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State & Ceremonial

Four people are arrested following the theft of the Portland Tiara

Four people have been arrested following the theft of a diamond tiara from the Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire.

The Portland Tiara, part of a jewellery collection at the Welbeck Estate, was worn by the Duchess of Portland to Edward VII’s coronation in 1902.

It was taken along with a diamond brooch on 20 November.

Three men, 46, 38 and 33, and a 30-year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of burglary.

The Portland Tiara, commissioned for a duchess to wear at a glittering and hugely important royal occasion, has been stolen. The diadem, made by Cartier in 1902 ahead of the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, was taken on Tuesday night from the gallery where it is on display.

The tiara’s royal links stretch back over a century. It was commissioned by William Cavendish-Bentinck, 6th Duke of Portland, for his wife, Winifred, ahead of Edward VII’s coronation which was due to take place in June 1902 but had to be put back several weeks after the new king developed appendicitis. The Duchess of Portland served as one of four canopy bearers to Queen Alexandra during the ceremony at Westminster Abbey on August 9th 1902. Along with other peeresses of the realm, she held a golden canopy above Alexandra as she was anointed in a solemn and private moment of the coronation ceremony.

The new tiara that the Duchess of Portland wore for this important role was designed to impress. The diadem contained diamonds belonging to the family arranged in a scroll design and also featured larger diamond drops. The centrepiece of the diadem, which is set in gold and silver, is the Portland diamond which had belonged to the family since the 19th century. The brooch which was taken in the robbery this month is also made entirely of diamonds, stones that once sat on top of the tiara itself.

Winifred, Duchess of Portland, who would go on to become Mistress of the Robes to Queen Alexandra in 1913, wore the tiara frequently. It remained with the family after her death and wasn’t among the pieces sold off in 2010 in a famous auction.

The tiara is still missing and Nottinghamshire Police say enquiries are ongoing.

Additional reporting by Lydia Starbuck