Tiaras Worn in Untraditional Ways: Part Two

We’re all about tiaras this week here at the royal post. Yesterday we had a good look at Queen Victoria’s untraditional way of wearing her sapphire and diamond tiara and today we are skipping ahead to the 1920’s.

During the roaring twenties, tiaras were often worn in an entirely different manner from the norm.  Many ladies shook things up by wearing their tiaras low on the forehead. Bands on the forehead were extremely popular at this time (any flapper costume at Halloween includes one) so ladies with tiaras decided to get in on the act, too. Here are a few prime examples.

To begin, this is Queen Elisabeth of Belgium in a diamond bandeau tiara now worn by Princess Mathilde. Queen Elisabeth’s dress and long pearl necklace really are the epitome of 1920’s fashion, no?

The bandeau tiara that Princess Mathilde wore on her wedding day is a different one than the photograph above, but was also worn by Queen Elisabeth, likely across her forehead. Pity we can’t find a picture to prove it yet…

Back to the low-on-the-forehead tiaras. This is Princess Astrid of Sweden wearing the Nine Provinces tiara. There must have been an elastic attachment around the back of the head to keep it on.

Princess Charlotte of Monaco got in on things as well. She did things a little differently by having her bangs under the tiara.

And of course Elizabeth, Duchess of York (nee Bowes-Lyon) chose this look for a formal portrait wearing the Strathmore rose tiara given by her parents as a wedding gift.

Here she is in another tiara across her forehead. She sure liked this look:

In a way, Princess Diana resurrected this trend by wearing two of her necklaces across her forehead in the ’80’s:

Of course, this wasn’t the first time this look was in style. This portrait of Lucretia Crivelli by Leonardo da Vinci proves it. We hope it comes back…

Part three will be posted tomorrow. See you then!

Tiaras Worn in Untraditional Ways: Part One

It’s no secret that we love tiaras so, for this three part series, we have rounded up a few examples of tiaras being worn in rather untraditional and, well, sometimes plain kooky ways.

We begin with none other than Queen Victoria. The portrait below was painted by Franz Xalter Winterhalter in 1842. As you can see, the Queen is wearing the diamond and sapphire tiara that Prince Albert designed for her at the back of her head.

The tiara was made the same year that the portrait was painted and it is safe to say it became one of her favourites. After all, it matched the sapphire brooch that Prince Albert gave her for a wedding present.

Here’s a closer look at the placement of the tiara. She must have had a whole lot of pins in her hair to keep it from falling off!

Interestingly, Queen Victoria’s placement of the tiara is believed to have been inspired by this portrait of Queen Henriette Maria of France (1609-1669).

And here is a closeup of the tiara itself. The sapphires are kite and cushion shaped and set in gold; the diamonds are set in silver. This tiara is now owned by the Earl and Countess of Harewood.

 No doubt the current Countess of Harewood was inspired by this portrait of Queen Victoria when wore the same tiara in the same fashion. That”s her on the right with the tiara fixed to the back of her head with an elaborate bun. Love that!

The lady on the left wearing the tiara in the traditional manner is Andrea Lascelles. She is the wife of the Earl and Countess’ fourth son and she wore the tiara on her wedding day. Something old, borrowed and  blue all in one.

Join us tomorrow for Part Two! There is much more tiara fun to come…

Princess Anne’s Greek Key Pattern Tiara

Time to talk about tiaras! Today we are featuring the Greek Key Pattern Tiara, also known as the Meander Tiara. This piece is owned by the British Royal Family  and is currently used by Princess Anne.

This tiara is made up of diamonds in a traditional Greey key pattern that features a central diamond surrounded by a laurel wreath. The wreath is flanked by two honeysuckle motifs. According to the wonderful book Tiaras, A History of Splendour by Geoffrey C. Munn, the tiara is believed to be French and was made circa 1900, possibly by Cartier.

The tiara belonged to Prince Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg (also known as Princess Andrew of Greece, after her husband’s title). She passed the tiara over to Queen Elizabeth as a wedding present in 1947, which is how the tiara came to be part of the British Royal Family’s collection.

And a side view which also shows off her delightful hair comb:

Princess Alice was the great-grandaughter of Queen Victoria and was born in Windsor Castle; it is through her that the Queen and Prince Philip are related. She had a very eventful life which included being diagnosed with deafness as a toddler, a severe nervous breakdown as an adult which led to an extended stay in a sanatorium in Berlin, and she has posthumously been named a British Hero of the Holocaust by the UK government for sheltering Jews during WWII. When the Greek royal family was overthrown in 1967, the Queen and Prince Philip extended an invitation for her to live in London. She lived in Buckingham Palace until her death in 1969.

As far as we know, the Queen has never been seen wearing this tiara in public. It was passed to Princess Anne in the early 1970’s and she has worn it often over the last forty or so years.

Love the hair here:

Mum & Daughter all dolled up:

Here’s a more recent photo. Perhaps one of the reasons she still keeps her hair so long is so that she’s ready to tiara it up like this?

Princess Anne also wore the tiara in her official 50th birthday portrait taken by John Swannell, below. We’ve always thought this was a bit of an out there choice of dress and pose for Anne but she must have loved it:

Anne lent the tiara to her daughter, Zara, for her wedding to Mike Tindall. This is the first time we’ve seen Zara in a tiara and sadly it may well be the last so let’s soak it up:

Here’s a look at her with Mike in her wedding ensemble. Lovely!

So, tell us. What do you think of the Meander Tiara? Are there any other tiaras you’d like us to feature in a post?

British Royal Family’s Tiara Collection ~ A Few Key Ones

Welcome to Part One of the British Royal Family’s Tiaras!

The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara

Let’s start with this recognizable piece often worn by the Queen.

Shown with the diamond base
Shown without the diamond base

This tiara was a gift from the girls of Great Britain and Ireland to Princess Mary of Teck on the occasion of her marriage to the Duke of York in 1893. One of the things that Queen Mary was  famous for was her jewellery collection. Society matron Lady Eve Greville organised a committee to raise the funds to purchased the tiara from Garrard. Princess Mary wrote to a relative at the time, “The presents are quite magnificent. The ladies of society gave a lovely diamond spiked tiara”. (Can you imagine this sort of thing happening these days? A collection among ‘the people’ to buy Kate a tiara for her wedding? My, times have changed!)

Mary when The Duches of York, wearing the tiara with the base and pearls

The tiara has diamond festoons and 27 collet spikes and can be worn with or without the diamond base, as shown above. The tiara also had nine large pearls set on the diamond spikes and although Queen Mary originally wore it with upstanding pearl spikes,  when she gifted it to her granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth for her wedding to Prince Philip in 1947, it had the pearls removed. The Queen affectionately calls it ‘Granny’s tiara’.

Queen Elizabeth wearing ‘Granny’s tiara’ without the pearls or base

The Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara

Vladimir Tiara, with Pearls

This tiara was made in 1890 and originally belonged to The Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia. The tiara had been smuggled out of Russia by a British diplomat during the 1917 revolution. Queen Mary bought this tiara in 1921 when the Grand Duchess died.

The Grand Duchess wearing the Vladimir Tiara
Queen Mary wearing the Vladimir Tiara

Queen Mary had the tiara adapted so that the hanging pearls could be exchanged with the Cambridge cabochon emeralds. The Cambridge Emeralds were won in a charity lottery in 1818. Augusta, the Duchess of Cambridge, Queen Mary’s grandmother. Mary’s brother, Prince Francis of Teck had left the emeralds in his will to a mistress. Queen Mary persuaded a judge have the will sealed and kept quiet. Mary bought back the Cambridge Emeralds and she wore them at her husband George V’s coronation.

The Vladimir Tiara with the Cambridge Emeralds

In 1953 left it in her will to her granddaughter Princess Elizabeth who has worn it often as Queen, with the emeralds and with the pearls.

The Russian Kokoshnik Tiara

The Russian Kokoshnik Tiara

The tiara was gifted to Princess Alexandra on her Silver Wedding Anniversary in 1888, from  365 peeresses of the United Kingdom. Lady Salisbury organised this gift, which was made by Garrard. Alexandra had requested that the tiara be in the fashionable design of a Russian girl’s headdress, a kokoshnik. Her sister Marie Feodorovna, the Empress of Russia, had a tiara in this style. The tiara consists of 61 platinum bars and 488 diamonds.

Queen Mary wearing the Kokoshnik Tiara
Queen Elizabeth wearing the Kokoshnik

Stay tuned for more tiaras in a future post!

The Spencer Tiaras

While she was Princess of Wales, Diana Spencer was often seen wearing her family’s Spencer tiara, and we were fascinated to learn a few years ago that the Spencer family owns another tiara in addition to this famous piece.

The Spencer Tiara

Here’s the Spencer tiara that we all know well. It joined the Spencer family when Lady Sarah Spencer gave it to Lady Cynthia Hamilton on Lady Cynthia’s marriage to Viscount Spencer (Albert) in 1919. In 1922 Viscount Spencer inherited the earldom (he was the 7th Earl Spencer) and The Earl and Countess lived at the family seat, Althorp. They had two children, one of whom became the father of Diana who would later marry Prince Charles.

Here’s a picture of Lady Cynthia on the left (portrait by by John Singer Sargent), and her granddaughter Lady Diana on the right. We can sure see the family resemblance!

As is well known, the Spencer family has a long lasting relationship with the British royal family. Countess Spencer served as a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth from 1937 to her death in 1972.

Later, Andrew Morton wrote in Diana: Her True Story that Diana, “believes that her grandmother looks after her in the spirit world.”

Anyway, back to the tiaras!

This tiara is made of gold that has been formed into tulip and star-like flowers,and is decorated with dozens of diamonds in silver settings. Diana famously wore this piece on her wedding day and at many formal events afterwards. How nice to be able to wear your own family’s tiara when marrying the heir to the throne!

This tiara has appeared at many Spencer weddings. Here is Diana’s sister Sarah at her wedding:

And here is sister Lady Jane as well. That’s Diana as a bridesmaid.

Victoria Lockwood, Diana’s brother’s first wife, kept the tradition alive at their wedding:

Here’s another shot of that day…it reminds us of that wonderful scene at the end of the most recent film version of Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet:

Some savvy folks over at Tiara Town created a replica of the Spencer tiara. Check it out here!


And, up next we have tiara number two…

The Honeysuckle Tiara

It’s not quite as fairy tale princess as the other Spencer tiara. The older of the two tiaras, it has been in the Spencer family since at least 1885. It looks heavy, and the feather motif along the top seems a bit, well spike-y, while the bottom is quite angular and harsh and doesn’t quite ‘go’ with the top. It almost seems like two tiaras, doesn’t it? All in all, we can see why Diana chose the other tiara to wear at the wedding and at later ‘tiara events’. The other tiara just looks more wearable.

Here’s another view of the tiara before it was altered to its current state:

In the picture above, there are large round diamonds along the bottom which  are not in the first picture at the top. The piece has been altered to have the bottom diamonds removed and the centre ‘splash’ at the front added.  The feather motifs were raised, more were added to the sides, and the angular design at the bottom was carried across the front. Interesting!

Here is a picture of the wife of the 5th Earl Spencer, Lady Charlotte Seymour, wearing the tiara in 1885. This is the earliest picture we have been able to find.

Countess Spencer, 1885

Lady Cynthia (who we discussed above) wore this tiara to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. Hmm…perhaps the alteration took place after this event. This is the most recent picture of the piece being worn publicly as far as we know. Do let us know if we are wrong about that. 

Countess Spencer, 1953
On display at Diana: A Celebration

Diana never wore this tiara (at least not publicly) but here is a doctored photo of what she would have looked like wearing it:

What do you think of this piece?

Jewelry Predictions for Kate: The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara

Seeing as Kate is the Duchess of Cambridge and all, we hope that she will eventually wear the gorgeous, antique Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara. With its dangling pearl drops and dainty diamonds, what a sight that would be!

We imagine Kate won’t wear it for quite some time since it appears that she has the Cartier Halo Tiara at her disposal and it really is the perfect starter tiara to work with for the time being. In case you need a refresher, the Cartier Halo Tiara is the one lent by the Queen for Kate to wear on her wedding day.

One big hint that we’ll see Kate wear this again: Kate’s parents gave her earrings that match the Halo Tiara very well. No doubt Kate intends to wear both the earrings and tiara together at future tiara events (we can’t wait for that!). The earrings were specially designed by Robinson Pelham to feature the acorn in their new family crest and they looked just lovely on the wedding day; big enough to be noticed and significant and yet not too blingy. if you look closely at the photo below, you can see that the scroll on her earlobe matches the scroll of the tiara. Clever!

Here’s another look at the gorgeous earrings. See what we mean with the scrolls?

Once Kate has earned her ‘Royal stripes’ so to speak, and has put in some quality time as a full working royal, we think she’ll start to bust out some more serious jewels. It’s a smart strategy. Hopefully the Cambridge Lover’s Knot will be one of the serious pieces Kate will add to her repertoire. We image that she’ll bring out a tiara like this around the same time that she is honoured with the family Order. We know that this tiara is strongly identified with Princess Diana (along with some of the other jewels of Diana’s we hope she wears, more on that later) but hopefully that won’t deter her.

As we all know, the Queen lent Diana this tiara for her use on the occasion of her wedding to Prince Charles (when the Prince and Princess divorced, the tiara was returned). Diana chose to wear the Spencer Tiara for the wedding, but did wear the Cambridge Lover’s Knot on numerous occasions. She said it gave her headaches, but come on! To be able to wear this piece, a headache would totally be worth it. Don’t let that stop you, Kate!

This tiara has a lot of history. It was commissioned in 1913 by Queen Mary; she wanted a design that was similar to one her grandmother, Princess Augusta of Hesse owned and that had been made for her in 1818 on the occasion of her marriage to the Duke of Cambridge. Here is a portrait of Princess Augusta in this original tiara:

And here is Queen Mary in the version that she commissioned:

The pearls on the top of the tiara we see above could be removed and Queen Mary wore the tiara both with and without these pearl spikes. Not entirely sure if this is still the case; if you know, please fill us in! Queen Mary was Queen Elizabeth’s grandmother, and when she passed away in 1953 this tiara was passed onto Queen Elizabeth.

Here is a beautiful, candid shot of Queen Elizabeth wearing the tiara en route to an event. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the matching earrings:

And here is one of our favourite portraits of Diana. She is wearing the pearl encrusted Catherine Walker “Elvis” dress with the gorgeous tiara and the earrings, which are partially obscured but the stand up collar. Princess perfection and Diana knew it, you can see it in her eyes here, don’t you think?:

So, are you with us?? Let’s put out good vibes so the Queen suggests that Kate eventually get this little number out of the vault. If it’s done all in good time, it would be gorgeous and so appropriate on her! And what other royal lady would the public be happy to see wearing this? Exactly. This tiara can’t stay hidden away for ever!

Updated December 2015: We are happy to wore this that Kate was loaned the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara for the annual Diplomatic Reception held at Buckingham Palace on December 8, 2015. Here is a photo of her wearing it as she was driven through the gates of the Palace. So happy to see her wearing this piece! This is the third tiara that Kate has worn, so the Queen has certainly been generous.2F2ECC6400000578-3351607-Kate_wore_a_pale_blue_lace_dress_with_a_conservative_elegant_nec-m-5_1449630502540