Originally made in 1913, this beautiful and ornate headpiece has become the unofficial tiara of the Princess of Wales.
In one of her last major jewel commissions before the First World War, Queen Mary of the United Kingdom instructed the Crown Jeweller Garrard to create a tiara based on a similar design that was popular amongst the nobility of Europe.
The main inspiration for the piece was said to be the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara (which this piece can often be mislabelled as) from the collection of Queen Mary’s grandmother, Princess Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge.
Garrad subcontracted the work to the jeweller E.Wolfe & Co, who were renowned tiara makers, having made the Royal crown for Queen Alexandra’s 1902 Coronation and The Imperial Crown of India for the Delhi Durbar in 1911. The diamonds and pearls to be used were to come from two other headpieces in Queen Mary’s collection, The Ladies of England tiara and the Pearl tops from the Girls of Great Britain’s tiara.
The final result would feature nineteen pearls suspended from diamond set collets attached to diamond set heart shaped motifs known as ‘Lover’s Knots’. It originally featured nineteen correlating pearl tops, but these would later be removed.
As with the majority of her jewels, Queen Mary left the tiara to her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II.
She would wear the piece early in her reign, but it appears to have fallen out of style and wasn’t seen again until the 1980s.
But Queen Mary’s Lovers Knot Tiara became truly iconic though once it began to be worn by Princess Diana. Although it has been said that she preferred her the Spencer Tiara as it was easier to wear, she nether the less wore the Lover’s Knot tiara to many important occasions. After her death in 1997, the tiara returned to the Royal Family.
When she became the Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, Kate Middleton faced many comparisons with her deceased mother in law. Given that she would one day become the Princess of Wales it was assumed that she would wear elements of Diana’s Royal jewellery collection. To everyone’s delight, the Lover’s Knot Tiara has now become a staple of Kate’s Royal wardrobe and will no doubt be highly visible at Royal events for years to come.