Cartier Halo Tiara

Tomorrow, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will celebrate their 10th Wedding Anniversary! While we have briefly featured this piece in four previous articles in the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, Princess Anne, and Duchess of Cambridge’s Tiaras, to mark the anniversary, we are taking an in-depth look at the splendid Cartier Halo Tiara!

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Grace Kelly - Princess Grace of Monaco - Bains de Mer Tiara - Royal Jewels Documentary

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The Diamond Halo Tiara is formed as a band of 16 graduated scrolls, set with 739 brilliants and 149 baton diamonds, each scroll divided by a graduated brilliant and with a large brilliant at the centre, and was made by the celebrated French Jewellery House of Cartier. The Tiara was acquired by the then Duke of York from Cartier in London in November 1936, probably using his inheritance from his father, King George V, who had died earlier that year. At the time, the then Duchess of York only had her Turquoise Parure, the Lotus Flower Tiara, and the Strathmore Rose Tiara, all of which had been wedding gifts, and had a relatively minimal collection for the second highest ranking lady in the Kingdom, especially in comparison to her sisters-in-law, the Duchess of Gloucester and the Duchess of Kent.

The Duchess of York first wore her new Halo Scroll Tiara for a Gala Performance in November 1936, just days before the abdication of King Edward VIII, which made the couple King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. After becoming Queen, the Halo Scroll Tiara was worn for a couple of Gala Performances and Portraits in the late 1930s, before giving as an 18th birthday gift to her eldest daughter, Princess (now Queen) Elisabeth, in 1944, who still owns the Tiara but has never been publicly pictured wearing it.

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While Princess Elizabeth was never pictured wearing the Cartier Halo Tiara, she did loan it frequently loan it to her sister, Princess Margaret, from the 1940s through to the 1960s, being first worn at the Inauguration Gala of Queen Juliana of The Netherlands in 1948, before Princess Margaret famously wore the Tiara at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

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Princess Margaret frequently wore for portraits and on her Official Tours through the 1950s and the early 1960s, like when she granted Independence to the Colony of Jamaica in 1962, making it a symbol of the glamorous young Princess, though she seems to have returned it to the Queen in the early 1960s, by when she had acquired her own Poltimore Tiara.

A few years later, the Queen loaned the Cartier Halo Tiara to her only daughter, Princess Anne, who wore it for her first tiara appearance (at the age of 17) at the State Opening of Parliament in 1967, the first time she and Prince Charles joined the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh for the annual ceremony.

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The Tiara was frequently worn by Princess Anne in the late 1960s and early 1970s, most notably during the long Captain Cook Bicentenary Tour in 1970, the Japanese State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in 1971, the British State Visit to Thailand in 1972, the Luxembourg State Visit to Britain, and the Dutch State Visit to Britain in 1972, alternating with Princess Andrew’s Meander Tiara, though around the time she married Captain Mark Phillips in 1973, she had gotten her Festoon Tiara and the Queen Mother’s Aquamarine Pine-Flower Tiara, and thus stopped wearing the Cartier Halo Tiara.

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The Cartier Halo Tiara remained in the vault until the Queen loaned the it to Kate Middleton for her Wedding to Prince William at Westminster Abbey in 2011. Wearing the tiara as she became the Duchess of Cambridge, the scroll elements were echoed in the design of diamond earrings with a scroll motif and an acorn, an element of the Middleton family crest, which were a wedding gift from her parents.

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In the years since the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Cartier Halo Tiara has been exhibited around the world, most notably at a Royal Wedding Exhibition at Buckingham Palace in 2012, and also at a Cartier exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. Lets hope we see this special royal heirloom worn again soon!


One thought on “Cartier Halo Tiara

  1. This is a lovely, albeit smallish tiara that sparkles prodigiously! I have no doubt that the Duchess of Cambridge selected it to match her wedding gift earrings from her parents. That is, if she got to pick! We don’t know these things, do we? But I do hope she did get to select it for the reason I mentioned before. They match perfectly! I thought when I saw her wearing it that it would become her go-to tiara, but it turns out she hasn’t worn it since! Could it be because it’s in a fragile state? I hope not, because it would be a perfect first tiara for Princess Charlotte when the time comes!

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