Monday, 9 June 2014

Tiara Time: The Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara

For this week's edition of Tiara Time, we look at one of the (if not the) most famous tiaras of all time - The Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara.

The sparkler was commissioned from Garrard in 1913/1914 by Queen Mary, Queen Consort of King George V, using jewels she already had in her possession. Mary wanted to have a tiara created based on the design of her maternal godmother Princess Augusta of Hesse, The Duchess of Cambridge's  'Lover's Knot Tiara', whence comes the name. The original was a striking piece, but back then, lover's knot bows were very popular and there were several similar ones made.

Regency History

The characteristics of Mary's tiara are very interesting; because it was based on the original Lover's Knot Tiara, it shows features of Gothic Revival style. The circle of the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara  is made up of a lower semi-circular band, set with a row of brilliant cut diamonds. Where two adjacent arches meet a pillar like structure is formed that rises up and ends in a round diamond, forming a diamond spike. There are nineteen diamond spikes of this nature and the size gradually decreases from the centre towards both ends.

Swinging pearls add a romantic edge to the tiara, and they could be dismantled - something Queen Mary did frequently. Below we see Mary wearing the tiara with upright pearls attached, after her death it was never worn that way again.

Internet Stones

After Mary died in 1953, and the tiara passed to Queen Elizabeth II who wore it on a number of occasions in the early 1950's but The Queen decided to put it into storage, electing to wear only her favourites which we still see today.

Tiara Day Discussion

In 1981, the day before Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer, Her Majesty gave her new daughter-in-law a red leather box; inside lay the tiara. According to various media outlets young Diana exclaimed: "I have Brenda's rocks", referring to a nickname the British press had given The Queen.

Diana did not wear the tiara for her wedding day, instead selecting her family tiara, the lighter-weight Spencer tiara. The two would become her 'go-to' tiaras throughout her time as Princess of Wales.

Princess Diana wore the tiara both at home and abroad for an array of engagements and it completed many of her most iconic looks.

However, the Princess found it quite heavy and headache inducing - reportedly the reason she reverted to her family tiara so often.

Following Charles and Diana's divorced in 1996 the tiara was returned to The Queen. When Diana vacated her title she was able to keep personal gifts but not official ones and as the tiara was and is part of The Queen's Collection it was classed as official. 

I think you'll agree she didn't need the tiara to shine or command attention wherever she went. A topic for another post, but I always wonder how her public role would have developed and what influence she would have continued to have for charitable organisations.

The tiara has remained in the vault since. When will it be worn next and most importantly by who? Some speculate The Duchess of Cambridge will be given it when she becomes Princess of Wales, although the piece is so heavily associated with her late mother-in-law, I'm inclined to doubt it. Also, Kate favours smaller, simpler jewellery. Harry's future wife is definitely a possibility although the same comparisons would exist. Perhaps it won't get another outing until the next generation of royals grow up. A future daughter of William or Harry? Prince George's future wife? Too far in the future to contemplate but this royal blogger believes it will be some time before it's seen again.


  1. always enjoy seeing tiaras and Diana. You've been busy, Charlotte! I have also been enjoying "Sartorial Splender." Appreciate the tip.
    Now, I haven't saved anything for a reward after doing disagreeable chores.. I used to use cookies, but have lost 11 pounds since getting involved in your blogs!
    Wait! There is a new engagement tomorrow!

    1. Yes we'll see Kate tomorrow but you deserve a cookie. 11 pounds is amazing. Congratulations!

  2. Wow..... This tiara is STUNNING!!! I absolutely LOVE this tiara (and I'm not typically a tiara person). I certainly hope it comes out of the vault soon, but I am afraid you are right. Such a pity a beautiful tiara will go to waste!

    1. It is beautiful and very unusual. I do think it will be quite a while before it gets another outing and for some reason I can't see Kate ever wearing it.

    2. I don't think Kate should wear it. Not that she wouldn't look nice in it, but she's already wearing Diana's engagement ring, and I think the comparisons should stop. It would be nice to see Kate as Kate rather than standing in Diana's shadow. I think she would look lovely in that huge one with the emeralds the queen wore not too long ago. The green would flatter her complexion and her eyes, I think, although it wouldn't be quite as neutral.

    3. bluhare- we need to save something for Harry's wife.
      I think Diana would like the tiara to be auctioned off, with proceeds going to AIDs orphans. Harry would go for that, and probably William. And Kate. Maybe not the Queen.
      It should be broken up and sold piece by piece, although it would fetch more whole.
      We can't take a chance that some day someone whose last name starts with K could show up in it.
      I am kind of serious about this.

    4. bluhare, I agree that emeralds would be perfect for Kate. Diana wore them from time to time, but they would work better on Kate for the reasons you mentioned.

      Marg, hmmm....I know what you mean about Harry, but let's see who he marries first. Lol. Maybe it's me, but I couldn't imagine either of his two former blonde girlfriends with this tiara. But I so agree about the K's. Ugh!

  3. Charlotte - I daresay that the weight of the tiara is why Her Majesty stopped wearing it! I wonder if she thought that
    since Diana was so much taller, she might find the tiara a more comfortable fit! And since even Diana got such headaches from wearing it - it must be Really Heavy!! Since I've seen photos of The Queen wearing the Vladimir tiara without the pearl OR emerald drops - it makes me wonder if removing the pearls might make the Cambridge tiara more bearable (yikes, a pun!).
    Charlotte - how DO you keep all of this - AND University studies - going!?
    You must not need much sleep!! This blog is as wonderful as everyone over at "Duchess Kate " has been saying! I
    have always loved The Queen's lovely jewels - their design

    1. Thank you so much Jo!

      The blogs are great fun to write and it's always a pleasure to find time to write them. I'm hoping to devote more time to The Royal Digest over the summer in between Kate appearances especially. Thank you for your kind comment :)

  4. Charlotte - I hit a wrong button before I finished.... love the designs, the history
    of each piece....the SPARKLE!! My Beloved went through all kinds of trouble to get The Queen's Diamonds for me - and when at first it looked impossible, he got a book about the Crown Jewels - then I ended up as yhe thrilled owner of BOTH fabulous books!

  5. Charlotte - I hit a wrong button before I finished.... love the designs, the history
    of each piece....the SPARKLE!! My Beloved went through all kinds of trouble to get The Queen's Diamonds for me - and when at first it looked impossible, he got a book about the Crown Jewels - then I ended up as the thrilled owner of BOTH fabulous books!

  6. I really like this tiara. Diana loved pearls and it was such a signature piece for her. (Which is the reason I suspect we will not see Kate wearing it; at least not anytime soon.)

  7. Me again - can't help it - I DO love beautifully- designed tiaras!
    The photo of Queen Mary wearing the tiara with BOTH sets of pearls on it...
    must've been brutal to wear if Diana and The Queen thought it was heavy without the top set of pearls on it!!!
    Does anyone know how tiaras are photographed seemingly floating with no support!? I have so little imagination in that area - maybe it's held up with invisible wire? Magic?

  8. While I would love to see Kate in this tiara, or any tiara for that matter, I don't think the comparasions to Diana will ever end. Very unfortunate because Kate could really rock this tiara.

    1. Tammy from California16 June 2015 at 04:08

      She sure could Lauri!

  9. HRH Princess Diana looked the best in this tiara and it's shameful she didn't get to keep her title of HRH or the tiara. Well many things that happened to Diana such as charles cheating on her with camilla etc were all shameful. I want to thank you Charlotte for this beautiful post on the most loved royal ever.

  10. Queen Elizabeth doesn't seem to be wearing eye make-up, other than on her eyebrows. I've noticed recently that she appears to be wearing a great deal more make-up. Perhaps a part of her answer to the re-emergence of A- word talk, following the Spanish king's announcement. Also, the situation in Scotland. Were there any photos of her looking perky at the garden party? In the one picture I saw,on DK site, both she and Prince Phillip looked about to fall over. I have been trying to imagine doing a third of what she did last week. I could not do it Maybe my mother could have.
    I am so glad the British, as a whole, seem to cherish her Some people, it is just comforting, if not inspiring , to know they are with us in this world; one feels a real sense of loss, as of a friend, when they are gone. Of course, Princess Diana and Jackie Kennedy come to mind. And Maya Angelou, who is no longer with us and we will miss her.

  11. I love both the look of the tiara and its name! I was really surprised however, that we only get part of a photo the first time Kate wore it (or any tiara since her wedding). Any idea why that may have come about?

  12. Hello, I love your is so informative.........I loved Diana, no matter what she wore.........I just loved her. 2 years ago we went to London & I saw the Elvis Dress in the V. & A. beautiful.......I think like others that Kate should have this Tiara. My questions today is, " why do you think Kate doesn't wear her wedding earrings? They were & are quite beautiful.....Thank you...............Mary Ann in Augusta, Ga.

  13. Tammy from California16 June 2015 at 04:08

    I am about to be lambasted for what I am going to say: I loved Diana very, very much, AND, what she said about getting "Brenda's rocks" was quite rude. Granted, I had heard that later she got everything from a bar of soap for Christmas to whatever else, but she wasn't married yet and didn't have a bad relationship with the family, so I find that comment to be uncalled for.

  14. In response to your wondering about what Diana's role would have been, I think we can all see her doing more wonderful work with landline victims and her other charities. However, I think Kate is very lucky not to have Diana as a mother-in-law. She adored her sons and I don't think any woman would have been good enough for them in her eyes. It would be especially difficult for Kate to have a close relationship with Diana and also the Queen.


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