Today on Royal Wedding Wednesdays Tiaras and Headpieces. You so enjoyed the recent post on Royal engagement rings that I thought perhaps more jewelry was in order.
The Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara
Royal Wedding Wednesdays Tiaras and Headpieces
Differences between headpieces in broad terms:
A tiara is a jeweled head ornament which has an open back.
A diadem is a circlet. Diadem is a German word that also on occasions is used to describe a tiara. The diadem has the resonance of sovereignty.
A coronet is a heraldic device denoting Nobility.
Queen Victoria’s iconic sapphire and diamond coronet.
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.
Tiaras are commonly associated with three things: Queens, brides and pageant winners. The earliest tiaras 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 was 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 headpiece/wreath of orange blossoms upon her head when she married her beloved Prince Albert.
Here is an 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.
PBS is currently showing season two of Victoria which is a feast for the eyes jewelry wise. In addition, I wholeheartedly recommend “The Young Victoria” with Emily Blunt for the Royal loving soul.
Her daughter, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, followed suit by wearing orange blossoms when she married Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia on January 25, 1858, at the Chapel Royal at St. James Palace in London.
When King Edward VII, Queen Victoria’s eldest son, wed the lovely Alexandra of Denmark she also wore a crown of flowers. But the fashions would soon change with royal brides.
The one time Princess May of Teck, a German Princess, was presented a wedding gift by Lady Eve Greville’s committee which raised funds for The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara. The gift celebrated her 1893 wedding to Prince George, The Duke of York. She, of course, would later become Queen Mary when the prince, son of King Edward VII, became King George V. Princess May combined the best of both worlds and wore the tiara and flowers.
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.
The Queen Mum
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 ivory veil made of Flanders lace was secured in place with a simple wreath of myrtle leaves, a cluster of white York roses and white heather positioned on either side of her head.
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.
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. It was then passed on to Elizabeth II.
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 has also worn by Princess Anne when she married Capt. Mark Phillips in 1973.
When Princess Anne’s son, Peter Phillips, married Autumn Kelley in 2008 the bride wore the Festoon tiara loaned to her by her mother in law.
Anne, the Princess Royal, received the tiara as a gift from the World Wide Shipping Group when she christened one of their ships in 1973.
When Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara Phillips, married in 2011 she wore her mother’s Meander tiara.
The tiara once belonged to Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark (born Princess Alice of Battenberg), mother of Prince Phillip. Alice gave the tiara to her daughter-in-law, Queen Elizabeth, as a wedding gift in 1947.
The tiara was then given to Princess Anne in 1972. The all-diamond design features large Greek key designs. The central element is a laurel wreath which surrounds a large brilliant cut diamond. Honeysuckle motifs are on either side.
Queen Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret wore The Poltmore tiara for her wedding to Anthony Armstrong~Jones, Lord Snowdon.
The Poltmore tiara was originally made by Garrard for Florence, Lady Poltimore, wife of the second Baron Poltimore, in the 1870’s. It was auctioned off in 1959 by the fourth Baron Poltimore and presumably purchased for Princess Margaret.
The tiara features cushion-shaped and old-cut diamonds that are set in a gold and silver scroll motif. It is a convertible piece which can break down into a necklace and 11 brooches. Sadly, it was sold by the children of the late Princess, Viscount Linley, and Lady Sarah Chatto, at a Christie’s auction in 2006.
When Princess Margaret’s son, then Viscount David Linley now Lord Snowdon, married Serena Stanhope in 1993 she wore the Papyrus tiara also known as the Lotus Flower tiara.
The Papyrus tiara was originally worn by the beloved Queen Mum. It was created by Garrard from one of her wedding gifts, a necklace of a Greek key pattern with pendant diamonds and pearls given to her by her husband. Once she was Queen the necklace was dismantled and reworked into the tiara.
Princess Margaret’s daughter, Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones, who was Lady Diana Spencer’s eldest bridesmaid, wore the Snowdon Floral Tiara for her 1994 wedding. The tiara was created from three separate antique brooches Anthony Armstrong-Jones (Lord Snowdon) had given to Princess Margaret.
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.
When exiting the church as the Duchess of York she wore a tiara.
The tiara was created specifically for Sarah by the Queen, to be worn on her wedding day. It was made by Garrad’s jewelers.
Countess of Wessex
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 consists 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.
Diana, Princess of Wales
My favorite Princess, Diana, wore the Spencer Family Tiara 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.
Duchess of Cambridge
Many thought that Catherine Middleton might wear the Spencer family tiara when she married Prince William in 2011. But she was loaned, by the Queen, the Cartier Halo tiara.
The tiara was initially purchased from Cartier in 1936 as an anniversary gift from King George VI to his wife. Eight years later it was presented to Princess, now Queen, Elizabeth as an 18th-birthday gift. I think it was fitting that the Duchess of Cambridge wore this tiara as it was originally bought for a commoner that became a Duchess, and then a Queen. Much like Catherine herself will be.
Have you ever worn a tiara?