Happy Birthday to HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who would have turned 116 today. My favourite royal was born on August 4, 1900, the daughter of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore, she married Prince Albert, Duke of York in 1923. The Duke and Duchess of York had two daughters before unexpectedly becoming Sovereigns of Britain, due to his brother’s abdication. Leading the country during WWII had a serious strain on the Kings health, leading to his death in 1952. As the mother of the new Queen, the Queen Mother, had no defined role. During her widowhood, she became known for her sense of duty, and an ability to enjoy life. She died at the ripe old age of 101 in March, 2002. Throughout her life, Elizabeth wore glittering tiaras. Some were royal heirlooms, while others were made for her. This is a tribute to the Jewel Vault of a beloved monarch…
Originally made as an opal tiara for Queen Victoria in 1853, the opals of the were replaced by rubies by Queen Alexandra. The tiara, an heirloom of the crown, was a favorite of the Queen Mother who wore it throughout her life, even after the death of the King, when it rightfully belonged to her daughter, leading the present Queen to remark; “Mummy will give them back.” She wore it on the monumental French State Visit of 1938, the landmark 1939 tour of Canada and the US, as well as on occasions throughout her life, as it was one of the tiaras she continued to use in old age. It was seen on Queen Elizabeth II in 2006 in Malta.
Made by Boucheron in 1921 for the Hon. Mrs. Ronald Greville, a society hostess and great friend of the George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother inherited all of her jewels in 1942. The Greville Tiara became her most worn piece, worn well into her old age. Today, it is worn by the Duchess of Cornwall.
Made by Queen Mary in 1919, the fringe tiara was given to the Queen Mother upon the King’s accession in 1936. The Queen Mother wore the piece for her first official portrait. She loaned the tiara to her daughter, Princess Elisabeth, in 1997 as a wedding tiara, when the frame snapped. She also loaned the tiara to her grand daughter, Princess Anne, in 1973. The Queen Mother wore the piece rarely, passing to the Queen upon her death in 2002.
The turquoise parure tiara was given as a wedding gift in 1923, from her father-in-law, King George V. As her only major tiara during the 1920s and 30s, the Queen Mother wore this piece regularly for events. Notable occasions when it was worn were during a State Visit to Belgium in the 30s, the Wedding of Crown Prince Olav of Norway to Princess Martha of Sweden in 1929, and the pre-wedding ball of the Duke and Duchess of Kent. The gave the tiara, along with its parure, to her daughter, Princess Margaret, who wore it regularly throughout her life.
The diamond diadem, featuring three wild roses separated by 20 crescent shapes, was made by Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck from jewels inherited from her aunt, Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester. The next Duchess of Teck wore the piece at the 1911 Coronation, but sometime later, it passed to Queen Mary, daughter of Princess Mary Adelaide. She gave the piece to the Queen Mother in 1936 upon her husband’s accession. The Queen Mother wore the tiara sparingly throughout her life, and it was inherited by the present Queen in 2002. Currently, the tiara is on loan to the Duchess of Cornwall.
Made from a necklace given as a wedding gift to the Queen Mother from her husband in 1923, she wore the piece very infrequently. She loaned the tiara to her sister, Lady Elphinstone, for her 1937 coronation. The piece was also loaned to Princess Margaret, and later as a wedding tiara, to her daughter-in-law, Serena, Lady Linley, in 1993. Recently, the piece was loaned by Queen Elisabeth II to the Duchess of Cambridge.
A wedding gift to the Queen Mother in 1923 from her father, the Earl of Strathmore, the tiara features a garland of wild roses in diamonds mounted in silver and gold. It was one of her most rarely worn pieces, worn for a portrait in the 1920s and on a visit to the opera in the 30s. It appeared at an exhibit in 2002, but hasn’t been seen on anyone since the Queen Mother.
Given as a gift to the Queen Mother from her husband in 1936 from Cartier, it was worn by her in the late 1930s. It was an 18th birthday gift to her daughter, Princess(now Queen) Elisabeth, in 1944. She loaned it to Princess Margaret in the 40s and 50s and her daughter, Princess Anne in the 60s and 70s. Queen Elizabeth II famously loaned the Tiara to the Duchess of Cambridge for her wedding in 2011.
An anniversary gift from her husband, King George VI, the Queen Mother wore this tiara only once publicly. It was given as a wedding gift to Princess Anne in 1973, who altered the tiara slightly. She still wears the piece regularly today.
Worn as a necklace by the Duchesses of Teck mentioned above, the Teck Circles necklace was converted into a tiara by the Queen Mother in 1937. She wore the piece quite frequently during her husbands reign, after which it passed to Princess Margaret, who wore it as a necklace. It is currently owned by the Queen.
Made by Garrards for the celebrated 1911 Delhi Durbar by Queen Mary, the original parure contained the famous Cambridge Emeralds. She gave the diamond version of the tiara to the Queen Mother for the 1947 South African tour. She kept it with her until her death, when it was passed to the current Queen. The Duchess of Cornwall wore the tiara during the 2005 State Visit from Norway.
Made from three of a set of five Art Deco Bracelets given to the Queen Mother by her husband, the tiara features a coloured stone bracelet surrounded by two diamond bracelets. The Queen Mother wore the bandeau to the opera and at an official engagement in the early 1930s. The bracelets are still worn by the present Queen.