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 regularly modified over the years, including one version which featured three ‘honeysuckle’ elements joining the ‘Greek key’ elements.
The Tiara was photographed on 5th Countess Spencer, who is thought to have received it as a wedding gift to her in 1858, at the Wedding of the Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra of Denmark in Windsor Castle in 1863, she was drawn wearing a version of the Tiara in 1872, and was also pictured in the Tiara with the Spencer Diamond Rivière for portraits in 1885.
The person who was most photographed wearing the Spencer Honeysuckle Tiara was Cynthia, Countess Spence, 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.) Countess Spencer wore the Tiara for a Pagent at Althorp in 1932, during the Royal Visit to Paris in 1938, and at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
Lady Spencer also wore the Tiara at a Gala Performance in 1950…
…and at an army dinner in 1956.
The Honeysuckle Tiara was notably worn by Raine, the next 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.