The Jewels of the Princess of Wales – Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara

Originally made in 1913, this tiara has become the unofficial tiara for the Princess of Wales.

Princess of Wales Jewels - Queen Mary's Lover's Knot Tiara
Princess of Wales Jewels – Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara

In one of her last major jewel commissions before the First World War, Queen Mary of the United Kingdom commissioned the Crown Jeweller Garrard to create a tiara based on a similar design that was popular amongst the nobility of Europe.

Queen Mary's Lover's Knot Tiara - Princess Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge.

The main inspiration for the piece was said to be the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara (which is often mislabeled as such) 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.

Queen Mary's Lover's Knot Tiara - E. Wolfe & Co Drawing
Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara – E. Wolfe & Co Drawing

The tiara features nineteen pearls suspended from diamond-set collets attached to diamond-set heart-shaped motifs known as ‘Lover’s Knots’. With a row of diamonds at the base, the tiara originally featured nineteen correlating pearl tops, but these would later be removed.

As with the majority of her jewels, Queen Mary left it to her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth. The Queen did wear the tiara early in her reign, but it appears to have fallen out of style and wasn’t seen again until the 1980s.

The 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.