lunedì 8 luglio 2013

Bridal Tiaras in the British Royal Family, Part II

After taking a look last week at bridal tiaras of days gone by, let's start off today with something a little closer to us in time, and a piece most of you will warmly remember for the sense of momentous historic occasion associated to it: the Spencer family tiara, as worn by Lady Diana on her wedding day, 29 July 1981.

The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor has a lot of background information on this piece which, in its present form, dates back to circa 1935.

Princess Diana never owned the tiara, which was in fact her family's property: she borrowed it when needed first from her father, then from her brother. This, and the fact that the Princess wore the tiara quite often, sometimes preferring it to the other piece she had available, on loan from the Queen, the Cambridge Lovers Knot tiara, because it was somewhat lighter and less encumbrant to wear, was reportedly the source of some family tensions.
In fact, the Princess was seen many times during the years of her marriage wearing the tiara, sometimes on State occasions or other important official functions.

Nowadays, due to the Princess' unweavering popularity, the tiara is widely replicated, so that every bride can look the part on her own special day (or on an any ordinary day, really, as even sterling silver rings in the shape of Princess Diana's tiara are now available!).

Five years later, on 23 July 1986, it was Sarah Ferguson's turn to marry into the Royal family, when she wed Prince Andrew.

Her choice of headwear was extremely original, as she chose to wear a floral garland on top of her veil, which she removed after she had signed the wedding register to reveal a rather splendid diamond diadem, which had been bought especially for her by the Queen from Garrard & Co.

The Duchess wore her tiara at a number of State functions in later years.

Then it was quite a long time before we got to see any other new bridal tiaras, and that was at Prince Edward's wedding to Sophie Rhys-Jones thirteen years later, on 19 June 1999. The new Countess of Wessex wore a piece which had been remodeled for her using jewels from the Queen's private collection.

Well, I have to say I'm not a particularly huge fan of the Wessex wedding tiara...It really still looks like four separate pieces haphazardly thrown together, and it does look as though it's perched precariously on her head and probably fixed in place with kirby grips (agh!). And do I even mention the dreadful black-and-white pearl parure designed by Prince Edward as a wedding present? Thought not. I just hope we won't have the misfortune of seeing the necklace in public ever again!

The tiara has grown on me a bit over the years, though, as it's probably the piece the Countess wears more often among the tiaras in her possession, so we get to see it out a lot. It's not that bad, but it's definitely not my favourite either!


I'll see you on Wednesday with a look at the most recent royal weddings!

 To be continued...

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