The Manners Family, the Dukes of Rutland, are one of the most illustrious of the British Noble Families and have dominated English society for centuries. The family still possess two magnificent stately homes: Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire and Haddon Hall in Derbyshire, and regularly feature in society magazines, documentaries, and launch new ventures like the Duchess Podcast. With such an illustrious history, the family have a splendid Diamond Tiara, which we are featuring today!
The intricate Diamond Floral Tiara is composed of carnations and fuschias amid diamond leaves in gold, and has been in the family since the 18th century. Janetta, the 7th Duchess of Rutland, was pictured wearing the family tiara in a portrait and in a painting during the 1880s and 1890s, along with another family heirloom, the diamond rivière with a cross pendant.
The next Duchess, Violet Manners, who was a famous sculptor and a one of the leading members of The Souls, wasn’t pictured wearing the piece, but, her daughter, the socialite Lady Diana Cooper, was photographed wearing the Rutland Tiara by Cecil Beaton for Vogue in 1937.
Kathleen, the 9th Duchess of Rutland wore the family Tiara for the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey in 1937, where she was one of the Canopy Bearers for the Queen, along with three other Duchesses, during the Coronation Ceremony. The then Dowager Duchess was also photographed wearing the Tiara at an event in 1959. In her autobiography The Girl with the Widows Peak, her daughter; Lady Ursula D’Abo described how she saved the Rutland Tiara during the Blitz:
After a narrow escape in the Blitz, I rang my mother and said I’d better collect all the family valuables I could from the banks and jewellery shops. My mother had really no idea of what was happening in the capital and said: ‘ don’t be silly, London is the safer place to be!’ It was typical of the lack of communication in there was England at the time. I was desperate to get home, and Lord Beaverbrook, …, arranged some transport. I headed off to Carrington’s in Regents st. to see my lovely old Mr Hughes, who looked after our family jewels, to rescue things and take them back to Belvoir. When I arrived home with the family tiara on my knee my mother was surprised.”
The next person to wear the Rutland Tiara was Frances, the 10th Duchess of Rutland, daughter of the infamous Margret, Duchess of Argyll, who notably wore it at the coming out ball of her husbands niece, Lindy Guinness (now Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava), at Belvoir Castle in 1958, as well as at the State Opening of Parliament in 1960 and a Dinner at Britwell House, home of Lady Pamela and David Hicks, ahead of a Ball at Luton Hoo.
The current Duchess seems to have worn another Diamond Floral Tiara for her wedding to the 11th Duke in 1992 and the last time the Tiara was publicly seen was for the wedding of Lady Theresa Manners, a daughter of the 10th Duke, in 1997. We will probably see the Rutland Tiara at the next Coronation, or when Ladies Violet, Alice, and Eliza Manners, the daughters of the current Duke and Duchess, get married, though there is no doubt it will continue to be worn for generations to come.