When the Queen passed away last month, there was much talk about the spectacular Heirloom Jewels which have now passed on to the next generation, but over the past three days, we have been featuring the three Tiaras that the late Queen bought, designed or commissioned, adding to her massive jewellery collection, ending with the Burmese Ruby Tiara!
When Princess Elizabeth married Prince Phillip of Greece in 1947, she received a wedding gift of 96 rubies from the people of Burma, which were believed to protect from 96 diseases (a prophetic gift since the Queen passed away at the age of 96). The Rubies were displayed with the other wedding gifts at St James’ Palace in the days leading up to the wedding, but not worn. Another wedding gift was the Nizam of Hyderabad Tiara, which was not worn after the early 1950s, and by 1973, the diamonds in the Tiara were used with the Burmese Rubies to create a new Tiara from Garrard, featuring heraldic Tudor Roses.
The Queen first wore the Burmese Ruby Tiara on her first State Visit to Japan in 1975, after which it was worn for her Silver Jubilee Gala at Covent Garden in 1977, as well as on the Silver Jubilee Tours around the Commonwealth. The Tiara was also worn for the British State Visit to Denmark in 1979, and the Dutch State Visit to Britain in 1982, and through the 1970s and 1980s, it was paired with the Baring Ruby Necklace.
From the 1990s, the Queen has worn the Burmese Ruby Tiara for State Banquets and Galas on State Visits to and from Republics, usually to Eastern European Countries and French State Visits, with the Tiara being frequently worn through the 2000s, most notably with Queen Victoria’s Crown Rubies for the Jordanian State Visit to Britain in 2001, and also for a Diamond Jubilee Portrait with her Canadian Honours.
After a gap of almost a decade, the Queen wore the Burmese Ruby Tiara with Queen Victoria’s Crown Rubies for the American State Visit to Britain in 2019, making an emblematic statement with the Blue Sash of the Order of the Garter. While it was initially not a favourite, the Tiara has grown on me in recent years and I’d love to see it worn by Queen Camilla or the Princess of Wales.