Tiara Time! the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara!

This post (especially the Lady Diana Collage) is lovingly dedicated to my Momma, ‘cos I remember you only grabbed that issue of People Magazine from the check-out aisle when Princess Di was on the cover. Hope you print the collage and hang it on the fridge!

Okay…let’s make a screeching 180 from good ol’ St. Wenceslas‘ Crown and discuss what is most likely the most famous tiara the world over. Yes, of course, ’tis the Cambridge Lover’s Knot of which we speak.

Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara

The day before marrying the Prince of Wales in 1981, Lady Diana Spencer was handed a red leather box from her almost mother-in-law. Inside lay the famous tiara originally commissioned by Queen Mary. Using a nickname the British Press had given the Queen, young Diana was said to exclaim with glee, “I have Brenda’s rocks!”

Diana, Princess of Wales in Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara

Diana, Princess of Wales in Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara

In fact, the Cambridge Lover’s Knot is so entangled with the image of the late Princess Diana that I only realized a few years ago that this was NOT the tiara she wore at her wedding. (Her wedding tiara being that of her family: the Spencer Tiara.) She wore it frequently; we probably associate it most with the famous, pearl-encrusted “Elvis dress” with which she paired it when she attended a Japanese State Banquet. Unlike her famed sapphire engagement ring (now Kate’s) Princess Di returned the tiara to the Queen after the divorce.

mary and elizabeth ii in the cambridge lovers knot tiara

mary and elizabeth ii in the cambridge lovers knot tiara

The Cambridge Lover’s Knot was designed and crafted by E. Wolff & Co. for the royal jewelers Garrads. Nineteen diamond arches with drop pearls set on a diamond band, Queen Mary had her creation made with gems she’d received as wedding gifts. Queen Mary commissioned the tiara and drew her inspiration from the tiaras worn by Romanov Princess Tatiana Yusupova of Russia and most certainly her aunt the Grand Duchess Augusta Caroline. The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara garners its name (imaginatively) from the original Lover’s Knot Tiara made in 1818.

Princess Tatiana Yusupova, Princess Augusta and Grand Duchess Augusta Caroline, all inspired the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara

(top) Princess Tatiana Yusupova’s tiara definitely inspired the famous tiara; (bottom left, right) Princess Augusta of Hesse and Grand Duchess Augusta Caroline both wearing the original 1818 Lover’s Knot

The original Lovers Knot was made for Queen Mary’s  maternal grandmother Princess Augusta of Hesse, the Duchess of Cambridge. Augusta received it as a wedding present when she married Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, seventh son of George III. Princess Augusta then passed the original Lover’s Knot down to her daughter Augusta Caroline (Auntie Grand Duchess) at the time of her marriage to Grand Duke Friedrich Wilhelm of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Lovers Knot bows were part of the design of both tiaras, repeating along the entire length and from which originate the drop-shaped pearls. Thus the name Lover’s Knot is derived from the repeated theme of this Gothic revival tiara.

About ♔ la dauphiine ♔

Connecticut-based jewelry monger, history buff, Mets fan. On the hum-drum side, call me a lauded poet, novelist and ghost-writer. (That's right, I haunt prose.)
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5 Responses to Tiara Time! the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara!

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it's not just a love-affair with my own voice

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