Queen Mary often left a confusing trail when it came to jewelry re-configuration, and the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara is a case in point. The Tinkerer Queen admired her grandmother’s Lover’s Knot tiara so much that she broke up two of her own diadems to provide the parts for swinging pearl tiara of her own, which she then promptly re-designed again. That’s the quick summary for those of you who don’t want to hear our meanderings on the origin of this diadem. Skip to the comments if you are in that group!
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Mary of Teck’s grandmother, Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge, is shown below wearing her densely designed Lover’s Knot tiara. This is the tiara that loomed large in young Mary’s imagination and the inspiration for what we would come to know as the Cambridge Lover’s Knot.
Once Queen Mary set her sights on owning a tiara in the same design, she cast her eyes around and decided that two of her own wedding gift tiaras, the Girl’s of Great Britain and Ireland (in its original configuration, with pearls on top) and the aptly named Ladies of England Tiara, could be sacrificed. The Girls lost its top row of pearls and the Ladies of England was broken apart entirely.
The parts were shipped off to E. Wolff & Co. for Garrard in 1913, with the instruction to create a tiara in the image of Augusta’s pearl design. The original Cambridge Lover’s Knot had a row of pearls across the top, but you know Mary. At some point, she removed them to reveal the tiara we are familiar with today.
Queen Mary’s granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth, inherited the tiara. It was a favorite when the Princess and then Queen was young, but eventually it was put away until Lady Diana Spencer became the Princess of Wales. It was Diana’s main tiara (other than her Spencer family tiara). The Princess wore it often, despite the rumor that she found it “very noisy”.
Lots of royal watchers speculated that the Duchess of Cambridge would give this one a miss since it was so closely associated with her husband’s mother. We were wrong since it also appears to be the Duchess’ recent favorite.
The Case for the Tiara
LiL – I could go either way, so I’ll give it a thumbs up, even though it has a lot of pearls. Made Iconic by her mother-in-law, I actually think it was/is much more suited to Queen Elizabeth’s and Catherine’s darker hair. It really got lost in Diana’s.
The Case Against the Tiara
The Bag: Anyone who knows me knows I consider this the Steampunk of Tiaras, at once twee and industrial. It’s not a favorite, although I think the Duchess of Cambridge is doing good work with it – the best since the original owner.
LG: I’m not firmly against this one, I could be persuaded to at least like it if the upright pearls were returned. As it is, it’s not the worst thing out there, but I’m not reaching for it first.
OC: I suffer from Pretzel Vision. I’m also greedy and want the pearl lollipops back where they belong.