One of the Queen’s most famous tiaras can be worn in multiple settings: with pearls, with emeralds, or with no drops at all. Today, we’ve got a look at the magnificent Vladimir Tiara in its “widowed” setting.
On February 25, 2002, the Queen arrived at Parliament House in New Zealand for a state banquet. For the occasion, she wore a white gown with a beaded lace overlay and gold accessories. She also wore several New Zealand orders, including the star and red sash of the New Zealand Order of Merit, plus the ribbons and badges of two more orders, the Queen’s Service Order and the Order of New Zealand.
For the occasion, the Queen made a rare appearance in the Vladimir Tiara without its original pearl drops or the Cambridge emerald drops. This form of the tiara is called the “widowed” version. The term isn’t a reference to the Queen’s marital status, but rather the fact that the tiara is without its usual drop ornaments. The tiara has been worn in this all-diamond version on occasion since it was made; its first owner, Grand Duchess Vladimir, wore an all-diamond coronet version of the tiara for a portrait session in the late nineteenth century.
Even so, you might notice that the Queen looks more subdued than usual in some of the photographs from this banquet. It took place at a difficult time for her: about two weeks after the death of Princess Margaret, and just about a month before the death of the Queen Mother. The Queen soldiered on with her work schedule, completing this planned trip to New Zealand before heading to Australia for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
With the all-diamond version of the Vladimir Tiara, the Queen wore additional diamond jewels. She paired a classic diamond collet necklace with the ensemble. The necklace appears to be different from Queen Alexandra’s Collet Necklace, which the Queen wore in Canada in 2010. This necklace appears to be slightly longer, with diamonds in more graduated sizes. The Queen owns numerous examples of this sort of necklace, including two that came to her from Queen Alexandra via Queen Mary. This particular one may be the same necklace she wore eight years later during her visit to the United Arab Emirates.
The Queen also wore an impressive pair of diamond stud earrings. Both Queen Victoria and Queen Mary had classic diamond solitaire studs, and I’m not sure which of the two pairs the Queen might be wearing here. My guess would be that they’re Victoria’s earrings, but that’s really just a guess.
The Queen also wore several more jewels that belonged to Queen Mary. She secured her order sash with the Richmond Brooch, the diamond and pearl jewel that Mary received as a wedding gift from the people of Richmond in 1893. On this occasion, she wore the brooch without its pearl drop.
On her right wrist, the Queen wore one of Queen Mary’s Chain-Link Bracelets. Made in the 1930s, these matched bracelets can be linked together and worn as a choker necklace, though the Queen has generally preferred to wear them in bracelet form (and usually only one at a time).
The Queen finished off the look with a diamond evening watch, which has been worn numerous times for gala occasions over the past several decades. She also sported several rings: her diamond engagement ring, her gold wedding ring, and a second diamond ring. I believe it’s the Town of Windsor Ring, which (as the name suggests) was a wedding gift to Queen Mary from the town of Windsor in 1893. She wore the same combination of rings for a dinner during her landmark Irish state visit in 2011.