Tiara history, traditions, protocols, metals and meanings

If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.
In general the Scandinavian RFs' weddings are tiara-wearing events, while all the other European RFs' are not.
A few points:
1. .....Similarly, the old rules say that young girls and young unmarried women shouldn't wear elaborate jewelry at all. Again, superfluous when youth is such a rare, fine adornment. Married ladies have lost their bloom, I suppose, and therefore need help from the diamonds!

And what about older and mature old maids( who were also a commom thing back in the old days when the old rules applied)? I suppose a 50 years old woman who had lost her youth and the chance to marry should have been somehow compensated :D. On the other hand I don't I have ever seen a picture of Princess Vctoria ( QAlexandra's daughter) wearing a "real" tiara, only airgrettes
You mean 'aigrettes'? These are popular and don't always have to include
Feathers although that is usually the theme. Pretty!
Tiara traditions, protocol, history and meanings

Recently with the upcoming wedding between Prince William of the UK and Catherine Middleton, it has brought up several questions and musing about tiaras. When is one worn, when is one appropriate and who gets to wear one.

Someone has asked for a link to a photo of Princess Anee wearing a tiara before her marriage. Going lurking about I did find this site and think it has a wealth of information on the tiaras of the United Kingdom.

More British Royal Tiaras - The Tudors Wiki
Jewellery in the hair (such as tiaras) used to be associated with white tie occasions, including private ones. It used to be common among certain classes to wear white tie to dinner every night (hence Queen Mary in a tiara at family dinners).
this thread may belong to the jewllery forum

i have heard one never wears a tiara in hotel, but is there not return dinners at state visit sometimes in a hotel?

I've posted quite a bit about Tiaras on various other threads here!

What MissMaggy sets out above is basically correct so far as the BRF is concerned. The General Rule is that Tiaras are only worn at White Tie Occasions and by married women. This rule is varied on occasion - the most recent occasion I can think of is at the party the Queen gave in 1990 to celebrate the birthdays of the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, Princess Royal and Prince Andrew. The dress code was Black Tie or Lounge suit [because of the wide variety of people invited, not just Royals and nobility, but many 'ordinary' people with a connection to the BRF who might not have had 'White Tie'. However, because the Queen knows that people with Tiaras love to wear them [and the opportunities for doing so are so limited now] she decreed that Tiaras could be worn at this party even though the dress code was Black, not White Tie.

Also the general rule that only married women could wear tiaras is waived to allow a bride to wear a Tiara at her marriage ceremony, even though she arrives as an unmarried woman.

As to the general rule that Tiaras are not worn at hotels, this rule has been reiterated in recent times by Wartski's managing director and Tiara expert Geoffrey Munn. I think that this has been modified though for two reasons: as Josefine states, there is the 'State Dinner exception'. I cannot speak about other Royal Families, but so rar as the British Royal Family is concerned, when there is a State Visit, the Queen [as hostess] throws a State Banquet for the visiting head. By convention, the Visiting Head then has to reciprocate, at the following or subsequent night. Very often, these 'return matches' are held at the Embassy or High Commission of the nation concerned; however, not ALL of these Embassies / High Commissions are large enough to hold all the guests: for this reason, an hotel is sometimes used: from memory, this is almost ALWAYS Claridges. Hotels hosting these 'return fixtures' are therefore standing in the place of Embassies / High Commissions.

[This does not really fit in here, as it is not about tiaras, but I can remember being amused when the French President cut his State Visit to Great Britain down to the bear minimum of one night, which meant that he in fact failed to host the 'return match' dinner for the Queen! Very much Lese Majeste!]

The other reason for tiara wearing at white tie events in hotels is of course a matter of practicality, because many of the noble families of the United Kingdom no longer have the traditional large London home that they used to [ Grosvenor House, the Dorchester, Spencer House etc] to entertain in! Many of these grand houses have now been redeveloped as hotels, or in the case of Spencer House, as venue for events, including Corporate 'events'. For this reason, many families who hold large parties / balls do so at hotels, because the traditional family home no longer exists in many cases, with aristocratic families often retaining only(!) a large apartment.

As a matter of interest, it is said that the Queen only ever visits three hotels: Claridges, The Ritz and the former Hyde Park hotel [now the Mandarin Oriental]. I can remember a little talk before the wedding about whether the Queen would go to the party the Middletons were throwing at the Goring, with many people saying that the Queen would not, because she never visits the Goring, although it was actually one of the Queen Mother's favourite hotels.

There is one other tiara-wearing-in hotels exception that I should mention: the London Debutante Season. This is mostly dead now, but even when I was 17, although presentations at court had long ceased, some form of London Season still limped on, and one of the important events was Queen Charlotte's Ball. This was a white tie event, and took place in the Grosvenor House Hotel. It commerated the Birthday of Queen Charlotte and was in fact an important fundraising occasion for Queen Charlotte's hosptial. The climax of the event was when the debutantes made a curtesy before the presiding Peeress, who was chosen annually to be Queen Charlotte's representative. The Peeress in question stood by a large cake, and received debutantes making their curtesy - the press always got it wrong and spoke of 'girls curtseying to a cake', but the press was very wrong, as the young girls were curtesying to the Peeress, who was actually there in her capacity as Queen Charlotte's Representative, and so the girls were technically NOT curtseying to the Peeress as peeress, but to the Peeress in her capacity as Queen Charlotte's representative. Anyway, the Peeress always wore a tiara, and the Grosvenor House was very much a hotel!

Hope some of this helps,

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I have a few books about royal jewels--Suzy Menkes, Leslie Field and a few on the Romanovs. Are there any others that you could recommend?
Thank you! I found a treasure trove of information in the Royal Jewels.
On Diamonds and Settings...

Looking at the Boucheron, the RFO and the bracelet it seems that their quality is far superior to that of the earrings and the necklace. The colour just seems so much more brilliant and multi-faceted, almost as if they have an age and style in common. Has anyone any ideas?
All the diamonds Camilla is wearing are white. There can often be a difference in disbursement due to the cutting and placement. The stones closer to the light are going to sparkle more.

Also, it also matters what metal the stones are set in. Brightest in silver, then white gold, then platinum or palladium, then yellow gold. Sometimes it is difficult to tell what the framing material is, especially if the prong tips are white --- which they normally are.
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Another rule which is no longer observed is that unmarried women don't wear tiaras. Afaik both Princess Margaret and Princess Anne wore tiaras before their wedding.

My theory with your statement is they wore them because they were the daughters of a reigning monarch at the time and as such were fully entitled to wear one.
It's kinda funny how Queen Victoria wore a tiara at her child's baptism but not at her wedding!
... snipped...I too wish Sophie could wear other tiaras but she is the wife of the youngest son of a Monarch, I don't imagine she'll get much more. I find that annoying though as she is the senior female who the Queen sends to represent her at so many occasions, you'd think one would provide her daughter-in-law with something beautiful. Meh. We just have to make do, as does Sophie, which I think she does beautifully. She's a beautiful woman, she doesn't need diamonds to look better!
I echo so much of your sentiments Molly, as I love tiaras too. I think one of the main problems is that strictly speaking, under British dress codes, tiaras are only worn with 'White Tie' and 'White Tie' occasions seem to be diminishing over the years. Most evening functions at which royalty are present seem to be 'black tie', when tiaras are not worn, although oddly enough, the party the Queen threw in 1990 to celebrate the Queen Mother's 90th birthday, Margaret's 60th birthday, Princess Anne's 40th and Andrew's 30th Birthday was a black tie affair but was also designated by the Queen as an event at which tiaras could be worn. [The explanation was that the Queen knew that ladies with tiaras loved to wear them but seldom had the chance, but the Queen did not want to designate the occasion as 'white tie' [which would automatically have meant that tiaras could have been worn] because the guest list included people across the whole social spectrum [for want of a better word] with jockeys, non-aristocratic young friends of Andrew etc who would all either have - or could borrow a Dinner Jacket ['black tie'] but would certainly not be likely to possess 'White Tie'

[For the record, although this thread is not of course about me, I am lucky enough to have a family tiara; apart from my wedding, I think I have worn it three more times in the last 25 years - twice in Scotland. I suppose this is also a reflection that social life is becoming less formal: recent example: Trousers are now permitted in the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot: in the 1960's the mere mention of the same as being suitable Royal Enclosure 'attire' would have caused people to have the vapours!!]

State Banquets are 'white tie' usually, as are 'return matches' thrown by Western heads of state during state visits. The State Opening of Parliament is a White Tie event; royals such as the Duke of York and Edward previously would have been in attendance by virtue of being Peers [royal dukes] and so their wives [Sophie] would have been in white tie along with all the other wives of Peers [non-royal] but since the reforms of the House of Lords, most hereditary peers [which includes Andrew, Edward, and come to that the Duke of Cambridge!!] no longer have any right to sit in the House of Lords, and so that is yet another 'white tie occasion' that has been lost for the royals.

The Jubilee events programme has not yet been finalised but if I am allowed to speculate, the general tone of what has been announced seems to be 'inclusive' and so I doubt if there will be a 'White tie' event. The bottom line therefore seems to be that Sophie has as many tiaras as she needs. [Don't forget that at the most prominent royal event in 2011 - the Royal Wedding - only the bride wore a tiara! Whilst tiaras would not have been worn in the Abbey by anyone else, in times gone by, an evening party in previous reigns would no doubt have been a 'white tie' [i.e. tiara] event
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Why can't they not be more flexibel with tiaras at black tie Events. For example in Denmark at several occasion (and i heard also for the Evening at the Concert House for the Queen's Jubilee next week) the dresscode was black tie with tiara optional which meant the royala Ladies wore their smaller tiaras. Also in the Netherlands at several official Visits (not state Visits) at the the Banquet the dresscode was black tie but the royal Ladies wore tiaras.
Wonder why not nore Royal Houses adopt this.
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Thank you for your interesting input Stefan.

Perhaps you can help me? Strict British dress code is 'White Tie and Tiara' as I have said. However, I know nothing about about formal dress codes for either Denmark or the Netherlands. Are tiaras officially worn with Black Tie anyway, or does the 'White Tie and Tiara rule' apply in Denmark and the Netherlands as well?

Thank you

Usually in Denmark and the netherlands it is White tie and tiaras. But in Denmark for the 70th and 75th birthdays of Prince Henrik and the 70th birthday of Queen Margrethe the dresscode was black tie but the royal ladies wore tiaras. At other black tie Events usually there are no tiaras worn but sometimes they wear it with black tie.

And in the Netherlands there have been official Vitis who have not been State Vitis but a banquet was given by Queen Beatrix and then the dresscode was not white tie but black tie and the royal ladies wore tiaras. And somethimes (but not always) they wear tiaras at State Visits abroad whre the dressscode for the State Banquet is black tie.

As you said in 1990 the Queen also hosted a party where the dresscode was black tie but tiaras could be worn. Wonder why she does this not more often.
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Thanks again Stefan.

This is quite an interesting topic and one which could usefully be explored somewhere, as dress at Court and events where royalty is present is very interesting.

As I don't want to be accused again of taking a thread off topic, where is the proper thread to discuss it? It is not strictly to do with Sophie any more.


Garrard's Jewelers created the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara in 1914.
What other tiaras were made by Garrard's?
Garrard's Jewelers created the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara in 1914.
What other tiaras were made by Garrard's?

I believe that Sarah, Duchess of York's tiara was made for her by Gerrard's for her wedding.
Garrard's Jewelers created the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara in 1914.
What other tiaras were made by Garrard's?

The diamond spiked tiara, The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, was a gift from the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland to Princess Mary of Teck on the occasion of her marriage to Prince George of England in 1893.
The tiara was made in 1893 by Garrard's Jewelers. :crown2:
I am trying to figure out who was the first royal bride to wear a tiara on her wedding.

The earliest I found was Princess Alice's wedding to Prince Louis of Hesse and by Rhine in 1862, presumably this happened because the tiara was designed by her father the late Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria.
In Post #50 Crown Princess Maxima's wedding tiara "used the base of the Pearl Button Tiara, and the diamond stars from another tiara." What tiara did the diamond stars come from?
A lot of them don't really. Most are a result of Queen Mary and her itchy fingers convincing people to give them to her. As was the case with the one Eugenie wore. In fact nearly all of them have something to do with Queen Mary.

So this comment really intrigued me and I couldn't find a more appropriate thread than this one, so if there is do please move it.

Where do the BRF (Main Branch, no kents or gloucesters) tiara's come from? The Court Jeweller website/Ella Kay has been most helpful in information.

Aquamarine Pineflower Tiara: Commissioned from Cartier by King George VI as an anniversary present for QEQM.

Belgian Sapphire Tiara: Elizabeth II purchased the sapphires for this tiara from an auction, where the piece of jewellery had previously been owned by Princess Louise of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (born of Belgium).

Brazilian Aquamarine Tiara: Elizabeth II had it made by Garrard in 1957.

Burmese Ruby Tiara: Elizabeth II had it made by Garrard in 1973 with diamonds from the Nizam of Hyderabad Tiara and rubies that were a wedding gift. The Nizam Tiara was made for QEII and was a wedding gift made by Cartier in 1947 from the Nizam of Hyderabad.

Cartier Bracelet Bandeau: Worn by QEQM, made by Cartier in 1920s purchased by King George VI for QEQM.

Cartier Halo Scroll: Anniversary gift from King George VI to QEQM made by Cartier in 1936.

The Delhi Durbar: Made by Garrard in 1911 for Queen Mary and contains parts of the dismantled Boucheron Loop Tiara.

George IV Diadem: Made by Rundell, Bridge, and Rundell in 1820 for the coronation of King George IV. Inherited by Queen Adelaide upon Georges death and worn by Queen Regnants & Consorts ever since.

Girls of Great Britain Tiara: Presented to Queen Mary of Teck as a wedding present from a committee of women led by Lady Eva Greville. Designed by Garrard.

The Greville Tiara: Received into the BRF in 1942 when Mrs Greville bequeathed her entire collection to QEQM. It was made by Boucheron in 1912.

The Greville Emerald Kokoshnik: As above but this one was made in 1919.

The Lotus Flower Tiara: QEQM had it made from a necklace King George had given her as a wedding gift, Garrard who had made the original reset the stones into the tiara format.

The Oriental Circlet: Tiara originally made for Queen Victoria, designed by Prince Albert and made by Garrard using Hanoverian diamonds in 1853. It was altered from Opals to Rubies by Queen Alexandra.

The Persian Turquoise Tiara: Queen Mary purchased this tiara from Garrard, King George V gave it to the then Duchess of York future QEQM.

The Poltimore: Made by Garrard in 1870 for Lady Poltimore and purchased by Princess Margaret.

Princess Andrews Meander Tiara: Belonging originally to Prince Philip's mother Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark. It was given to the then Princess Elizabeth as a wedding present upon her marriage to Prince Philip.

Princess Anne's Festoon Tiara: Given to Anne from the World-Wide Shipping company after christening one of their ships.

Queen Adelaide's Diamond Fringe: Made for Queen Adelaide, the wife of King William IV, by from Rundell and Bridge in 1831. It was originally a necklace that Queen Victoria had mounted on a tiara frame.

Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik: Made for Queen Alexandra by Garrard in 1888, it was commissioned as a gift by the Ladies of Society.

Queen Mary's Diamond Bandeau: Made in 1932 by Garrard for Queen Mary and designed to accommodate the central brooch, which was one of Queen Mary's wedding gifts and dates to 1893.

Queen Mary's Diamond Lozenge Tiara: Acquired sometime before 1935, the maker and provence is unknown.

Queen Mary's Lovers Knot: Made in 1913 by Garrard for Queen Mary as a copy of another family tiara, the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara.

Queen Mary's Russian (Sapphire) Bandeau: Purchased by Mary in an auction in 1921, possibly to have once been the property of Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia.

The Strathmore Rose Tiara: Given to the then Duchess of York by her parents the Earl and Countess of Strathmore bought from Catchpole and Williams.

The Teck Crescent Tiara: Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge created the tiara from jewels bequeathed to her by Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester. In 1930s it made its way to Queen Mary who brought it to the British Vaults, it was worn once by QEQM and hasn't been seen since.

The Teck Hoop Necklace Tiara: Has the same provenance as the Teck Crescent, but was given to Princess Margaret and now resides with the current Earl of Snowden.

The Vladimir Tiara: Made for Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, it was inherited by Princess Nicholas of Greece and Denmark who sold several of Maria's jewels and Queen Mary bought a substantial amount including the Vladimir. It was adjusted in 1924, and rebuilt by Garrard in 1988.

The Wessex Aquamarine Tiara: Made for the current Countess of Wessex by Collins & Son and first worn in 2005.

The Wessex Wedding Tiara: The provenance of the tiara is unclear, but it's supposedly made from elements of a Regal Circlet belonging to Queen Victoria and perhaps a new tiara mount shape.

So ultimately we have the following breakdown of how the main branch of the BRF got their tiaras:

Queen Mary of Teck purchased/made: 5
Given to Queen Mary as gifts: 4

Queen Elizabeth II purchased/made: 3
Given to QEII as gifts: 2

Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother purchased/made: 1
Given to QEQM as gifts: 6

Princess Anne & Countess of Wessex: 3

Older tiaras:
- Queen Victoria: 1
- Queen Adelaide: 2
- Princess Margaret: 1
- Queen Alexandra: 1

I appreciate at least The Poltimore is no longer in the main branch of the BRF, but you get my point.
To the person who mentioned Queen Mary, she didn’t beg or force anyone to give jewels to her. The tiara Eugenie wore was a gift from Mrs. Greville to QEQM not from Queen Mary. Btw, the jewels she got were gifted to her by friends, and the jewels she bought at auction she paid good prices for. The stories of her taking stuff or being entitled were rumors spread by disgruntled staff and relatives who took things from royal properties and grace and favor homes.
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