Some of the most extraordinary art creations are the famous Crowns and Tiaras worn by royals over centuries. A symbol of status and power, the crown is a great part of history.
It takes great skill, impeccable taste, good stone sourcing and of course a Royal title in order to have one of these created.
Behind the lavish diamonds, emeralds, pearls and other stones used, there are stories of love and mystery that paved the way for these jewels existence.
The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara
In 1893 this Tiara was offered as a gift to Queen Mary by the girls of Great Britain and Ireland from where its name stems from. Led by Eva Greville the committee of women gathered the money and purchased it from Garrard in June 1893. The original tiara was topped with 14 pearls but in 1914 Queen Mary asked Garrard to swap the pearls for 13 brilliant diamonds. The pearls where incorporated in the Lover's Knot Tiara, which we will look into below. The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara is often worn by Queen Elizabeth II as one of her favorites. She received it in 1947 as a wedding gift from her grandmother (Queen Mary) and so it is often referred to as Granny's Tiara. But what most people do not know is the underlying story this tiara has to it?
Back in the 1890's Priness Mary of Teck was destined to marry the future King, Prince Albert Victor Duke of Clarance and Avondale. Unfortunately the prince died from influenza a few months into the engagement. That left Princess Mary with no husband and the thrown open for Prince Albert's younger brother, Prince George, Duke of York. The Duke was in love with one of his cousins who neglected him for the Prince of Romania. Thus Prince George became King and on his side as his wife and Queen chose Princess Mary, as his brother would have done. In July 6, 1893 they got married and Queen Mary received her tiara.
As seen today
Pearl Edition worn by Queen Mary
Diamond version worn by Queen Elizabeth II
The Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara
This may catch you by surprise but there are actually two such tiara's. The original one dates back to the early 1800's where King George III son's where searching for their wives. The King's seventh son marries Princess Augusta of Hesse - Kassel, a German royal. Among the gifts she receives on her wedding day is the original Lover's Knot Tiara. However, this tiara is not the one that has captured all the fame. The story goes that the tiara goes down the family line and ends up being sold when Jutta, the final royal to posses it, is sent to exile when the Kingdom seizes to exist. Jutta passed away in 1946 and the tiara was seen again in 1981 where it was bought at Christies by a private collector.
This tiara however gave rise to the highly famous and much loved Lover's Knot tiara that runs in the British Royal Family. Queen Mary, as mentioned above used the pearls from the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara to create the Lover's Knot Tiara. This piece is adorned by Queen Elizabeth II, who has worn it to several occasions. It was loaned to Princess Diana on her wedding day and the Princess wore it frequently after that, even though she found it heavy on her head. When Princess Diana and Prince Charles split up the tiara was returned to Queen Elizabeth II where it was stored away in the royal vault until 2015 where it showed up being worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.
Lover's Knot Tiara as worn by Queens and Princesses.
Saint Edwards Crown
You might not know which crown this is by its name but believe me you can identify it when you see it. It is the most famous crown around the world and dates back to the 13th century. Just like the Lover's Knot Tiara, Saint Edwards Crown is the second of its own. The original crown was destroyed and melted by the parliamentarians during the abolition of the monarchy and the execution of Charles I.
In 1661 however, Charles II commissioned Sir Robert Viner to create the new crown which still exists today. Rumor has it that that Viner is not the true creator and that the mastery is attributed to an unknown person. What is not a rumor is that the gold used for the new crown was the melted gold used in the original crown. Making the two crowns one and the same.
The crowns cost was approximately 13000 pounds which amounted at the time to 3 warships and relates to 1.3 million pounds today. It has been used in coronations of British monarchs and after 1689 had not been used for 200 years. The crown was seen to be worn again by Queen Elizabeth II. Only 5 other monarchs had ever worn the crown apart from Queen Elizabeth.
Saint Edwards Crown
Queen Victorias Emerald Tiara
An uncommon practice, a power struggle, an endless creation a true love story. Queen Victoria's Emerald Tiara is more than just a stunning emerald and diamond creation.
"A lovely diadem of diamonds and emeralds, designed by my beloved Albert". That's what Queen Victoria wrote in her journal as she received her tiara as a wedding gift by her husband in 1845. Prince Albert was a master of the arts and during his life designed numerous things, ranging from fine jewelry to a whole palace.
The story begins when the two were still very young as the couple's history goes way back being that they were first cousins in the first place. Indeed, both always fond of one another but separated for years it seemed like they had lost hope in love. "I dreaded the thought of marrying" wrote Queen Victoria in her journal. That was before she came upon prince Albert once again, when the couple got engaged and married. "I obtained the height of my desire" said the Prince as he was madly in love with the Queen since forever.
Together with the Emerald Tiara Prince Albert commissioned jeweler Joseph Kitching to create a brooch, a necklace and a pair of earrings as a gift for his beloved wife.
Set of Jewels designed by Prince Albert
The couple ruled over the Kingdom and had many children. Until suddenly the Prince died at a young age. Queen Victoria continued to reign over the Kingdom with utmost success but was never able to surpass the death of her husband. She wore black throughout her life and slept with Prince Alberts photo by her bed for the next 40 year.
Queen Victorias Emerlad Tiara
Queen Victoria Wearing the Tiara
Far beyond the majestic jewels, their unimaginable worth, the exquisit and rare stones used to create them and their status of power, lie the people who wore them and the actions they took. These royal heads have shaped the lives of millions and the history of the world. Today the crowns still exist but the heads who wear them do not rule as before. Nonetheless, they still remain a symbol of great power.
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