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British Royals

The tiara that came back to the future in 2023

A tiara that began as a wedding present from devoted parents to a daughter about to marry a king’s son has made a surprise appearance after almost nine decades tucked away in the royal vaults.

The Princess of Wales chose the Strathmore Rose tiara for the State Banquet given in honour of the President of South Korea at Buckingham Palace at the end of the first day of his State Visit to the United Kingdom.

It’s the first time that the tiara has been used publicly since the 1930s when it was a favourite of one of the most popular members of the Royal Family.

Stephen Lock/ i-Images

The diadem originally belonged to Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother and it had a very sentimental meaning for her. It was a gift on her wedding day from her parents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore, and held a huge personal significance for her.. It was presented to her as she married Prince Albert, Duke of York, second son of King George V, in 1923.

It’s an all diamond diadem, with the stones set in rose motifs, and the then Duchess of York wore it in the early years of her royal life. It was a rather modern design for a tiara at the time, featuring a large central rose with four smaller roses, two on each side of it, intertwined with leaf motifs. Its first wearer often used it in the style of the 1920s, as a headband style tiara, but the Princess of Wales chose to wear it in the more traditional manner, on top of a loose updo.

The tiara was last seen in the 1930s and although it may have been worn at private events, this is the first time it’s been used at an official royal event for almost 90 years.

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.