Saturday, May 19, 2018

A Tiara For Miss Markle Part II: The Duchess of Sussex

Well the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has come and gone and the young couple are now styled as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.  I have to say my guess as to what tiara she would don for the big day was way off, but I was not alone as the tiara selected had not been seen publicly in nearly seventy years.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex wearing Queen Mary's Bandeau Tiara     Image via Daily Star
I present Queen Mary's Diamond Bandeau Tiara (formerly known to royal watchers as the filigree tiara).
Queen Mary's Diamond Bandeau Tiara     Image via The International Order of Sartorial Splendor
The tiara was loaned by the Queen and is a high art deco stunner.  It was commissioned by Queen Mary in 1932 and is centered by a Victorian diamond rose brooch that Queen Mary received as a wedding gift from the County of Lincoln in 1893.  The tiara is divided into eleven flexible sections with an overall geometric pattern of interlacing arcs.
Queen Mary wearing the bandeau to a film premier in 1949     Image via Historic Images
The tiara was seen publicly at a few events up through the late 1940s and then it passed to Queen Elizabeth II upon Queen Mary's death in 1953 and disappeared from view.  While it has been stated that the tiara was designed to accommodate the the County of Lincoln brooch, you can see from the period images Queen Mary was wearing it with a different central stone.  Queen Mary loved versatility with her jewels and often had pieces that could be worn a number of ways and with different configurations of stones.
Queen Mary wearing the bandeau     Image via Royal Jewels of the World
When a royal jewel such as this falls out of use there is the worry/assumption that it may have been dismantled for the creation of another piece.  It is for this reason none of the most skilled royal watchers had this tiara in the running on their prediction lists.  

The use of a sleek and modern tiara seems to be a growing trend among royal brides which is fitting given the simplified clean lines preferred by contemporary brides.  It is a far cry from the romantic, historicist and opulent trends preferred in fashion and the decorative arts of the go-go 1980s and 90s.  The Duchess of Cambridge borrowed the Queen Mother's Cartier Halo art deco tiara for her nuptials to Prince William in 2011 with great effect.
The Duchess of Cambridge on her wedding day and the "Halo" at right    Image via MamaMia
Similarly, Princess Anne's daughter, Zara Phillips wore the starkly modern Meander Tiara for her 2011 wedding to Mike Tindall.  
Zara Phillips on her wedding day in 2011      Image via Pinterest
While technically not art deco this Edwardian neoclassical bandeau has a chic austerity and a low profile perfect for a contemporary bride.
The Meander Tiara seen from left with: Princess Anne, Zara Phillips and Princess Andrew of Greece     Image via SociImage
The Meader Tiara dates to the turn of the century and belonged to Princess Andrew of Greece, Prince Phillips mother and was given to Queen Elizabeth II as a wedding present.  In turn, it was given to Princess Anne in 1972 in whose possession it remains.

There you have it.  A few questions remain.  Is it a lifetime loan?  Will the Duchess of Sussex have access to other pieces as needed?  Only time till tell.
The Duchess of Sussex on her wedding day    Image via the Telegraph     
Until next time--AR

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