The 6th Duke of Westminster, Gerald Grosvenor, the 3rd richest man in Britain, died this week from a heart attack aged 64. he left behind a widow and four children, of whom the eldest son, Hugh, inherits the title and fortune. As the Duchess to the richest aristocrat in Britain, Natalia, Duchess of Westminster wore many tiaras throughout her tenure. Her Grace still retains her usage of the Westminster jewels, as the new Duke is unmarried. A Myrtle Wreath Tiara is also in the Westminster collection, but hasn’t been worn by the Duchess.
Born Natalia Phillips in 1959, as the youngest child of Georgina Wernher and Lt.-Col. Harold Phillips, she has has an illustrious lineage. Her sister is the Duchess of Abercorn, while a cousin is the Countess of Dalhousie. Her Grace has royal links, as her great aunt, Nadejda Mountbatten, was the aunt of the Duke of Edinburgh, as well as the sister-in-law of the Queen of Sweden and Lord Mountbatten. Nadejda, herself, was the mornogratic daughter of a Russian Grand Duke, and descended maternally from the great Russian poet; Pushkin. A further royal link was established in 1982, when, as Duchess of Westminster, Natalia was appointed Godmother to the Duke of Cambridge. In turn, her son, Hugh, now the 7th Duke, was appointed godfather to Prince George. She was last seen at the Queens 90th Birthday thanksgiving service in June.
For her 1978 wedding, Her Grace wore the Bagration Parure tiara, which had been bought specifically for her. It has parure consisting of a tiara, necklace, earrings, and hair comb which once belonged to the Russian Princess Catherine Bagration. Made combination of pinkish spinels and diamonds, it was said to have been worn to a State Opening of Parliament, but hasn’t been seen being worn since the wedding. It was exhibited the Tiaras; A History of Splendor exhibition in 2002.
The Duchess has also worn the Rosebery Tiara, which had made its way into the Westminster family from the collection of Hannah, Countess of Rosebery, a Rothschild heiress. Natalia, Duchess of Westminster wore the tiara to a banquet in the 1980s. It was also worn by a model during a photoshoot, when major pieces of the Westminster collection were photographed. The Rosebery tiara was sold in 2011 for £1,161,250 to an anonymous buyer.
Princess Mary’s Fringe Tiara
Another Tiara owned by the Westminster collection is Princess Mary’s Fringe Tiara, which was a wedding gift to Princess Mary Countess of Harewood, aunt of Queen Elizabeth II, in 1922. She wore her Fringe Tiara to many events, and after her death, the it was auctioned and bought by the Westminster Collection.
The Fabergé Myrtle Wreath Tiara was made in 1906 by the renowned Russian jeweller, and has been worn by many members of the family, including the Duchess’ daughter, Lady Tamara, and has been loaned to various exhibitions. Click HERE to learn more.