On this date in 1953, Queen Mary of the United Kingdom passed away at Marlborough House in London. She had lived through a remarkable six royal reigns—Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, King George V, King Edward VIII, King George VI, and Queen Elizabeth II—and significantly helped to shape the modern monarchy. She also left behind a major collection of royal jewels, most of which ended up with her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II. Today, we’re looking at five tiaras worn by the Queen that come from Queen Mary’s collection.
One of the most classic and beautiful tiaras in the British collection, Queen Mary received this one as a wedding present in 1893. And although it is an all-diamond tiara today, it was originally topped by fourteen large pearls. Mary later had those pearls replaced with diamonds, and she used the pearls on her new Lover’s Knot Tiara. Mary gave the Girls of Great Britain & Ireland Tiara to her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II, as a wedding present in 1947, and it’s still one of the Queen’s most-worn tiaras today.
Made in 1919 using gold, silver, and diamonds recycled from a tiara she received from Queen Victoria—and wore for her wedding in 1893—Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara is a classic and elegant example of the fringe design. In 1936, Mary gave it to her daughter-in-law, Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother), who then lent it to two famous royal brides: her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, and her granddaughter, Princess Anne. The present Queen inherited the tiara in 2002. In the summer of 2020, the Queen loaned the tiara to her granddaughter, Princess Beatrice, to wear at her wedding as well.
Queen Mary commissioned this tiara in 1913 to mimic the design of a sparkler that belonged to her grandmother, Princess Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge. The new lover’s knot tiara recycled pearls that had once been atop the Girls of Great Britain & Ireland Tiara, as well as other pearls from Mary’s collection. The tiara once also had upright pearls fixed atop the piece, but those have since been permanently removed. The Queen inherited the tiara from her grandmother in 1953, but later it became primarily associated with another wearer: Diana, Princess of Wales. Today, it’s worn by Diana’s daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge.
This diamond tiara of interlocking circles and pearl pendants was made in the 1870s for Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, wife of Grand Duke Vladimir and sister-in-law of Tsar Alexander III of Russia. After the revolution, Grand Duchess Vladimir’s daughter sold the tiara to Queen Mary, who had it adapted to take either the original pearl drops or a set of drops from the Cambridge emerald collection. Queen Elizabeth II inherited the piece in 1953, and she still wears it regularly today.
Given as a silver wedding present to Queen Alexandra in 1888 by a committee of aristocratic ladies, the tiara was made to mimic the Russian kokoshnik tiaras popular at the court of Alexandra’s sister, Empress Marie Feodorovna. Alexandra wore the tiara at Queen Mary’s wedding, and then bequeathed it to her in 1925. Queen Mary left the tiara to her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1953. The Queen still owns and wears the tiara today.