August 31st will mark the 20th Anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, one of the most iconic women of the last century. In honour of her death anniversary, we are featuring 20 of her most iconic jewels. Today’s feature is the Spencer Honeysuckle Tiara, which actually wasn’t even worn by the Princess, but is strongly associated with her-
Composed of nine diamond ‘honeysuckle’ elements atop a ‘Greek key’ base, this tiara has been modified from the original version, which featured three ‘honeysuckle’ elements joining the ‘Greek key’ elements.
First photographed on Charlotte, Countess Spencer in 1885, the piece is thought to have been a wedding gift to her in 1858. She was also drawn wearing a version of the Honeysuckle Tiara in 1872.
The person who was most photographed wearing the Spencer Honeysuckle Tiara was Cynthia, Countess Spencer (paternal grandmother of Diana, Princess of Wales), who was a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. (Interestingly, Ruth, Baroness Fermoy, the Princess’ maternal grandmother, was also a Lady-in-Waiting to the Queen Mother.) Above, Cynthia, Countess Spencer wears the Tiara for a portrait taken after the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
Lady Spencer also wore the Tiara at a Gala Performance in 1950…
…at an event during the French State Visit to Britain…
…and at an army dinner in 1956. After her death in 1972, the Spencer Honeysuckle Tiara remained the property of the Earls Spencer.
The Honeysuckle Tiara was notably worn by Raine, Countess Spencer for the Wedding Ball of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.
Diana, Princess of Wales was never photographed wearing the Spencer Honeysuckle Tiara (though she regularly wore the other Spencer Tiara), and the image above is convincingly photoshopped. However, despite having never worn it, the Honeysuckle Tiara was a part of the traveling Diana Exhibition, often misleadingly labeled as ‘Princess Diana’s Crown’. Since the conclusion of the exhibition, the Tiara has returned to the Spencer vaults at Althrop House.