Friday, July 29, 2011

Zara Phillips: Another Tale of Tiaras

I do apologize for my month long absence. I was under the mistaken conclusion that my schedule would miraculously clear once the auction season drew to a close but alas I have been busier than ever....neglecting you kind readers. I am currently on the road but had to stop to post about Zara Phillips' wedding that is taking place tomorrow! Miss Phillips is Queen Elizabeth II's eldest granddaughter and the only daughter of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips. Zara's impending nuptials have been referred to as "the other Royal wedding" after the global phenomenon that was William and Catherine's ceremony on April 29th. I would expect that Zara's wedding to rugby player Mark Tindall should be a low-key affair. Princess Anne's desire for privacy was definitely passed on to her similarly athletic daughter. Mark Phillips never accepted a title from the Queen and it is reported that Princess Anne refused honorary titles for for her children so they could have a more normal life away from public scrutiny. Thus Zara and her brother Peter are the Queen's only grandchildren without titles. This apparent informality is most evidenced by the happy couple's engagement photo.
With this level of comfort one wonders if the sporty Zara will opt for a tiara at all. I for one hope she does. She will likely not have as many options open to her as Kate but below find my short list of the strong contenders:
1. Princess Anne's Festoon Tiara

This could very well be the likely bet as is a romantic and low profile belle epoch stunner. The tiara is the personal property of Princess Anne so the loan would be quite simple. It was presented to Princess Anne by the World Wide Shipping Group in 1973, the year of her marriage. My only caveat would be that Princess Anne already loaned the festoon to her son Peter's bride, Autumn Kelly, on the event of their marriage in May of 2008. Since that was in the fairly recent past and was highly publicized I do hope she opts for another piece....but I digress.
2. Princess Andrew of Greece's Meander Tiara

This classically inspired bandeau tiara is also the personal property of Princess Anne making Zara's access as easy as the festoon. The overall look is a bit severe but Anne has carried it off successfully throughout the years. The tiara was a wedding present from Prince Phillip's mother, Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark, to the future Queen Elizabeth II. And while the Greek key and palmette motifs are a distinct nod to Prince Phillip's Hellenic line, the Queen never wore it publicly. It was subsequently given to Princess Anne in 1972, a year prior to her engagement and subsequent marriage. Other royal watcher's feel that this would be a great choice, steeped in family history but I am not so convinced due to its stark geometry. It may however be the default since the festoon was so recently trotted out at a royal wedding.

3. Fringe Tiara

Historically this would be a strong choice. It was created in 1919 using diamonds that had been part of a tiara/necklace given by Queen Victoria to Queen Mary on the occasion of her marriage in 1893. Queen Mary gave it to the Queen Mother when she ascended the throne in 1937. The Queen Mother lent it to both her daughter Princess Elizabeth and granddaughter Princess Anne on their respective wedding days. It may be a bit severe in design but it is definitely no stranger to a royal wedding. For me, it would be very fitting Zara to wear her mother's and grandmother's wedding tiara but as you can tell I have a flair for nostalgia. This would however require a loan from the Queen which shouldn't be out of the question as she most recently loaned Catherine the Cartier Halo Tiara for her wedding to Prince William.

Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Anne wearing the Fringe on their respective wedding days.

As the big day is tomorrow we have precious little time to make broader guesses. If you wish to torture yourself you can always refer to Catherine's tiara list that I obsessed over for countless months. The couple is wedding at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh but the event will not be televised so we will have to wait for the stills to hit the internet. I wait with baited breath!

Well the big event has come and gone and as I suspected Zara wore option 2, the Meander tiara. While it is a bit stiff she wore it well and the overall look was beautiful.