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Five things to know about the tiara that made headlines

After weeks of speculation, we now know which of the stunning tiaras in the royal collection was Kate’s choice for her first State Banquet. The Duchess of Cambridge chose the Lotus Flower tiara that she was last seen wearing in 2013 for this mahor event of the State Visit by Chinese President, Xi Jinping, and his wife, Peng Liyuan.

The sparkling diadem, worn with an equally sparkling gown, made the front of nearly all the UK newspapers and has got plenty of people talking. Here are five things you need to know about the tiara Kate wore.

1. It has two names

Things got very confusing for the tiara novices as Kate made her State debut as not one but two tiara names appeared. The diadem of diamonds the duchess donned is known as the Lotus Flower but also as the Papryus tiara. Both names come from the appearance of the motifs on the diamond and pearl tiara but it is more usually known as the Lotus Flower.

2. It was a royal hand me down

The Lotus Flower tiara originally belonged to the Queen Mother when she was Duchess of York but the diamonds and pearls came from the jewellery box of her mother-in-law, Queen Mary. The sparkling gems were part of a necklace that was gifted to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon by her new husband, the future George VI, at the time of their marriage. It was converted into a tiara by Garrard.

3. It became a family heirloom

The Duchess of York wore it during the early part of her marriage but it became less of a favourite as the years went by and by the time this Elizabeth unexpectedly became queen consort, in 1936, it was barely seen in public. But it obviously kept a place close to the consort’s heart for in 1959, now the Queen Mother, she gave the tiara to her younger daughter, Princess Margaret, who wore it regularly through the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

4. It starred at a royal wedding

The tiara was used by Princess Margaret’s daughter in law at her wedding in 1993. Serena Stanhope wore the Lotus Flower around a towering bun of blonde hair with her tulle veil pinned at the back. But it wasn’t worn by the Queen Mother at her own wedding in 1923. Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon chose to walk into Westminster Abbey to wed the then Duke of York with just flowers around her veil.

5. It became a royal mystery

The tiara wasn’t seen in public for many years following its use at the Linley wedding and following the death of Princess Margaret in 2002 there was speculation as to its whereabouts. However, in 2013 it was identified as the tiara chosen by Kate for a diplomatic reception at Buckingham Palace.

And now its place as a Cambridge favourite has been cemented as the Duchess chooses it for her State Banquet debut.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.

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