Ogilvy Tiara

The Queen’s only female cousin, Princess Alexandra of Kent, the Hon. Lady Ogilvy, is one of my favorite members of the British Royal family. The daughter of a British Prince and a Greek Princess, who had been a major support for the Queen for almost 70 years, the Princess possesses some magnificent jewels, the most important of which is her Ogilvy Tiara!


When Princess Alexandra began undertaking Royal Duties on behalf of the Queen in the 1950s, she had few jewels of her own, and borrowed the Pearl Circle Bandeau and Queen Mary’s Crochet Bandeau Tiara for royal events. For her big Tour of Nigeria in 1960, when she granted Independence to the then British Colony on behalf of the Queen, Princess Alexandra also wore the Kent Festoon Tiara and a Tiara of seven Diamond and Pearl or Turquoise Flowers, of unknown provenance, which she also later wore on an Official Visit to Sweden and at the Wedding Ball of Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Sophia of Greece in 1962. Beth on HRJ has presented credible evidence that the Tiara originally contained Turquoises and that Pearls were added later. 

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In 1963, the Diamond Flowers were incorporated into a Tiara with a design of a swirling diamond ribbon structure, which was the gift of the Hon. Angus Ogilvy, second son of the Earl and Countess of Airlie, ahead of his Wedding to Princess Alexandra, who was first pictured wearing the Tiara for her Wedding Ball hosted by the Queen at Windsor Castle in 1963. Due to it being a gift from her husband, this Tiara is termed the Ogilvy Tiara, to differentiate it from the Airlie Tiara belonging to his family. With the exception of wearing her mother’s City of London Fringe Tiara for her Wedding and a few appearences of the Pearl Circle Bandeau in the 1960s and 1970s, Princess Alexandra has only worn the Ogilvy Tiara for the past almost six decades.

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While she originally wore the Turquoise version of the Ogilvy Tiara, it was soon modified to also be worn with Pearls in the centre of the Diamond Flowers, which Princess Alexandra often wore with her Pearl Corsage Brooch and her Golden Jubilee Necklace, another gift from Angus Ogilvy that was a copy of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Necklace, for many royal events and famous portraits.

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After pairing the Turquoise version of the Ogilvy Tiara with a Diamond Riviere or the Teck Turquoise Necklace from her aunt, the Duchess of Gloucester, for the British Chamber of Commerce Ball in Paris in 1965, Princess Alexandra frequently wore the Tiara with the turquoise version of her Golden Jubilee Necklace, which she notably wore for some portraits and at many Return Banquets at Claridge’s Hotel from the 1960s through to the 1990s.

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In the early 1970s, the Ogilvy Tiara was again adopted to include Sapphires, which Princess Alexandra usually wore with a rather substantial Sapphire and Diamond Necklace, with notable appearences including the Omani Return Banquet in 1982, the Polish Return Banquet in 1991, and the Malaysian Return Banquet in 1993 as well as the Heads of State Banquet at Guildhall in 1995.

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Despite the versatility provided by the turquoise and sapphire options, and their substantial necklaces, Princess Alexandra usually preferred to wear the Pearl Tiara for State Banquets and Portraits, usually preferring the other options for the less important Return Banquets. Notable appearences include the Dutch State Visit to Britain in 1972, the Dutch State Visit to Britain in 1982, the Polish State Banquet at Windsor Castle in 1991, the Norwegian State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in 2005, and the Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace in 2005, though there are countless Banquets and Galas at which the Tiara was worn but not pictured.

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In her widowhood, Princess Alexandra remains one of the busiest members of the Royal family and has exclusively worn the Pearl version of the Ogilvy Tiara usually with a pearl and diamond choker, being pictured in recent years at the Colombian State Banquet, the Spanish State Banquet, the Dutch State Banquet, the Queen’s Commonwealth Dinner at Buckingham Palace, and the American State Banquet.

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Many people hoped that Princess Alexandra’s granddaughter, Flora Ogilvy, would wear the Ogilvy Tiara for her Wedding in 2020, and while she did not wear it for her small ceremony, let’s hope Flora gets to wear it for a grand celebration later. There is no doubt we will continue to see the Ogilvy Tiara for years to come! UPDATE: Flora Ogilvy wore the Ogilvy Tiara for her Religious Wedding Ceremony in September 2021.


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