Camilla’s Jewellery: Burmese ruby tiara

One of the newest headpieces in the royal vaults

The Burmese ruby tiara was seen again during the Japanese state visit, worn by Queen Camilla. But what is the history of the tiara, and how did Camilla come to wear the red stoned headpiece?

Design and creation

Commissioned by Elizabeth II in 1973, unlike many of the tiaras in the royal collection, which come from inheritance, the Burmese ruby tiara was a new creation, helping to add in the colour to her collection.

The Queen gives a speech at the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in London on the first day of the President’s State Visit to the UK. (i-Images / Pool)

While there was a tiara featuring rubies in the royal vaults, it had been used by the Queen Mother. Her daughter did not request it back, allowing it to be in her rotation of headpieces.

Made by Garrard, the tiara features five ruby flower centres, with diamond petals, inspired by the Tudor rose as a national symbol; these are separated by spray designs. This sits atop a single row of diamonds for the base.

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The Burmese ruby tiara

The rubies used in the tiara were a wedding gift to the late Elizabeth II from the people of Burma, hence the name; she was given 96 stones, representative of the number of illnesses/diseases the can affect people. Rubies are thought to protect the wearer from such ailments.

To supply the tiara with diamonds, another piece was dismantled: the Nizam of Hyderabad Tiara, part of a wedding gift  from an Indian prince. The tiara was matched with a necklace, and featured detachable roses for use as brooches – which still exist today.

History of Use

The late Queen wore the Burmese ruby tiara with some frequency, particularly in the years following its creation.

She wore it during her Silver Jubilee tour (1977), on a state visit to South Korea, and on a state visit to Slovenia. Her last public appearance wearing the tiara was in 2019.

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Current Status

Following Queen Elizabeth II’s death, the Burmese ruby tiara is now part of the collection of King Charles III.

In 2023, Queen Camilla wore the tiara for the first time at the South Korean State Banquet, and again at this year’s Japanese State Banquet.

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