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British Royals

The tiara given by a queen to a royal bride and now worn by a stylish duchess

Sometimes, when we see a tiara, we might see a few alternate versions of one. Perhaps, this one, the Honeysuckle Tiara is a bit more “colourful” than most when it comes to the styles in which it can be worn. At least, that’s how the Duchess of Gloucester makes it seem when she modifies it for certain occasions. And it’s just become part of a colourful look chosen by the Duchess for a glittering dinner in the City of London during the State Visit by the President of Korea to the UK.

A few years after the accession of King George V and Queen Mary in 1910, this tiara was commissioned from E. Wolff and Co. The original version of the tiara was completed just before World War One. It used diamonds from the Ladies of England Tiara and the Surrey Fringe Tiara which were wedding gifts to Mary in 1893. The original design allows for the central honeysuckle to be interchanged with the Cullinan V Diamond or a sapphire brooch. However, the current rendering of the tiara allows interchanges with a faceted pink topaz and a cabochon emerald.

While it can be worn in many ways, it really wasn’t kept all that long by Queen Mary. In fact, it was offered to her new daughter-in-law, Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott, when she married Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester in 1935. Before it was given away, Queen Mary did get a new diamond piece, which features a honeysuckle design motif, created to fit the tiara’s central space. Soon after the wedding, the Duchess began wearing the tiara including to the Coronation of King George VI in 1937, as well as several galas and portraits.

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By the 1950s, it became a favourite as it was worn at dozens of events. After Queen Mary’s death, the Duchess, Princess Alice, inherited the pink topaz central element although she preferred to wear the original version of the tiara. The tiara would be the one worn on Princess Alice’s final public tiara appearance, the Order of Bath Service in 1982. At the time of her 2004 death, she was the oldest member of the Royal Family.

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It wouldn’t be that long before we saw her daughter-in-law wear it. By the late 70s, the current Duchess of Gloucester was seen wearing the tiara. She wore it for the first time in 1975 for the Swedish State Visit to Britain. By the 90s, she began to wear the topaz and emerald versions and was seen pairing it with Princess Alice’s emerald necklace. In recent years, the tiara has been seen at the American State Banquet in 2019, and the Guildhall Banquet in 2022.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.