04 February 2017

The Cubitt Tiara

The Cubitt Tiara (CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

Since marrying into the British royal family in 2005, the Duchess of Cornwall has had a number of magnificent tiaras at her disposal, including the Greville Tiara and the tiara from the Delhi Durbar parure. Even so, Camilla still sometimes reaches for another sparkler: the tiara she inherited from her own family.




Alice Keppel, great-grandmother of the Duchess of Cornwall (Ellis Roberts/Getty Images)

The Cubitt Tiara (sometimes called the Cubitt-Shand Tiara) belonged to Camilla's grandmother, Sonia Keppel, who has her own set of links to the Windsors. Sonia's mother was Alice Keppel, who is best known to history as the last mistress of King Edward VII. Sonia was married to the Hon. Roland Cubitt -- hence the name of this diamond floral tiara -- and had three children before divorcing. (Interestingly, Roland and Sonia's divorce was finalized on July 4, 1947, only days before the birth of their first grandchild: Camilla.)



Sonia lent her diamond tiara to Camilla for her 1973 wedding to Andrew Parker Bowles. You can see the tiara's distinctively tall center section above Camilla's hairstyle in pictures from the day.


Laura Parker-Bowles wears the tiara at her 2006 wedding to Harry Lopes
(Chris Jackson/Getty Images
)

When Sonia died in 1986, the tiara was inherited by Camilla's mother, Rosalind. She married Major Bruce Shand, a WWII hero, in 1946. Rosalind chose to wear flowers instead of a tiara at her wedding. In fact, I haven't seen any photographs of Rosalind Shand wearing the tiara. In 2006, though, Camilla's daughter, Laura, extended the bridal tiara tradition to another generation.


The Duchess of Cornwall wears the tiara at the Royal Academy of the Arts in 2015
(Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images
)

Rosalind died in 1994, and she left the tiara to Camilla, who is the elder of her two daughters. After Camilla married Prince Charles in 2005, she wore the tiara to the annual diplomatic reception at Buckingham Palace. She wore the tiara again for the same event in 2014. We also got a good look at the tiara at a dinner at the Royal Academy of the Arts in June 2015.


The Duchess of Cornwall wears the tiara at the Royal Academy of the Arts in 2015
(Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images
)

I can understand why Camilla has become so partial to the grand Greville Tiara over the past decade, but I also get why she'd want to pop on this smaller sparkler occasionally -- it's a bit easier to balance, I'd imagine!

Note: This is an updated version of an earlier post, with new text and images.