Made for Queen Victoria, this stunning tiara was given to her youngest daughter, and worn by her daughter, Queen Ena of Spain, and daughter-in-law, the Marchioness of Carisbrooke, before disappearing from public view after the 1930s. It’s current whereabouts are unknown.
Originally made by Joseph Kitching in 1844, the piece was altered by Garrard’s in 1848, and again in 1860, when “ Strawberry leaves, scrolls and Ruby between” were added to the original ruby and diamond bandeau designed by Prince Albert. Princess Beatrice added an additional row of diamond elements at the base, and the tiara was last altered in 1933 by Cartier, when the Marchioness of Carisbrooke had the rubies removed.
In July 1849, Queen Victoria wrote in her journal; “Much pleased with a beautiful necklace, earrings & a brooch of rubies & diamonds, which dearest Albert had arranged for me, out of stones of own, with the addition of new ones I purchased with money inherited from Aunt Augusta and Aunt Sophia. The parure is really beautiful, & Albert has such wonderful taste…” She was depicted in the initial bandeau in a 1855 Winterhalter portrait. Queen Victoria liked it so much, that the ruby parure was one of the first coloured stones she wore during her mourning. at the wedding of her daughter, Princess Louise, in 1871.
In 1885, Queen Victoria gave the tiara and parure to her youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice, when she married Prince Henry of Battenberg. She added additional elements at the base and wore the Tiara in a portrait by Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida. At some point in the 1920s, Princess Beatrice passed the tiara to her son and daughter-in-law, the Marquess and Marchioness of Carisbrooke.
In the early 1920s, Princess Beatrice loaned Queen Victoria’s Strawberry Leaf Tiara to her daughter, by then Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain, who wore the tiara and parure for a series of portraits.
In the 1930s, Tiara was solely worn by the Marchioness of Carisbrooke, who had the piece altered in 1933. She wore it in her portrait by Phillip de Lazlo, at the Coronation of King George VI in 1937, at the 1937 State Opening of Parliament, and at the Opera during a 1939 State Visit from France. After that, the tiara disappeared from public view, and its current whereabouts are unknown. In 2009, a diamond brooch/pendant taught to have been a lozenge piece from the tiara was sold at Bonhams, and in May 2016, a ruby and diamond brooch belonging to the parure was sold at Christie’s.
For more information, check out: