tiara time! the Cartier Portland Tiara

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 Cartier Portland Tiara

painting lady winnifred in cartier portland tiaraThe 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. Portland Tiara (1902) by Cartier for Winifred, Duchess of Portland(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*

collage winifred duchess of portlandA 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.

queen alexandra coronation collage1902 Coronation 6th Duchess of Portland Urban lore describes the Duchess’ tiara was ‘played down’ for the solemnity of the event. Study to right; Discuss. It was the first of two coronations the Cartier Portland Tiara would attend.

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 1902  winifred duchess of portland by lasloBuccleuch, 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

7th Duke and Duchess of Portland Ivy in Cartier Portland tiara 1953 Coronation

Formal 1953 Coronation Portrait: the 7th Duke & Duchess of Portland, the tiara and an unrelated footman.

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.

lady anne love triangle 2

Count Charles, future King of Belgium, Lady Anne Cavendish and John Osbourne,

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….

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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16 Responses to tiara time! the Cartier Portland Tiara

  1. Princess of Eboli History Masquerade says:

    Thi is a great and beautiful post, thank you for post this!!!!


  2. Princess of Eboli History Masquerade says:

    Reblogged this on Luxury and Queen's and commented:
    The post is wonderful and beautiful, that is why I reblog it, thank you!’nnn


  3. Angelyn says:

    “Grrr” — great blog post!! Lady Anne Cavendish looks like the Queen Mum–or maybe I need a new prescription… You know, Queen Alexandra was a looker, too. Maybe we’ll see a tiara or two with her. Love these posts.


  4. e1aine says:

    Very interesting post. I do love jewellery, especially tiaras. I thought Lady Anne looked like the Queen Mum too.


  5. Clanmother says:

    Always a joy to read your posts!


  6. Pingback: tiara time, part II: the Portland Tiara | tiaras and trianon

  7. Titanic Buff says:

    Bah! Sometime private collectors can be a real pain. 😉 There’s plenty of Titanic-related material I want so badly to read and see, but mysterious private collectors have spiritied away leaving me to only dream. *sigh*


    • Oh so agreed! There should be some kind of caveat requiring private collectors to display their spoils six months out of the year.

      I guess we can take *cynical* heart that eventually collectors’ descendants will have to sell the Titanic/tiaras to pay inheritance tax. That should give us about six months to see them before another collector buys them. It’s like the circle of life but annoying…that is, until WE become the collectors.


  8. Pingback: tiara time! the poltimore tiara | tiaras and trianon

  9. I’m a little slow to become acquainted with your writings, but wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your piece. thanks!


  10. Pingback: Portland Tiara | The Royal Watcher

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