Well, kids, here’s a good reason why you shouldn’t smoke California medicinal while doing tiara research. You’ll think yourself a font of wisdom, that you yourself have discovered there are two Poltimore tiaras! This unfortunately is not the case, as your Blog Hostess woke up the next morning to find the “Poltimore” was actually “Portland”–in print. Ah well, live, learn, get a stronger prescription for your glasses.
The good news is, there are two Portland tiaras…maybe more. The first of which is the Cartier Portland Tiara (some tag it with “1902” or “Diamond” to differentiate. The most obvious difference–to your Blog Hostess–is that this particular one was commissioned by the 6th Duke of Portland for his wife, Duchess Winifred. (See stunner right.) That other Portland was for the 2nd Earl of Portland. So yeah, this one outranks the other one. nnyahh! How junior high of us…
The lesser known of the Portland tiaras was made by Cartier in 1902. The sixth Duke of Portland supplied the jaw-dropping briolettes, cut in the 17th Century. (More History Professor Blog Hostess! Fun! old stuff is best.) Babbling briolettes and coquette cushion-cuts were merely mounted in gold by Cartier, according to the jeweller’s notes. Sixth Duke had diamonds, yo. *momental pause for personal jealous reflection against people who have just too many diamonds. 1-2-3-seethe*
A stunner of a diadem and the Duchess of Portland wasn’t the worst-looking gal to come in here, either. *cough* Yep. Lady Winnifred Anna was famed for her striking looks and beloved in Nottinghamshire for her charity work with miners there. Lazlo’s portraits, if accurate, sure shows a stunning duchess. [See above.]
The Lady Portland might be remembered best by history as one of the canopy bearers for the anointment of Queen Alexandra at her coronation.
As if aesthetically celestial for both tiara and owner [diamonds are a—] weren’t superfluous, the “Cartier” Portland Tiara comes with the best anecdote. ‘Best’ in the sense that “the best tiara pic” is !00% Princess Margaret in the Bath. You know what I mean.
The Duke and Duchess of Portland were due to have dinner with the Duchess of Buccleuch, the mistress of the robes. Like so many dinner dates time out of mind, her Grace was running late and his Grace was waiting. Looking for a place to lounge in his wife’s boudoir, the Duke sat on the Cartier Portland Tiara. Accidentally, of course. The tiara was unscathed. sweet. But seriously, can you imagine a closet so posh that it has muebles for lounging? I mean seriously, how exhausting is it being so good-looking? Yeah, that’s another Laszlo portrait. Like to commission him to do mine.
Like most family tiaras do, the Cartier Portland was handed down to Ivy, the seventh Duchess of Portland and title-holder of Best Duchess Name Ever. Like the Portland Duchess who preceded her in 1902, Duchess Ivy donned the brilliant Cartier confection for the 1953 Coronation of Elizabeth II.
less tiara, more bad-ass ladies
After the 1953 Coronation, the tiara’s history rating was on the downslide much like the Dukedom of Portland itself. The Duke and Duchess had only one daughter, Anne. Though the title passed to a distant cousin, her father ensured Lady Anne received the entire family fortune. Lady Anne Cavendish was one of the wealthiest landowners in Great Britain when her father died in 1977.
In 1982, Lady Anne inherited the tiara when her mother passed. A particularly outspoken and spunky socialite, the Lady Anne refused to marry Count Charles of Flanders, future king of Belgium. Impervious to any advice or wisdom the adults tried to pound into her head about this great match, Anne informed her parents she wanted to marry the 11th Duke of Leeds. When Charles came to the family home that night to propose, Anne refused to even get out of bed to see the poor fellow. The Duke and Duchess disapproved of the Duke of Leeds. In another tantrum Anne informed her parents that if she couldn’t marry John Osbourne, she wouldn’t marry anyone. She never did. The tiara was ceded to her nephew, William Parente in 2008. There are no photos of Lady Anne or Mrs. Parente wearing the Cartier Portland tiara. The Dukedom of Portland died out in 1990 due to a lack of male heirs.
The tiara is now part of a private collection like so many others. Grrr….