03 December 2014

The Kent City of London Fringe Tiara

Our Magpie of the Month for December is one of my very favorite British royal ladies: Princess Alexandra, the Hon. Lady Ogilvy. Alexandra is the daughter of a British royal duke and a Greek princess, and her style reflects her elegant royal roots. Today, let's marvel a bit at her wedding tiara: the gorgeous diamond fringe that belonged to her mother, Princess Marina.

Marina wearing her mother's diamond fringe tiara

When Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark popped across the channel to marry the Duke of Kent in 1934, the wedding gifts were plentiful — after all, it wasn’t every day that a British prince married an actual, honest-to-goodness princess. One of the sparkliest of those presents was the City of London Fringe Tiara. (Can you guess who was behind the gift? Okay, okay, it was the City of London.)

 Alexandra wearing the City of London Fringe Tiara

Marina didn't actually wear the tiara on her wedding day. She wore a nearly identical diamond fringe tiara, but it seems that it's actually most likely the fringe from her mother's family. Marina's father was a Greek prince, but her mother was a Russian grand duchess, and she brought a fringe kokoshnik tiara with her from her Romanov relatives. The profile of that tiara is slightly different.However, nearly 30 years later, the City of London tiara got the chance to appear at a royal wedding of its own. Marina loaned the tiara to her daughter, Princess Alexandra (pictured above).

Alexandra married Angus Ogilvy, a younger son of the Earl of Airlie, at Westminster Abbey in 1963. Her appearance at the Abbey in the fringe tiara echoed the bridal attire of her first cousin, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1947.

Princess Michael wears the City of London Fringe Tiara

When Marina died, the tiara stayed with the Kents; it was inherited by her younger son, Prince Michael. Today, it’s his wife, Marie-Christine, who wears the sparkler. Although this particular fringe tiara can’t be worn as a necklace, Princess Michael has played about with it a bit anyway, adding a velvet backing and topping it with a diamond necklace to really reinforce the kokoshnik style of the piece.