Happy Birthday to the Duchess of Argyll, who turns 47 today! A member of the Cadbury Family married into the illustrious Campbell family, who are situated at their magnificent family seat at Inveraray Castle. To mark her birthday, we are taking a look at the Argyll Tiara.
A Victorian family heirloom, the Tiara is designed as a series of tight scrolls, and was probably given as a wedding gift to Iona Colquhoun, daughter of Sir Ivar, 8th Baronet of Luss, and Lady Colquhoun, when she married the Marquess of Lorne, future 12th Duke of Argyll in 1964. Since Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll left most of her jewels to the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and the tiara of Margaret, Duchess of Argyll was her personal property, it’s quite likely that this Tiara was an heirloom from the Colquhoun rather than the Campbell family.
A principal patroness of the Royal Caledonian Ball, the oldest charity ball in the world that is considered the highlight of the London season, the now Dowager Duchess has been the principal wearer of the Argyll Tiara, at the annual Ball, for decades.
The Dowager Duchess of Argyll has loaned the Argyll Tiara to her daughter Lady Louise Burrell, who is also a patroness of the Royal Caledonian Ball, and has continued to wear the tiara after her marriage.
The Argyll Tiara was worn by Eleanor Cadbury when she married the current Duke of Argyll in 2002, paired with her Bruce Oldfield gown. The Duchess is also a patroness of the Royal Caledonian Ball, but it seems the Argyll Tiara is usually worn by her mother- or sister-in-law.
In 2006, Iona, Dowager Duchess of Argyll lost the Tiara, along with four other pieces of jewellery, after attending the Royal Caledonian Ball, travelling back to Inveraray Castle through Glasgow Airport, where the case with the jewels was found a few months later, but the jewels, worth £100,000, were auctioned for £5,000. Six years later, the Duchess spotted the Cartier brooch in the catalogue, and they were returned to her. She said:
I’m absolutely amazed. I thought that after six years, I’d lost them forever. The tiara was a Victorian family one and the necklace was given to me for my 21st birthday so everything was very special.”
The Argyll Tiara has been worn by the Duchess and her daughter, Lady Louise, at various Royal Caledonian Balls in the years since, and will no doubt be worn for years to come.