Tomorrow, the Princess Royal celebrates her 73rd birthday. In her honor, we’ve got a look today at her very first tiara appearance, which took place more than half a century ago.
The Prince of Wales and his younger sister, Princess Anne, made their first appearances at the State Opening of Parliament in London on October 31, 1967. Charles was a few weeks shy of his 19th birthday, and Anne was 17.
The prince and princess were seated on either side of their parents, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, during the ceremony.
Wearing a white silk gown with a band of gold embroidery at the neckline, Anne listened to her mother’s speech from the throne. The Queen’s ladies-in-waiting stood behind the young princess.
The formal event marked the very first time that Princess Anne appeared in a tiara in public. Indeed, it was the only piece of jewelry she wore that day, so it was firmly in the spotlight.
The tiara she wore, the Cartier Halo, was loaned to her by her mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Made by Cartier in the summer of 1936, the diamond and platinum jewel features a distinctive Art Deco scroll pattern in its design.
Prince Albert, Duke of York acquired the tiara for his duchess, Elizabeth, in November 1936. Just a few weeks later, they suddenly became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII. She wore the small tiara occasionally in the early years of their reign, and then in April 1944, she gave it to their elder daughter, Princess Elizabeth, as an 18th-birthday present.
Elizabeth, who became Queen Elizabeth II in 1952, was (to my knowledge) never photographed wearing the tiara. Instead, she often loaned it to her younger sister, Princess Margaret, and then later on to her daughter, Princess Anne.
She also famously loaned it to her granddaughter-in-law, Kate Middleton, for her wedding to Prince William in April 2011.
Here’s one more look at Anne wearing the tiara for the first time at the 1967 State Opening of Parliament.
Anne’s tiara was just one of a whole bunch of fabulous royal jewels on display at the State Opening in October 1967. Here’s a little glimpse of the scene in color.
Several other ladies of the royal family were in attendance wearing tiaras as well. Princess Margaret wore the Lotus Flower Tiara, while Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester selected the Teck Turquoise Tiara. Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent (who passed away less than a year later) donned her Russian Pearl Bandeau, and her daughter, Princess Alexandra, wore the Ogilvy Tiara.
The Queen’s three ladies-in-waiting, standing here behind Princess Anne, were the Countess of Euston, the Countess of Cromer, and Lady Abel Smith.
The Countess of Euston, who became Duchess of Grafton in 1970, was Mistress of the Robes in 1967. Her diamond and pearl tiara, worn often for big royal occasions, was a loan from a member of her husband’s family.
Esmé, the Countess of Cromer, wore a petite diamond tiara in her hair as well.
And Henriette Abel Smith also sparkled in an eye-catching diamond tiara for the occasion. Henriette, who had been widowed by her first husband, Sir Anthony Palmer, married Sir Alexander Abel Smith (who was also a widower) in 1953. Alexander’s elder brother, Sir Henry Abel Smith, had married into the extended royal family in 1931. His wife, Lady May Cambridge, was the daughter of Queen Mary’s brother, the Earl of Athlone, and Princess Alice of Albany (later known as Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone).