Duchess Kate’s tiara: Kate Diana Tiara

Published: December 9, 2015

Duchess Kate’s tiara: Kate Diana Tiara, It is the largest – and, some say, the most glittering – reception the monarch holds each year at Buckingham Palace.

So it was fitting that the Duchess of Cambridge had dusted off some of the royal family’s finest jewels.

Arriving at the Queen’s annual Diplomatic Reception in a chauffeur-driven Bentley, Kate was wearing, appropriately, the dazzling diamond and pearl Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara, once owned by Princess Diana.

The tiara was originally made by Queen Mary in 1914 to her own design from pearls and diamonds already in her family’s possession.

It was a copy of one owned by her grandmother, Princess Augusta of Hesse, who married the first Duke of Cambridge, seventh son of King George III, in 1818.

In her will Queen Mary left the tiara to to the Queen who wore it frequently, including at an evening event in 1955.

In 1981 she gave it as a wedding present to Prince William’s mother, Diana, who wore it for the first time at the state opening of parliament that November.

Diana also wore the tiara in 1985 on an official visit to Washington with Prince Charles.

Buckingham Palace was unable to confirm last night whether the tiara had reverted to the Queen on Diana’s death and had now been given to Kate, or whether it was just on loan for the night.

Regardless, it will be considered a touching tribute to the mother-in-law that the Duchess, now a mother of two herself, never met.

The tiara has a strong French influence, made to a new-classical design on 19 open work diamond arches and enclosing an oriental pearl drop from a diamond lover’s knot bow, surrounded by single diamonds and upright oval pearl spikes.

With Kate’s hair swept back and an ice blue evening gown, thought to be the same Alexander McQueen dress that she wore at the 2013 event, it was a regal combination.

Although details of the event are not published in advance and no photographs are released to the media, the white-tie Diplomatic Reception is the main ambassadorial social event of the year in London.

The tiara was made by Royal jewellers Garrard to Queen Mary’s personal design.

It is, of course, not the only piece of jewellery Kate wears that once belonged to Diana.

When she and Prince William got engaged he gave her his late mother’s distinctive diamond and sapphire engagement ring.

The tiara is fairly heavy even by royal standards and was said to have given Diana headaches when she wore it.

Buckingham Palace says it ‘reflects The Queen’s importance in the country’s diplomatic relations’ and all senior members of the royal family who do not have prior engagements are expected to attend.

It is certainly the largest reception held annually at Buckingham Palace, with more than 1,500 dignitaries invited from around 130 countries, including members of the British government, past Prime Ministers, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and other public figures.

Kate has worn tiaras three times before. Most recently she showcased the Lotus Flower tiara once owned by the Queen Mother and a favourite of Princess Margaret for her first state banquet at Buckingham Palace in October.

It was the second time the mother-of-two had showcased this stunning headpiece after wearing it to the queen’s diplomatic reception in 2013.

She wore the Cartier tiara for her wedding in 2011.

For Princess Diana, tiaras were a key part of her style, especially at formal occasions and from the Eighties until the early 1990s she was regularly photographed in the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara as well as her family’s rather lighter Spencer tiara.

Diana showcased the splendid headpiece at official dinners in New Zealand in 1983 as well as Hong Kong in the same year – accessorised with a diamond necklace given to her by Charles on Prince William’s birth.

In 1985, Diana chose a stunning white lace fishtail gown for a dinner at the British Embassy in Washngton, a regal look topped by the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara.

In the same year the tiara had another outing at La Scala Opera House where Charles and Diana saw a performance of Turandot on an official tour of Italy in April.

She wore a dashing black and white dress for an audience with King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz al Saud on a visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 1986 with the tiara.

In 1987, Diana chose a pearl choker and pearl earrings to go with the headpiece and white beaded gown at an event at Claridges Hotel.

In 1989 she teamed a chic pearl-encrusted Catherine Walker gown with the drop-pearl diadem on a visit to Hong Kong.

And in 1991, the tiara was chosen to complement a dashing one-shoulder gown to attend a state banquet given by President Collor of Brazil at the Itamaraty Palace, Brasilia, in 1991.

While tiaras were very much in style for the women of the royal family, Kate has only worn them three times before tonight.

The first time was for her April 2011 wedding, when she sported the Cartier Halo Tiara, and twice when she chose the Lotus Flower Tiara – also known as the Papyrus tiara – which belonged to Princess Margaret at the Queen’s annual diplomatic reception at the Palace in 2013.

Famous family heirlooms also include the Spencer Tiara, which was worn by William’s mother Diana, Princess of Wales, at her wedding to the Prince of Wales, and many times after.


Before the royal wedding in 2011, this diadem was commonly known as the Scroll Tiara. In the official information released about the bride’s attire, the Palace referred to it as a ‘halo’ tiara.

The tiara was made by Cartier in 1936 and was purchased by the Duke of York for his Duchess three weeks before he became King George VI, and she became Queen Elizabeth (the future Queen Mother). The only picture of her wearing it was taken after she received it and before she became Queen Consort.

She soon passed the tiara on to her daughter, Princess Elizabeth (the current Queen), as an 18th birthday present (1944) but Her Majesty has never worn it publicly.

Princess Margaret wore it and so did Princess Anne who last wore it in the early 1970s, which was the last outing before it was deemed the perfect accessory for Kate’s Alexander McQueen gown.


The Duchess first wore this light, stylish piece at the Diplomatic Reception in 2013.

The light headpiece was made by the then Duchess of York – and wife of the future George VI – by Garrard out of a necklace given to her as a wedding present in 1923.

Leslie Field, author of the Queen’s Jewels, said of the Egyptian-style tiara: ‘It’s a beautiful pearl and diamond piece. It’s very much in the Twenties style and probably quite lightweight and comfortable to wear.’

The Lotus Flower was seen on the Duchess of York, shortly after she married George V’s second son in 1923. It was made from one of her wedding gifts from her husband, the Queen’s father, which was a Greek key pattern with a pendant diamonds and pearls.

Garrard dismantled it and created this tiara instead which is variously known as the Lotus tiara for the shaped of the fan-shape design and the Papyrus tiara. As well as the diamonds, the piece has two pearls at the base and a central pearl above the main fan detail at the front.

The Queen Mother, brought some 1920s flair to the piece by wearing it across her forehead in a bandeau style. But she soon packed it away until it emerged after she gave it to her younger daughter in 1959.

Princess Margaret was so fond of the tiara she often wore it throughout the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, even until the Nineties.

But it was given a new lease of life in 1993, when it was passed to her daughter-in-law Serena Stanhope for her wedding to Margaret’s son Viscount Linley.

After the wedding the tiara disappeared from the public eye for many years, and no one seemed to know whether it went to Margaret’s children or if it was returned to the royal family after her death in 2002.


One of Diana’s favourites was the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara which was given to the Princess by the Queen as a wedding gift in 1981.

The diamond and pearl-encrusted tiara was made in 1914 by Garrard and has a strong French influence with a neo-classical design of 19 diamond arches, each cradling a pearl drop.

It was designed by the Queen’s grandmother Queen Mary and based on one owned by Mary’s grandmother Princess Augusta who married the first Duke of Cambridge.

The piece was composed of existing jewels Queen Mary had in her collection: the dismantled Some Ladies of England Tiara as well as some pearls from brooches belonging to Mary.

After Mary died in 1953, the tiara passed to her granddaughter Queen Elizabeth, who wore it regularly in the 1950s but phased it out in the succeeding decades.

Queen Mary wore it in official photography that shows the original design with pearl uprights extending above the diamond knots.

She eventually removed the uprights and when she died in 1953 the tiara passed to the Queen who wore it frequently in the 1950s but put it into storage as she narrowed down her favourite tiaras, before passing it to Diana for her wedding to Charles.

While Princess Diana wore the piece regularly, she is said to have found it too heavy and gave her a headache. It was also a loan and not part of her personal property so it is thought to be back in the Queen’s collection.


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