Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Pearls for June: the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara

The Duchess of Cambridge in the Cambridge Lover's Knot tiara in December 2015
(photo ITV still)

It's one of the most famous pearl tiaras around and there's a good chance that if Kate and William attend the State Banquet given by the Queen for Felipe and Letizia of Spain in July, we'll get to see it again. The Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara has a long royal history but in recent times it was closely associated with Diana, Princess of Wales. It's now a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge so as Pearls for June continues, here's a look at a tiara we're all very familiar with indeed.

Diana, Princess of Wales wearing  the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara

The tiara was very familiar through the 1980s and 1990s as it was worn regularly by Diana, Princess of Wales - she was given the diadem on her marriage by the Queen and it became a firm favourite with her even though it was so heavy it reportedly gave her headaches. It was worn by Diana in some of her most famous appearances and became an almost iconic part of her royal image.

It gets its name from the shape that some of the diamonds have been set into. The lover's knots run along the top of the tiara, between inverted arches of diamonds. There is also a row of round sparklers at the base of the tiara and more brilliant gems perched on the top - and then we get to the pearls. There are nineteen of them, gathered up from different sources, and suspended from diamond clips from the sparkling lover's knots themselves. It is pretty, traditional and very impressive.

As Duchess of Cambridge it seems appropriate that Kate has worn this piece that bears the city's name and which was inspired by the tiara created for Augusta of Hesse-Kassel when she married Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge in 1818 and began the dynasty that would lead that line to the throne of England.

Augusta's granddaughter became Queen Mary and when she decided she needed a new tiara, as you do, in 1913 she looked for ideas in her family scrap book and commissioned a version of the Lover's Knot tiara worn by Augusta from Garrards. It became known as the Cambridge Lover's Knot and when Queen Mary died she left it to her own granddaughter, the Queen, who has been its custodian ever since.

Queen Mary in the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara

Queen Mary's original was very like granny's with an extra row of pearls on top but in its best known modern version, worn by Diana with such regularity and now by Kate, that has gone and the tiara is all the better for it. The pearls are so stunning they don't really need the competition on top. This is a perfect combination of diamonds and pearls.

There were some who questioned whether it was too soon for Kate to be seen in a tiara so assoicated with Diana when she first wore it to the annual Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace back in December 2015 but by the time it made a repeat appearance at the same event in 2016, Kate's use of this famous tiara was much less talked about. It was generally a popular choice and now seems rather obvious as a diadem for the duchess. Now it's back in royal circulation, we can expect to enjoy many more looks at these pearls.

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