Out of the almost 200 posts I've made on this blog, my article Jewels fit for a Queen is the most popular. In fact, anything on royal jewellery, particularly tiaras, seems to be a popular subject. Not a day goes by where someone doesn't find my site by searching for those terms.
Although worn by several Spencer women, this tiara is most associated with Diana, Princess of Wales. Worn most famously at her wedding in 1981 as her something borrowed. She also wore it all through her official life as a member of the royal family, for state banquets, openings of Parliament, and diplomatic receptions. Diana regarded this tiara as her 'spare', the other being the Lover's Knot Tiara, which she received as a wedding gift from the Queen.. Throughout the later part of her married life, she wore the Spencer tiara more often, taking pride in her Spencer heritage, and also because it wasn't as heavy as the Lover's Knot tiara.
Mounted in gold in the form of scrolling tulips and star shaped flowers, it is decorated with diamonds in silver settings. It has been reported that this tiara is a family heirloom from the eighteenth century, but this is a misconception. Instead, it is a composite of several elements. Of the entire tiara, only two elements at the end are old, and are said to have come from a tiara owned by Frances, Viscountess Montagu and left to Lady Sarah Spencer in 1875. The tiara is thought to have been made in 1767, but the style suggests the 1830s. The central element was a wedding gift from Lady Sarah Spencer to Cynthia, Viscountess Althorp (Diana's grandmother) in 1919. In the 20th century, it was remounted and four other elements were made to match it.
Along with Diana, some of the other brides to wear it on their wedding day include Diana's sister Lady Jane Fellowes in 1978, and Victoria Lockwood, the first wife of her brother Charles Spencer, in 1989.
© Marilyn Braun 2007
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