23 July 2016

The Kent Pearl Festoon Tiara

The Kent Pearl Festoon Tiara (Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Today’s tiara comes from the collection of the (arguably) most royal of all the branches of the Windsor family: the Kents. This is the diamond and pearl festoon tiara that once belonged to Princess Marina.

Lots of the Kent tiaras have very clear and established provenance information. Because Prince George, Duke of Kent married a fellow royal — Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark — the couple garnered a pretty serious tiara haul as a part of their wedding gifts. But this tiara doesn’t seem to have been a wedding present, and its history is a bit less certain. It was reportedly made around the turn of the twentieth century, possibly by Cartier. Some sources think that the duke may have purchased the tiara for his wife. Ultimately, we really don't know.

Princess Michael wears the tiara at a Guildhall banquet in 2003 (Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Princess Marina wore the tiara throughout her life, and she also occasionally loaned the tiara to her only daughter, Princess Alexandra. But when Marina died in 1968, the tiara was bequeathed to Marina’s younger son, Prince Michael of Kent. The tiara originally was an all-diamond piece that featured pearls at the tip of each of the elaborate festoon elements, but the Michaels of Kent have apparently removed the bottom row of diamonds and added an extra row of pearls along the base of the tiara. (A very similar alteration has been made to Crown Princess Mary of Denmark’s wedding tiara.)

Princess Michael wears the tiara at a Guildhall banquet in 2011 (Photo: CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

Although she does have other tiaras, including a fringe also inherited from Marina, this tiara is the one that Princess Michael seems to favor for official occasions. She also frequently wears it for portrait photographs. And who can blame her — the tiara is balanced, classic, and appears to be fairly easy to wear. Who wouldn’t want to trot it out on a regular basis?