These totalled 1041 diamonds, to which Skinner added another 840.

A.E.Skinner was the jewelry firm that made this historic piece.

#2 The Devonshire Parure

So that brings us to the Devonshire Parure. It really is quite eclectic and wouldn’t go with just any old gown.

(via Royal Jewels of the World)
(via Royal Jewels of the World)

I think Debo agreed with me. Here is her description of it from Home to Roost:

This set consists of seven monumental pieces of jewelry which, until you look closely at them, might have been pulled out of the dressing-up box. They are a bizarre combination of antique  (Greek and Roman) and Renaissance cameos and intaglios carved from emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and semi-previous stones – cornelian, onyx, amethysts and garnets – set in gold and enamel of exquisite workmanship by C.F. Hancock of London. They were commissioned by the dear, old extravagant 6th Duke of Devonshire, ‘the Bachelor Duke’, for his niece, Countess Granville, to wear at the coronation of TsarAlexander II in Moscow in 1856. This tiara and its companion necklace, stomacher, and bracelet are very prickly to wear. I know because I put them all on for a Women’s Institute performance when I was cast as ‘The Oldest Miss World in the Wold.’

Here she is wearing some of the pieces in what appears to be her everyday clothes and in front of the portrait that was done by Lucian Freud when she was 34 years old. There has been some chatter that this was photoshopped. It’s possible, but my guess is that it’s a real photo and she did put it on like this, perhaps for the Women’s Institute event!

via Pinterest
via Pinterest

More information on the parure can be found at the official Chatsworth website here, if you’d like to see. This is the most significant (and tiara-like) of the headpieces in my opinion:

A chatsworth headpiece (via Chatsworth official site)
A chatsworth headpiece (via Chatsworth official site)

#3 The Devonshire Diamond Tiara

This is the tiara that Debo was most photographed in and you can see why she would have chosen it over the ‘big one.’ It reminds me a bit of the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara – formal but not too heavy, great upward spires, and lots of breathing room so it’s not a wall of diamonds.

(via Royal Jewels of the World)
(via Royal Jewels of the World)

This portrait was taken of the Duchess around the time of the Queen’s coronation in 1953. Information on the history of the tiara can’t be found on the Chatsworth site unfortunately, perhaps they will add it at some point.

Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire (via Royal Jewels of the World)
Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire (via Royal Jewels of the World)

The big tiara was worn by Debo’s mother in law the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire since she assisted the Queen during the Coronation and would have had more eyes on her. It’s been noted that Debo was likely the only Duchess at the Coronation wearing their family’s ‘second best’ tiara.

So regal! (via Chatsworth)
So regal! (via Chatsworth)

This explanation of the peeress robes she is shown wearing for the coronation comes from the Chatsworth site:

Cecil Beaton called Deborah ‘the most beautiful of all’ the peeresses in this off-the-shoulder robe, believed to have been reworked from an original worn by Georgiana, wife of the 5th Duke of Devonshire. In her memoirs, Deborah describes how she came to wear it:

“…Moucher [Mary Devonshire] was to have the robes that had been carefully put away by Granny Evie in 1937 after King George VI’s coronation. Chatsworth, as always, came to the rescue. There were a number of tin boxes…In the vain hope of finding something for me, we started going through them and, lo and behold, from beneath a ton of tissue paper in the box that had held Moucher’s, appeared a second crimson peeress’s robe. The velvet is of exceptional quality, so soft your fingers hardly know they’re touching it, and of such pure brilliant crimson as to make you blink.” 
Deborah Devonshire, Wait for me! (John Murray, 2010)

So, what do you think? I’d take the smaller tiara very happily!

Dressing The Queen

A couple of years ago at Windsor Castle, I struck up a conversation with a member of the staff. She was very friendly and easy to talk to. The conversation took a few turns and she nonchalantly revealed that she had previously worked as an assistant dresser to The Queen. Obviously that was fascinating so I wanted to ask a million questions about what that was like while trying to behave like a normal person and not overstep the mark.

To her credit she was very discrete and spoke of her amazement that Kate had done the tour of Canada without an official dresser and that  while The Queen had been wonderful to work for, she wanted to try something new which lead her to a new role.

Dressing the Queen (via )
Dressing the Queen (via Amazon)


So of course I was excited to be given a copy of Dressing the Queen: The Jubilee Wardrobe by Angela Kelly. Since starting as one of the Queen’s dressers in 1994, she has risen up the ranks and now holds the unique title of Personal Assistant, Adviser and Curator to Her Majesty The Queen (Jewellery, Insignias and Wardrobe). So, yeah, she has a pretty awesome resume.

Behind the Scenes: the Queen and Angela Kelly (via The Telegraph)
Behind the Scenes: the Queen and Angela Kelly (via The Telegraph)

Published back in 2012, it’s an insightful book with gorgeous pictures that shows how much thought and effort goes into the creation of each of The Queen’s many bespoke outfits and gowns, how not a scrap of fabric is wasted (the Queen’s stock room includes fabric from 1961), and how they are all carefully maintained.

It also reveals a bit of the close working relationship that Angela and The Queen clearly have. The fact that the Queen even gave her blessing to the book is huge! She has also given Angela a grace and favour home in Windsor, as well as the honour of the Royal Victorian Order which recognizes personal services to The Queen. In a 2007 interview with The Telegraph that the Queen consented to, Angela explained

“I just want everything to be right for The Queen – to make life easier for her because she is so busy. My job is to ensure that when The Queen meets people she looks right.

“I would never overstep the mark and I remain in awe of The Queen. But she has allowed me to become closer to her over the years. We [the royal dressers] are not treated like flunkies. It’s not like that. The Queen treats us with real respect.

“I don’t know why the Queen seems fond of me – because I don’t give her an easy time! I do think she values my opinion, but she is the one who is in control. She always makes the final decision.”

Angela Kelly at work on the Queen's dress for the Jubilee Concert (Via The Daily Mail)
Angela Kelly at work on the Queen’s dress for the Jubilee Concert (Via The Daily Mail)

Here are a few tidbits from the book – for more I recommend reading it yourself!

Secrets of a Tiara

The Queen in one of her favourite tiaras (via The Daily Mail)
The Queen in one of her favourite tiaras (via The Daily Mail)

The Girls of Great Britain of Ireland Tiara is gorgeous (to learn more about it, click here if you like), and my favourite tiara of all time. It’s even cooler now that Angela Kelly pointed out this special design feature I hadn’t previously realized. In shadow, it looks like a row of girls holding hands! See?

Holiday hands!! (picture from Dressing the Queen)
Holiday hands!! (picture from Dressing the Queen)

Also, Angela is one of the very few people who has access to the vaults that stores the Queen’s jewellery. As she puts it in the book,

“It is a great honour and privilege to be entrusted with the care of the Queen’s private jewellery and to help select the items that are worn on a daily basis. Again, the final choice is always made by The Queen, but based on a selection that I will have made to complement the outfit she will be wearing and appropriate for the occasion.”

Queen Mary’s Jewellery Trays

The jewels that The Queen selects on any given day are presented to her on special trays that also once belonged to the Queen’s grandmother, Queen Mary.

That's not just any tray (via Macleans)
That’s not just any tray (via Macleans)

The lace cover that is pulled back actually has Queen Mary’s monogram on it and were sewn by Queen Mary herself.

Umbrellas for Every Occasion

A few of the Queen's brollies (via The Daily Mail)
A few of the Queen’s brollies (via The Daily Mail)

The Queen knows that she needs to stand out in a crowd, and that people want to see her no matter what the weather. So, she has a large collection of see-through umbrella’s trimmed with every possible color to match her outfits.

There really is so much more in the book – I could go on and on! So, what do you think? Sounds like a fascinating job to me. For much more on how the outfits are created and jewellery maintained, I recommend checking out the book yourself!


The Queen Mum's Lotus Flower Tiara

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).

Photograph from Tiaras: A History of Splendour
Photograph from Tiaras: A History of Splendour

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!!

Via Royal Musings
Via Royal Musings

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.

Via Royal Fandom
Via Royal Fandom

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).

The Duchess of York c. 1925 (via Royal Dish)
The Duchess of York photographed by Vandyk in 1927 (via Royal Dish)

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.

via Colored Diamond Info
via Colored Diamond Info

Margaret also chose to wear it when she sat for this portrait by John Gilroy. The portrait is owned by The National Portrait Gallery:

The National Portrait Gallery, London
The National Portrait Gallery, London

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.

Kate in the Lotus Flower Tiara en route to Buckingham Palace on December 3, 2013 (via Daily Mail)
Kate in the Lotus Flower Tiara en route to Buckingham Palace on December 3, 2013 (via Daily Mail)

The Greville Jewels

Today let’s chat about a formidable lady who was affectionately known to friends as “Mrs. Ronnie.”

The daughter of Scottish brewer, philanthropist, and MP William McEwan and Margaret Anderson, she was born Margaret McEwan in 1863.   Hilariously, she would freely announce she’d “rather be a beeress than a peeress” and married the Hon. Ronald Greville in 1891. She quickly earned a reputation for her spirited personality and for throwing enormous parties.

Portrait c. 1900, via
Portrait c. 1900, via

Though she was quite a bit older than the Duke and Duchess of York, she became a good and loyal friend to both of them. When she passed away in 1942, she left her extensive collection of jewels to HM Queen Elizabeth “with my loving thoughts” in their entirety.

This short video entitled “Have You Heard About Mrs. Greville?” gives some more insights into her life.

Thanks to a delightful book called Counting One’s Blessings: The Selected Letters of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother by William Shawcross, we have great insights into how the Queen Mum felt about Mrs. Greville and her jewels (and many other things!).

In fact, fact one of the first letters that Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon wrote to Prince Albert alludes to her. In a letter dated to 13 December, 1920, she wrote:

Dear Prince Albert,

Thank you so much for your letter. I am looking forward very much to Mrs Ronnie Greville’s party – though the thought of it terrifies me! I haven’t been to a proper dinner party for months and months, and have quite forgotten how to behave! I expect it will be great fun though…”

Notably, the new Duke and Duchess spent their honeymoon in 1923 in Mrs. Greville’s home Polesden Lacey in Surrey.

via The National Trust
via The National Trust

This photograph shows the Duke and Duchess on their honeymoon there.

Via The Daily Mail
Via The Daily Mail

We now jump ahead many years to September 1942 when she wrote to Osbert Sitwell (a write that she got to know through Mrs. Greville) of a recent visit she had with their ailing friend. Her letter reads:

“I saw Mrs. Ronnie about three weeks ago. She was at Braemar and quite miserable there. She came over to Balmoral, & it was too pathetic to see this little bundle of unquenchable courage & determination, quite helpless except for one very bright eye. I had not seen her for a couple of months, & was very shocked and sad at the change. But with all her weakness there was just the same tenacity of purpose, & I felt full of admiration for such a wonderful exhibition of ‘never give in’. 

After she passed away that month, the Queen wrote another letter dated to Mr. Sitwell. It is dated to 27 September 1942 and gives a sense of Mrs. Ronnie’s sense of humour:

“I shall miss her very much indeed..she was so shrewd, so kind, so amusingly unkind, so sharp, such fun, so naughty (‘amn’t I naughty’), that must be very Scotch to say ‘amn’tI’, and altogether a real person, a character, utterly Mrs. Ronal Grenville and no tinge of anything alien”

Queen Elizabeth in 1942, via The BBC
Queen Elizabeth in 1942, via The BBC

The first mention of her jewels comes in a letter dated to 13 October 1942 when she wrote to her mother-in-law Queen Mary from Balmoral Castle. She says:

“…I must tell you that Mrs. Greville has left me her jewels, tho’ I am keeping that quiet as well for the moment! She left them to me “with her loving thoughts”, dear old thing, and I feel very touched. I don’t suppose I shall see what they consist of for a long time, owing to the slowness of lawyers and death duties, etc, but I know she had a few good things. Apart from everything else, it is rather exciting to be left something, and I do admire beautiful sones with all my heart. I can’t help thinking most women do!”…

There has been some conjecture that Queen Mary, who certainly loved beautiful stones with all her heart, may have had her eye on Mrs. Greville’s collection, so knowing that I read Queen Elizabeth’s letter a little differently. She must have had an inkling that there may be a case of ‘green eye’ on Queen Mary’s part!

Anyhow, the final letter I have to share before we dive into the jewels is from June 27, 1944. It is addressed to Princess Elizabeth and reads as follows:

Buckingham Palace

My Darling Lilibet,

This is just a note about one or two things in case I get ‘done in’ by the Germans! I think that I have left all my own things to be divided between you and Margaret, but I am sure you will give her anything suitable later on – such as Mrs. Greville’s pearls, as you will have the Crown ones. It seems silly to be writing these sorts of things, but perhaps it would be easier for you darling if I explained about the jewels.

I am sure that you would find Cynthia Spencer & Dorothy Halifax very helpful over any difficult little problems & of course Granny!

Let’s hope this won’t be needed, but I know that you will always do the right thing, & remember to keep your temper & your word & be loving – sweet – Mummy.

It is a rather silly thing to be writing about! Note the allusion to Cynthia Spencer, Princess Diana’s grandmother (the lady below). They really were close!

Portrait by John Singer Sargent. Via Wikipedia.
Portrait of Cynthia Spencer by John Singer Sargent. Via Wikipedia.

And now, here are some of the key pieces of the collection known as the Greville Jewels:

The Greville Scroll Brooch, Cartier, 1929

We’ll start with this quite dainty and lovely brooch was made for Mrs. Greville by Cartier. It was worn numerous times by the Queen Mother, once even on a hat.

Via Her Majesty's Jewel Vault
Via Her Majesty’s Jewel Vault

Since 2002, Queen Elizabeth has brought this brooch out a few times. More information can be found over at the always delightful blog, Her Majesty’s Jewel Vault.

Chandelier Earrings, Cartier, 1929

These beauties were apart of the exhibit Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration put on at Buckingham Palace in the summer of 2012. You can read about our visit and impression of those jewels here, if you like.  Aren’t they stunning?

Via The Royal Collection Trust
Via The Royal Collection Trust

King George and Queen Elizabeth gifted these earrings to Princess Elizabeth when she married Prince Philip, and she wore them quite a bit in the ’50’s and ’60’s.

Via Windsor Jewels Tumbler
Via Windsor Jewels Tumbler

They haven’t made an appearance in awhile which is just all sorts of wrong. It’s about time they did, I say.

The Greville Peardrop Earrings, Cartier, 1938

These drops are comparatively dainty!

Via The Royal Collection Trust
Via The Royal Collection Trust

The Queen Mum kept these in her collection and also bequeathed them to Queen Elizabeth upon her death in 2002.

Ruby & Diamond Necklace, Boucheron, 1907

Via The Royal Collection
Via The Royal Collection

This necklace is not for the faint of heart and was passed along to Princess Elizabeth on the occasion of her wedding. Princess Elizabeth modified the necklace slightly by removing two of the flower clusters to shorten it.

And voila, the necklace on an outing:

Via Gracie Jewellery
Via Gracie Jewellery

Since the Queen has taken to wearing higher necklines, this necklace hasn’t been worn in some time. It really needs a good dress to work around it! I think Sophie should be allowed to give it a go.

Marie Antoinette’s Emerald Necklace

There is some conflicting information about this one, so I’ll update this if I come across some more credible information. For now, let me tell you that it is believed that this emerald necklace, which once belonged to Marie Antoinette, was also included in the gift. It was also bequeathed to Queen Elizabeth upon the Queen Mother’s death, but as far as I know the Queen hasn’t worn it publicly. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

via Royal Jewels of the World
via Royal Jewels of the World

The GrevilleTiara, Boucheron, 1921

Mrs. Greville had this tiara made by Boucheron out of diamonds that she had on a pre-existing tiara. I would love to find a portrait or picture of Mrs. Greville wearing it, but haven’t tracked one down yet.

According to Geoffrey Munn in Tiaras: A History of Splendour, Mrs. Greville had the tiara made by boucheron using stones from an old tiara. The order is dated to January 8, 1921 and this is how it orignally appeared:

Via Tiaras: A History of Splendour
Via Tiaras: A History of Splendour

The Queen Mum certainly made good use out of it, wearing it on numerous occasions and in oodles of portraits. She had it modified slightly in 1953, when she increased the tiara’s height by adding the pinnacles to the top. It really is fit for a queen and is more of a crown than a tiara.

Via Artemesia's Jewels
Via Artemesia’s Royal Jewels

It has since graced the head of the Duchess of Cornwall, who carries it with aplomb. This tiara needs a proper amount of hair to sit on and Camilla’s ‘do works, I think.

Via The Daily Mail
Via The Daily Mail

The Greville Diamond Necklace

Ok, this piece is a bit of a mystery to me still. Geoffrey Munn alludes to it saying that the gift included “a spectacular necklace of brilliant and baguette diamonds by Cartier.” Still working on tracking down a picture, and will post it when I do!

So, what’s your favourite piece? I’d be quite content with the chandelier earrings and would most likely take to wearing them in the bath!

Margaret photographed by Lord Snowdon (Via The Oddment Emporium)
Princess Margaret photographed by Lord Snowdon (Via The Oddment Emporium)

Queen Mary's Art Deco Emerald & Diamond Choker

This is our 250th post so…let’s celebrate with jewelry! It’s time to talk about some emeralds, in particular Queen Mary’s Emerald Choker.

First, let’s try to spot it in this portrait of Queen Mary. As she was fond of doing, she is all decked out in oodles of goodies. She’s got the Delhi Durbar tiara on her head, and the Delhi Durbar diamond and emerald necklace around her neck, along with lots of other diamonds, and right at the very top of the chokers, we have the beauty we’re chatting about today.


You might recognize this piece more once you’ve seen this 1982 photo of Diana:


This necklace was originally made with 16 cabochon emeralds as part of the Delhi Durbar parure. It was remodeled for Queen Mary in the 1920’s, who brought it down to 14 cabochon emeralds set in platinum in the Art Deco style. The necklace was inherited by the Queen in 1953, who chose to pass it along to Diana as a wedding gift.

Here is a good look at it:


Another view:


Princess Diana wore the necklace on numerous occasions, including when she wore it as a headband/tiara in Australia:

princess diana choker headband

And on another occasion when she paired it with the Spencer tiara. This dress was actually blue so someone photoshopped this picture green at some point:


This is an oldie but a goodie:


Princess Diana was allowed to keep the jewels given by the Queen after the divorce, on condition that they could not be lent or sold and that upon her death they would be returned to the royal family.

Unlike the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara, Diana did wear this piece after the divorce was finalized. Diana is pictured here on July 1, 1997, her 36th birthday:


She was attending the Centenary Gala of the Tate Gallery in London and is also wearing an emerald and diamond bracelet which was reportedly a wedding gift from Prince Charles that was purchased from Wartski.

Hopefully we’ll see this necklace out again before too long. In the meantime, here are some past posts on other delightful chokers:

Princess Diana’s Spencer Pearl Choker

Princess Diana’s Sapphire and Pearl Choker

Royal Charm Bracelets

Happy Belated New Year to you all! Today we’re looking at a fun and frivolous topic: royal charm bracelets. Because why not?

Princess Mary of Denmark

Princess Mary has accumulated a beautiful collection of jewelry since her 2004 wedding, including pieces which belong to the Crown (like the ruby parure) and those that she owns personally (like her engagement ring).

In September of 2012, Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Mary headed to Brazil for a six day tour and Mary brought a big ‘ol jewelry box with her.


Amongst the many jewels she wore during the trip was a gold charm bracelet. Here is a close up of the bracelets she is wearing in the photograph above. An eagle eyed poster on the Royal Forums noticed that one of the bracelets features a disc that appears to have Mary’s monogram engraved on it:


Courtesy of the Danish Royal Family’s website, here is Princess Mary’s monogram so you can decide for yourself:



Princess Isabella of Denmark

Next up is Princess Mary’s daughter Isabella. When she was born, Tasmania gifted the little princess with a tiny bracelet to fit her wrist at her christening. The bracelet is made of white gold and features white gold apple seeds and nine red hearts. The white and red is for the Danish flag.

I haven’t been able to find either a picture of the bracelet or one that shows Isabella’s wrist at the christening. Does anyone know if she did actually wear it?


But that’s not all! A charming tradition in the Danish royal family is that all girls in the family receive a gold bracelet on the occasion of their fifth birthday. Queen Ingrid, Isabella’s great grandmother, was the first to receive a gold bracelet on her fifth birthday back in 1915.

Princess Isabella turned five on April 21, 2012 and has been pictured wearing the bracelt on a few occasions.

First of all, here is one of the pictures released by the palace to mark Isabella’s fifth birthday:


And here she is in the birthday bracelet in a picture published be Hello!:


Grandmother Queen Margrethe is shown here wearing hers at two state occasions:


Queen Victoria

On to the Brits! Queen Victoria is often credited with starting the trend for charm bracelets in the early 20th century. Here is an example of one of her many charm bracelets:


This gold piece was a gift from Prince Albert in November of 1840. It features 9 enamel heart lockets in a variety of colours.  The Royal Collection website shares the following info:

This simple chain and locket bracelet is typical of the sentimental items Prince Albert gave to the Queen. The inscription on the clasp states that it was given to her three days after the birth of their first child, Victoria, The Princess Royal. A locket was added for each subsequent birth, each one containing a lock of the child’s hair.

Text from Victoria & Albert: Art & Love.

The hearts record the birth of the children as follows: pink for Princess Victoria, turquoise blue for Albert, red for Princess Alice, dark blue for Alfred, translucent white for Helena, dark green for Louise, mid blue for Arthur, opaque white for Leopold and light green for Beatrice.

An additional bracelet with numerous lockets can be seen on The Royal Collection website by clicking here. It’s a real treasure.

The Duchess of Cambridge

Much ado was made of the fact that Kate started to wear a gold charm bracelet after her wedding, pictured on Kate’s wrist below:


The real interest was for the gold disc charm. Here is a good look at it:


Let’s get even more up close and personal:


The disc features two royal monograms. One side has Kate’s monogram:


And the other side appears to be Camilla’s:


Here is Camilla’s monogram, as shown on her personal stationery:


It does look quite like it! It has not been officially confirmed that Camilla gave the bracelet to Kate, though that theory does make sense. I’ve been keeping my eyes out for Camilla to be seen wearing a matching one. How cute would it have been if she had one, too, and if it came from Charles, another ‘C’?

Diana, Princess of Wales

After all, we know that Charles gave Diana a charm bracelet that she treasured. Diana often wore a gold charm bracelet in the early ’80’s. It’s tough to see whether this is the one from Charles or not:


Some reports claim that Diana never wore the bracelet from Charles in public, because she considered it too precious (Paul Burrel has commented that Diana never actually wore this bracelet, but kept it tucked safely away with her jewelry at Kensington Palace).

The photo below shows the many charms that Charles gave Diana over the years, from an “x” for their ten year anniversary to a miniature of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Though I don’t know the provenance of this photo, I’d guess it is legit.


 Well that’s it for now. Are you charmed?

A New Tiara for Sophie

Many eagle eyes noticed that Sophie, Countess of Wessex was wearing a tiara that we had never seen her wear publicly before to the royal wedding in Luxembourg over the weekend. Hurray for Sophie getting some more jewel choices!

Here’s a good look at the tiara, which perched very nicely on Sophie’s head:

It turns out we discussed this very piece in a previous post by guest Royal Poster Sarah Taylor. Click here for a refresher. This tiara is from the Queen’s collection and is made up of diamonds and Brazilian aquamarines.

The Queen has not worn this tiara much at all – at least not publicly. Here is one of the few photographs available of the Queen wearing it:

The Queen was gifted this tiara from the Governor of Sao Paulo during a visit in 1968. There was some speculation that this tiara was taken apart to make up the Queen’s larger aquamarine tiara, so it is good to see that that was not the case after all!

Here’s that larger aquamarine tiara:

So how does this whole borrowing thing work, do you think? The Queen one day decides it’s time to dust off the jewel box and share? Or does Sophie ask before a big event like this? Or maybe this tiara was an extended loan from the Queen in recognition of Sophie and Edward’s tenth wedding anniversary? I am most curious about this.

Ok, let’s recap Sophie’s tiara collection so far.

1. Sophie’s Wedding Tiara

She of course has the tiara she wore to her own wedding in 1999, which had not been seen publicly before that day. It seems it is a piece made up of existing jewels in the royal collection. The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendour has a great post on it. Click here for that.  This is the only tiara that Sophie seems to have had access to for the first few years after her wedding.

Here she is with it for the occasion of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden’s wedding in 2010. Sophie is also wearing the same diamond necklace we saw this past weekend, which is also likely a loan from the Queen:

2. The Button Tiara

Sophie has also been loaned this button tiara, which she wore to a pre-wedding theatre event for the wedding of Prince Frederick of Denmark and Mary Donaldson in May 2004:

It is believed to be this tiara, which was owned by Prince Philip’s mother Princess Alice of Greece:

It seems especially fitting that Sophie should wear it since she and Edward will be Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh when the time comes. Curious that it has not made another public appearance since. I quite like it.

3. The Aquamarine and Diamond Tiara

Then of course there’s the aquamarine and diamond tiara which we went into in a previous post. Read all about it here. Much like Sophie’s wedding tiara, unfortunately not much is known about this tiara’s provenance. Fun fact:  this tiara converts into a necklace so it can be worn for non-tiara events, too.

Check out the matching necklace and earrings she’s wearing in this photo. They appear to be the same  as what Sophie wore with the button tiara in 2004.

4. The Brazilian Aquamarine & Diamond Tiara

And then of course there’s this ‘new’ one, which I must say I prefer over Sophie’s other aquamarine tiara.

Any thoughts?

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