Royal watchers and jewellery fans alike got quite the surprise at the South Korean State Banquet last month, when we saw the return of a 100-year-old tiara: the Strathmore rose.
The Princess of Wales opted for the floral headpiece, which has sat in the jewellery vaults since the 1930s. But it was once a very popular choice for the Queen Mother during her time as Duchess of York.
The tiara was given to Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon on the occasion of her wedding to Prince Albert, Duke of York in 1923. It came from her parents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne, hence its name. It was purchased from Catchpole & Williams in London and was made, according to jewellery-writer Hugh Roberts, in the late nineteenth century.
Its design sees five graduated diamond roses sit atop a spray of leafs that form the band, also in diamonds (rose cut, appropriately). Roses are also a symbol of love, making the wedding gift highly appropriate.
You can buy a replica of this piece from our store here.
It was a favourite of the Duchess’ throughout the 1920s, where she mainly wore it across the forehead, bandeau style, in the fashion of the day. It can also be worn on top of the head, as The Princess of Wales did. The flowers can be taken from the frame and worn as brooches, or replaced in the headpieces by five collet-set sapphires (sapphires with a border of stones, similar to Catherine’s own engagement ring or Prince Albert’s sapphire brooch).
Elizabeth retired it before becoming Queen in 1936 and it took its place in the royal vaults. However, it did appear in public at the V&A in 2002 as part of an exhibition. This was also the same year as the Queen Mother’s death.
And last month, it was worn in public for the first time in nearly 100 years by The Princess of Wales!