Tiara from the Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration exhibition
Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration

Queen Mary's Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara

E. Wolff & Co.1 for R. & S. Garrard & Co., 1893
Diamonds, silver, gold
7 × 21 cm

This tiara was a present to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck from the ‘Girls of Great Britain and Ireland’ on the occasion of her marriage to the Duke of York, later King George V, in May 1893. It was supplied by R. & S. Garrard & Co. and purchased with money raised by a committee chaired by Lady Eva Greville.

The tiara is of scrolled and pierced foliate form, with the diamonds pavé-set in silver and gold. The original entry in Garrard’s Royal Ledger shows that it was originally surmounted by 14 large oriental pearls. The tiara could also be worn as a necklace or even, when dismantled and mounted on a smaller frame, as a coronet.

In 1914, Queen Mary adapted the tiara to take 13 brilliant-cut diamonds in place of the pearls. Probably around the same time, the lozenge-pattern bandeau from the base was removed, enabling it to be worn separately as a headband, to suit the fashion of the time. For Princess Elizabeth’s wedding in November 1947, Queen Mary gave her granddaughter the tiara and the bandeau, which were reunited in 1969.

Over the years this tiara has become one of the most familiar of Her Majesty’s tiaras through its appearance on banknotes and coinage.