Meghan Markle wanted to wear an Emerald Tiara for her Wedding but she was told that the one she wanted was not available as it had ‘unknown Russian origins’.
Regardless of your opinion of Harry & Meghan, this story is completely false
There are several sides to this story and all can be deconstructed and explained.
There are no items in the Royal Collection that have ‘Unknown Russian Origins’
The Royal Collection of the British Royal Family is the largest private art collection in the world. It is made up of over one million objects, including 7,000 paintings, over 150,000 works on paper, this including 30,000 watercolours and drawings, and about 450,000 photographs, as well as around 700,000 works of art, including tapestries, furniture, ceramics, textiles, carriages, weapons, armour, jewellery, clocks, musical instruments, tableware, plants, manuscripts, books, and sculptures.
It is meticulously catalogued and all information is publicly available
‘Unknown Russian origins’ was picked up and used to infer that Meghan had wanted to wear the Grand Duchess Vladimir’s Tiara with the Cambridge Emerald drops.
The Grand Duchess Vladimir’s tiara has very clear and documented origins. It was made for Maria Pavlovna, The Grand Duchess Vladimir in 1874 and purchased by Queen Mary from Princess Nicolas of Greece (Maria’s daughter) in 1927.
There is an Insurance valuation from Cartier and a note in the Royal Accounts stating how much was paid for it.
The Emerald pendants seen in this tiara did not originate in Russia either. After she bought the tiara, Queen Mary converted the frame to accommodate not only the original Pearl drops but Emeralds that had belonged to her own family (The Cambridge Emeralds).
Mary regularly bought pieces from the exiled Russian Royals after the Revolution in 1917, such as Tsarina’s Maria Feodorovna and Grand Duchess Xenia.
It has been suggested that Queen Mary may not have paid the true market value for the pieces given her ‘enthusiasm’ for collecting but the Royal Family did pay allowances to the Romanovs and ensured that they had a comfortable (if not grand) life in exile.
Perhaps Meghan saw this tiara and asked to wear it for the wedding, unaware that she would be given a selection and could not just choose any tiara she pleased.
But again, why bring Unknown Russian Origins in to it? A clear indication that this part of the story is false.
The Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara
It is worth noting that this story only came about after Princess Eugenie’s wedding where she wore the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara.
Speculators assumed this had been the Emerald tiara that Meghan had coveted. But once again, it’s origins are well documented and can be easily traced.
The word Kokoshnik is a Russian word meaning ‘Cock’s Crown’. It is used to describe a traditional Russian peasant headdress.
During the period of Russification in the 19th century, the Russian nobility began to wear Kokoshnik style tiaras but in true Romanov style, they covered theirs in precious jewels. As the Grand Duchesses began to marry into the European Royal houses, this style became the height of fashion and was adopted by the other courts.
One such admirer was Mrs. Margaret Greville. A prominent society hostess in the 1930s, she became friends with Queen Elizabeth, the future Queen Mother. In an effort to leave a lasting legacy for the royal collection, she left some of her most exquisite gems to her friend when she passed away in 1942.
Amongst the ‘Greville Bequest’ was a Boucheron Emerald and Diamond Tiara.
Made by the French jeweller Boucheron in Paris between 1919 – 1921, the Kokoshnik features a 93.70 Carat Cabochon Cut Emerald with 6 Step Cut Emeralds interspersed around the diamond Art Deco style band.
So the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara is ‘Russian Style’ but does not have ‘Russian Origins’
Princess Eugenie had already picked the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara for her Wedding because it is considered in the ‘1st Class of Tiaras’
Another confusing detail added to this story was that Meghan wanted the Greville Kokoshnik but it had already been promised to Eugenie and as a Royal Princess, Eugenie would’ve had access to the ‘1st Class tiara’s’ where as Meghan would only be allowed to use a tiara from the ‘3rd Class’.
In his memoir ‘Spare’, Prince Harry wrote that Meghan was presented with a selection of five tiaras by Queen Elizabeth II to choose from.
It seems very odd to show someone something that they cannot have?
And while certain tiaras are worn exclusively by certain senior members of the family, there is no class system when it comes to tiaras.
And if the Greville tiara was such a 1st Class tiara then why was it not worn between 1943 and 2018? The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal Family have worn numerous pieces from the Greville Bequest over the years so why not this Tiara?
It can therefore be concluded that this story was invented by the media, intended to increase views and clicks but has no basis in truth.