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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Royal Wedding Wednesdays ~ Tiara’s and Headpieces

Welcome to the fourth installment of Royal Wedding Wednesdays. Thank you so much for your input last week. I am happy to report that there will be upcoming posts such as

Always a Bridesmaid~ The Royal attendants.

What’s in a Name~ Titles and ranks.

Say Yes to the Dress~ Does this need an explanation?

The Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara

So let’s begin. Tiara’s are commonly associated with three things~ Queens, brides and pageant winners. The earliest tiara’s were found in the Greek/Roman world. Goldsmiths created crowns to top the heads of statues of Gods and priests. The Greeks also awarded crowns (made of various metal or laurel leaves) to their early Olympic champions.  In Egyptian culture the crown symbolized respect and were placed on the heads of royal and noble mummies. Tiara’s and crowns really came into vogue during the Tudor reign and Bourbon monarchs began creating elaborate tiaras in the French court. However it is today’s British monarchy, and other noble brides, who have worn the most beautiful tiaras. Most were created in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Strathmore Rose Tiara

I find it quite interesting that one of Britain’s most beloved queens, Victoria, wore a simple wreath of orange blossoms upon her head when she married her beloved Prince Albert.

Here is a 1847 painting by Franz Xaver Winterhalter of Queen Victoria in her wedding clothes. It shows her wearing a wreath of orange blossoms, the diamond and sapphire brooch given to her by Albert on their wedding day, and the collar of the Order of the Garter.

Let me quickly interject that if you have not seen “The Young Victoria” with Emily Blunt, please do so soon as it is a feast for the eyes and balm for the Royal loving soul.

When King Edward VII, Queen Victoria’s eldest son, wed the lovely Alexandra of Denmark no information was given on the Princess’s wedding apparel. Be assured however, there are other numerous images of Queen Alexandra wearing several crowns and tiara’s.

The one time Princess May of Teck, a German Princess, was presented a wedding gift by Lady Eve Greville's committee which raised funds  from "the girls of Great Britain and Ireland" for the tiara celebrating her 1893 wedding. She of course would later become Queen Mary when Prince George (son of King Edward VII) became King George V. 

The diamond tiara was purchased from Garrard jewelers. It has been described as having a diamond festoon-and-scroll design surmounted by nine large oriental pearls on diamond spikes and set on a bandeau base of alternate round and lozenge collets between two plain bands of diamonds. Queen Mary gave the tiara to Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of her wedding to Prince Philip.

Next, we have the beautiful Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. I am sure that when she wed the Albert, Duke of York, second son of King George V she never dreamed that she would someday be Queen consort to her husband, King George VI. Her lovely lace headpiece is truly exquisite.


Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon became Queen Consort largely due to a twice divorced American woman, Wallis Simpson. In one of the most scandalous unions of all time, King Edward VIII (King George VI’s older brother) abdicated the throne so that he could marry her. After his abdication and their subsequent marriage six months later they became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The Duchess wore a simple “Wallis blue” silk dress and a hat enhanced with pink and blue feathers by French milliner Caroline Reboux on her wedding day.

File:Wallis and Edward.jpg

When H.M. Queen Elizabeth, then Princess Elizabeth, married Prince Philip she wore the Fringe Tiara. It was created in 1919 using diamonds that had been part of a tiara/necklace given by Queen Victoria to Queen Mary on the occasion of her marriage in 1893. Queen Mary gave it to the Queen Mother when she ascended the throne in 1937.

There are reports that on the day of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding the tiara snapped in half. Given that the royal jeweler was standing by it was quickly repaired in time for the royal bride to walk down the aisle.

The Fringe Tiara was also worn by the Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, when she married Capt. Mark Phillips in 1973.


When the Princess Royal’s son, Peter Phillips, married Autumn Kelley in 2008 the bride wore a tiara loaned to her by her mother in law, Princess Anne.


Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister, Princess Margaret, wore a tiara (originally created by Garrads jewelers in 1870 for Lady Poltimore) for her wedding to Anthony Armstrong~ Jones, Lord Snowdon.


The children of the late Princess, Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto, sold the tiara at a Christie’s auction in 2006.

P marg

When Princess Margaret’s son, Viscount David Linley married Serena Stanhope in 1993 she wore the Papyrus Tiara.

The Papyrus tiara was originally worn by the dearly beloved Queen Mum.

Princess Margaret’s daughter, Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones, who was Lady Diana Spencer's eldest bridesmaid, wore a tiara for her 1994 wedding that can be broken into brooches and was a wedding gift to Princess Margaret from her groom to be, Lord Snowdon, in 1960. It is unknown if the tiara was given to Sarah after Princess Margaret’s 2002 death.

One of the sweetest twists on tiaras was that of the Duchess of York’s tiara. She entered Westminster Abbey as a commoner wearing a wreath of flowers upon her head in 1986 and exited the church as a Princess wearing a tiara.

The tiara was created specifically for Sarah, to be worn on her wedding day, by Garrad’s jewelers.

On her wedding day to Queen Elizabeth’s youngest son, Prince Edward, Sophie Rhys~ Jones wore a tiara from the Queen's private collection. The tiara consisting of three open-work scroll motifs, designed and remodeled by the Crown Jeweler, David Thomas, at Asprey and Garrard. If only all brides could have a “something borrowed” such as this.  As a side note, her Prince designed the pearl wedding jewelry.


I have of course saved the best for last. That of the Spencer Family Tiara worn by Lady Diana Spencer on her wedding day to Prince Charles in 1981.

The Spencer family tiara is a delicate tiara featuring diamonds mounted in gold. The tiara is made of several separate jeweled pieces including a tiara owned by Frances, Viscountess Montagu and left to Lady Sarah Spencer in 1875. The tiara is thought to have been made in 1767, but the style suggests the 1830s. The central element was a wedding gift from Lady Sarah Spencer to Cynthia, Viscountess Althorp (Diana's grandmother) in 1919. In the 20th century, it was remounted and four other elements were made to match it.

With all this talk of tiaras one does think about what the lovely Catherine will wear upon her head when she marries her Prince. Having been to the Tower of London I have seen what I am sure is only a small portion of the Queen’s vast collection of head ware. But I do wonder if we might perhaps see a certain gem worn quite often by Princess Diana, the Cambridge Lover's Knot.

The tiara was originally commissioned in 1914 by Queen Mary who wished to recreate the lover's knot tiara that belonged to her grandmother, Princess Augusta of Hesse. In the original tiara each knot was surmounted by an oval pearl to mirror each drop below.

In 1935 the tiara was simplified to its present form. Queen Mary passed down the tiara to her granddaughter Queen Elizabeth, who in turn presented it to Diana upon the occasion of her marriage to Prince Charles. It is unknown whether the tiara was returned to the Queen when Charles and Diana divorced or if it was passed to William and Harry upon Diana's death. Will this be THE tiara we will see on the lovely Catherine’s head when she marries her prince?

Alas time will tell. Which tiara gets your vote?

Mark your engagement journals! On Saturday, March 26th, 2010 I will be organizing a Blogger’s Tea to celebrate the Royal Nuptials. It will be held at the English Rose Tea Room in Carefree, Arizona. The owner, Joanne Gemmill, is authentically English.


To add a bit of fun there will be ~

A hat contest (Think English feathers, flowers and frippery)

Always a bridesmaid dress contest (And you thought you’d never wear it again!)

A white wedding elephant swap (Bring an item of décor that is nice, but perhaps had humble beginnings in a thrift store or is just something you have grown weary of. Wrap it as if it is the most lovely of wedding gifts.)

For those of you who live beyond and across the pond you will NOT be left out. We will have two online contests to be held via linky parties:

High Tea Tablescapes


Royal Wedding Wear


Start planning your creations as the prizes will include English china, chocolate, shortbread, and tea among other lovely prizes. There will be categories such as “Fit For A Queen” and  “Best British Baubles”  awarded by an esteemed panel of judges to be announced in the future.

UPDATE: The tea is for anyone and everyone. You may spread the word by grabbing the button and link back to my blog in case there are further questions.

Differences between headpieces in broad terms:

A tiara is a jeweled head ornament which has an open back.  Although the Papal tiara worn by the Pope is more of crown so it does get a bit confusing.                                                                                           

A diadem is a circlet. Diadem is a German word that also on occasions is used to describe a tiara.  The diadem has resonance of sovereignty.

A coronet is a heraldic device denoting Nobility.

A crown is a symbol of a Monarch or Sovereign Prince and generally encloses the head. Christian crowns generally have arches surmounted by a cross which is a form of religious symbolism. Royal crowns have arches dipped at the center and Imperial crowns do not.



jeanette from everton terrace said...

Enjoyed this one as much as the last. I'm certain you know much more about this than my English mother :)

I'm a bit perplexed about the tea party date as that is the day a gang of law school spring breakers arrive on my doorstep. Must see if I can work it out, so want to join in.

Haven't seen the Emily Blunt movie, must rectify. Did see The Kings Speech - loved it. Also funny, I mentioned a crown in my post today but it was more of the tooth variety :)

Sherry said...

You haven't missed a beat. Such fun to come and indulge in the royalness here each Wed. Loving this!

ImagiMeri said...

Wow Laura.......what a bevy of fun things to do! I shall endeavor to attend the tea. Will there be fresh lemon curd and Devon cream? How about some hardcore Scrumpie??? Have you ever had it? It's a regional brew on the level of moonshine....I was told "it will take the paint off the side of a barn" when I sampled a few pints. So yummy on a cold English night, sitting by a warm pub fire.


bj said...

Oh, this is all so interesting. Such beautiful photos and such beautiful headwear...everything is so....
well....royal. :)
You did such a nice job on your post. I can see it took a lot of time and effort. Thanks so much.

TRay said...

I love Princess Margaret's tiara--SO TALL...oooh ahhh...but, my vote for lovely Catherine is the Cambridge Lover's Knot. It is such an iconic piece and would be another sparkling nod to the late Queen of Hearts. Love the post--was waiting for it this morning!!!


Carol at Serendipity said...

What a beautiful, informative post. I visited a tiara display at V&A museum in London. What a disappointment - they wouldn't let us try them on!LOL. Had I know about this I would have shared some of my postcards from this event.

Carol said...


Thank you for the beautiful and informative post. Since I was born in June and the pearl is my birthstone, I favor the Cambridge Lover's Knot.
I wish were closer and could attend the wonderful event you have planned. I will however be participating in your online link parties!


Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

LOVING the tiaras and the stories behind them...and ohhhhhhhh I am hoping I get an invite to this tea!! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said...

Fabulous! Love reading this. Now when I wore that crown at Not Too Shabby, this is what they told me. If the back is open it is a tiera. If the back is closed, it is a crown. Don't know if that is true....

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Thank you for such an in-depth look at the royal tiaras! I couldn't even begin to guess which one will adorn the new princess's head, but my favorite is the one Queen Mary gave to Queen Elizabeth when she married Prince Phillip.

My Cottage Charm said...

Wow, that was fun! I absolutely LOVE the last gets my vote! I hope she picks it!
Wish I lived closer, a tea sounds divine!
Hugs to you!

Vicki said...

What lovely tiaras! I can't even imagine wearing one. But, I'm thinking it would be fun to construct one for my beautiful "princess" granddaughter to wear...

Lorrie said...

More wedding fun! I love the idea of the High Tea Tablescape since I can't join the "real" party. Let's see, scones, cream, strawberries, cucumber sandwiches....

The Boston Lady said...

This was a wonderful post, Laura. I know it took a great deal of research, so thank you for doing the legwork for all of us. I hope Catherine wears the Cambridge Lover's Knot as that picture of Diana is one of my favorites. Maybe she will have one designed for her. They are all lovely, but I have to say Victoria gets my vote with her crown of Orange Blossoms. Young Victoria is on my Netflix list and I will be moving it up the queue. Ann

Deanna said...

Dear Laura,
"Well done!"

I applaud you on this nifty have done a super job!!!
You can't see me, but I'm waving at you the famous Queen handwave.

Enjoyed all the pictures with info.

God bless and may you have a sweet life!
d from homehaven

Whimsey Creations said...

Hmmmmmmm, it's a toss up between Sarah's and Autumn Kelley's. All of the tiaras are beautiful though. Thanks for doing all that research and sharing it with us!

Marydon said...

Laura you are such a breath of fresh air ... & so full of fun & rich history. I love each but Diana was my favorite for all times.

I'll try to make it if at all possible, my friend. You are a GEM!
So privileged to call you friend.

Have a beautiful day.

Oliva said...

So very interesting and informative! My favorite is Queen Mary's tiara. I am already thinking about what hat and dress to wear. Do I wear gloves? So many decisions!!! RSVP for the Bloggers Tea.

Johanna said...

Hi Laura,
as I love jewels, I enjoyed your very informative post so much. If I could, I would choose Sarahs tiara. They are all wonderful, but I like Sara's best.
I will try to join in your High Tea Party. Thank you for hosting this fun.
Greetings, Johanna

TRay said...

Second comment today!!! O.K., not only do I want that bauble in your last pic, but I also want that nifty, nifty BOX it comes in!! It's SO COOL.

Pip, pip & cheerio,


Miss Sandy said...

Another stunning and informative post! Funny thing is we were discussing tiaras last night, no seriously, we were. Why? Because my daughter just got engaged and she wants to wear one at her own wedding and in our eyes she really is a princess!

French said...

Oh I learned some interesting things from you today again, Laura! I love the flowers pinned on the dresses in Victoria's age; and her orange blossom headdress. I join the crowd in thinking the Lover's Knot will be chosen. It's so pretty and simple. I caught part of a show about the D+D of Windsor last night and thought of you!

Terri said...

I loved this post so much! I am marking my calendar for all these lovely activities. I don't have a favorite tiara, I think she is going to be lovely no matter which she wears. So, will she wear flowers in and a tiara out??

Shirley said...

The wedding will be the same day as my husband birthday. This date will be forever in my heart! I also have friday's off, so I will not move from the news as it is shown to us. I have watched over and over and own the Young Victoria. I love this movie...I also have an older version too! I love the Queen Victoria. She is who I admire most. I love all the history Dear Laura that you inform us of. So happy you have spent the time to share this with us! THANK YOU!

FrenchGardenHouse said...

Laura...this is such a fabulous post. As one whose computer is misbehaving {badly, I might add} this is just what I need. A fantasy. Thank you sweet friend. Maybe I'll put on a tiara and that will make my computer behave better {or my family will have me sent away to a padded room} xoxo Lidy

Jeannine said...

I love all the tiaras! About ten years ago I wanted one and my dear husban actually found a tiara-like headband for me. I bought my daughter one in Lebanon for her 14th birthday. There is nothing like a tiara to make a girl feel special.

languageofcolorandtexture said...

The Love knot for all the way for Kate! So beautiful, so her. I plan to ask off of work for the tea party! I look forward to it. Nice post, just spoon feed me the Royal scoop! Hugs, Karen

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Laura, I am SO late today, but I wanted to drop by and see what was on tap. This was a neat post, and I hope that Kate wears the Lover's Knot tiarra. That's my favorite out of all of them, and it was stunning on Diana. I adore it.

Hope all is well there. I have had the craziest three days imaginable, and I hope it lets up some by tomorrow! I started feeling like I was coming down with this respiratory thing again. I hope and pray not.

Can't wait for next week's installment. Thanks SO much for doring this.

Love you...


Sheila :-)

Mom in High Heels said...

BEST. RWW. YET! Even if I didn't get to read it until Thursday. ;)
When I saw the post this morning, I went and made my morning cup of tea (in a pretty cup, not my usual mug), turned off the TV and sat myself in my favorite chair. I may have to make this my RWW ritual.
Oh, tiaras! How I love thee! My only regret about my wedding is that I didn't wear a tiara. I wanted one, but they were not popular in 1995 and I was too timid (I laugh at that now) to put my foot down with the wedding coordinator and get the tiara I wanted. When my friend got married in 2000, they were back in style and she wanted the biggest tiara she could find (think the Miss Universe tiara).
I can't wait to see what Kate will wear. I'm assuming that like, Sarah Ferguson, she will wear something different into the church than what she wears out of it. I think that's actually a nice touch. You didn't showcase it here, but I'm a big fan of Grand Duchess Vladamir's Tiara, which is now owned by the queen. It's a bit showy though, and I think Kate will likely go with something simpler, like the Cambridge Lover's Knot or my personal favorite, the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara. Perhaps I'll wear a tiara while watching the royal wedding. :)
Oh how I wish we still lived in AZ, just so I could come to your tea party! I'd love to join in on the internet parties though!

Teresa said...

No Diana for Catherine, I'm affraid. Though she would look lovely with it; but I think the ring and then the tiara will somehow bring more comparisons and a certain Mummy's-boy for William and he won't wish that for his wedding day.
I have a feeling Kate will go for "The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara".
Now that I put the jewel out of sight I must thank you and die-of-utter-envy with the work and knowledge that it took to build this post.
You're The Crown Jewel of Bloggers, Princess Laura.
Have a Nice Day!

Ann said...

I so enjoyed this! I have a tiara my cousins bought me for my 50th but it is nothing like these! LOL

I hope she chooses the Queen Mary/Diana with the pearls is beautiful.

Kathleen Ellis said...

What a wonderfully informative and fun post! LOVE the beautiful tiaras...I've always dreamed of wearing a tiara!
Your Tea sounds like it will be a most beautiful event! I so wish I lived closer! Such fun!!!
Have a beautiful day~
;-D Kathleen

Curtains In My Tree said...

After reading all of that I'm putting on one of my vinatge Tiara's that I have collected


Privet and Holly said...

So much fabulous info!
I was at a mom's wine
tasting last night and
we were talking about
putting together a party
to celebrate the nuptials,
where everyone would come
in a hat, etc. Such a
fun event to plan a party
around : ) Thanks for
this lovely post.
xx Suzanne

Sarah said...

This is a wonderful post full of great information and photos. Thank you for pulling this altogether. You did a first class job! I'm thrilled to find your Royal Wedding Wednesdays. I'm off to visit the ones I've missed.
My vote? I give a thumbs up for the Cambridge Lover's Knot. I love the mix of pearls with the diamonds.
~ Sarah

Liz said...

Funness! I love all the tiaras! I have a hat! Wow! Maybe I find it! :)

I think that I can go... I will have to check. It will be a hoot!


gail said...

Hi, What a great post. Its so hard to decide, but I adored Diana and would have to choose her tiara! I would love to attend the Tea Party. This will be such a fun event.

Have a pretty week, Gail

onehappiecamper said...

i just saw the Spencer tiara last week at the Diana exhibit in Grand Rapids, MI. BEAUTIFUL!!! the whole exhibit was fabulous....can't wait until April 29th :)

Carmie of the Single Nester said...

What a great history of tiaras. Thank you.