Queen wore Oriental Circlet Tiara once – but Queen Mother loved it

Oriental Circlet tiara: Expert discusses the historic jewels

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Queen Elizabeth II was pictured wearing a tiara on countless occasions throughout her life, but she only opted for the Oriental Circlet Tiara once. Once owned by Queen Victoria, the Oriental Circlet Tiara is adorned with dazzling rubies and it was beloved by Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.

The Oriental Circlet Tiara was created under the direction of Queen Victoria’s beloved consort, Prince Albert.

The Royal Collection Trust explained: “Prince Albert took a leading role in the design of the Queen’s jewellery and the oriental inspiration of this tiara, originally set with opals – the Prince’s favourite stones – may have been influenced by the Queen’s acquisition of the Lahore jewels in 1850 to 51.”

Despite its royal provenance, it has had few public outings in recent decades.

Jeremy Hinds, Sales Director of jewellery experts F. Hinds, said: “Queen Victoria had little use for elaborate tiaras such as this one, and neither did her daughter-in-law Queen Alexandra or her tiara-loving successor Queen Mary.

“However, it became one of the Queen Mother’s most worn pieces during her husband’s reign, being worn for many royal tours and even as the Royal Family waved to the crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on VE Day and VJ Day.

“Despite becoming an heirloom of the crown, upon Queen Elizabeth II’s crowning, the Queen Mother continued to wear the Oriental Circlet on many occasions up until she died in 2002.

“Queen Elizabeth II finally wore the tiara for the first and last time during a 2005 banquet in Malta.”

The Oriental Circlet Tiara has undergone significant changes since it was first made in the 19th Century.

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Mr Hinds explained: “It was created in 1853 by Garrard for Queen Victoria. Designed by her husband Prince Albert, it was inspired by the Indian jewels presented to Queen Victoria by the East India Company at The Great Exhibition.

“Queen Victoria had to make amends to the tiara after some of the jewels were claimed by her cousin, the King of Hanover in 1858.

“Queen Victoria reused a number of existing jewels from the royal collection and had to buy new diamonds to replace those taken from the Oriental Circlet Tiara.”

Perhaps one of the most famous tiaras the Queen turned to time and again was the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara.

This diadem made frequent appearances on the Queen’s coinage and banknotes portraits in the UK and across the Commonwealth.

The Queen also loved the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara, a hooped style that could be worn with emerald pendants, pearl drops or ‘widowed’ with no additional gems.

Two other royal diadems associated with the Queen were both inspired by the distinctive spiked tiaras of the Russian court.

Queen Alexandra’s Kokoshnik Tiara is an elegant diadem originally gifted to Queen Alexandra as a 25th wedding anniversary present in 1888.

And Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara was famously the tiara then Princess Elizabeth wore to marry the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947.

The stunning piece was subsequently worn by the Queen’s daughter Princess Anne at her 1973 wedding, and again by Princess Beatrice at her nuptials in 2020.

Following the Queen’s death, it is not clear which royal diadems Queen Consort Camilla and Kate, Princess of Wales will wear while representing King Charles at official functions.

Camilla has long been a fan of the Greville Tiara and the Delhi Durbar Tiara, while Kate adores the Lover’s Knot Tiara that Princess Diana made famous as a member of the Royal Family.

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