Along with my fellow Americans, I’m celebrating Independence Day this weekend. What better time, I thought, to survey the tiaras worn by one of the most famous American royals: Princess Grace of Monaco, who was Grace Kelly of Philadelphia before her marriage. Enjoy some classic midcentury sparkle in this tiara-filled post!
One of Grace’s most-worn personal tiaras was this delicate diamond festoon. The tiara features more than 200 diamonds in a platinum setting. Above, Grace wears the tiara for the Bal de Petit Lits Blancs in Monaco in July 1966.
Grace also wore a second diamond festoon-style tiara. She wore the tiara for several early portrait sittings. In July 1965 (pictured above), she wore it for the Bal de Petits Lits Blancs at Powerscourt in Ireland.
Among Grace’s wedding gifts was the Bains de Mer Tiara, a ruby and diamond sparkler that could be converted for wear as a necklace or a series of clip-style brooches. Grace wore the tiara (with her diamond festoon necklace) for a private audience with Pope Pius XII at the Vatican in April 1957.
Grace borrowed jewelry often during her marriage, including tiaras. This elaborate diamond tiara was loaned to Grace by Van Cleef & Arpels for the Century Ball, celebrating Monte-Carlo’s 100th anniversary, in May 1966. For years, VC&A tried to argue that the tiara had once belonged to Empress Josephine. The firm parted with the tiara after a French jewelry historian questioned that provenance.
Princess Grace also wore a diamond and ruby tiara from Van Cleef & Arpels, plus additional coordinating jewels, for a gala event to raise money for the renovation of the Palace of Versailles in November 1973.
Grace was inventive in her use of hairpieces and hair ornaments throughout her 25-year tenure as Princess of Monaco, often using various pieces of jewelry, including brooches, necklaces, and headbands, as makeshift tiaras for gala occasions. Above, you’ll see an example of her doing just that for a night at the opera in Monte Carlo in July 1972. (And yes, that’s Princess Anne on the left!)