tiara time! the Lotus Flower Tiara

papyrus leaf lotus flower tiara

It was originally  part of Queen Mary’s collection in the 1920s. She took apart below wedding gift necklace in a Greek key pattern most likely made by William Davis of E. Wolff & Co. to re-patriate the diamonds and pearls for a new tiara, a Garrads commission.

E. Wolff & Co. Necklace used to make Lotus Flower Tiara

Anyone think Mary should have stuck with the necklace? Us neither…

lotus flower tiara closeupMade of diamonds and pearls in the “Egyptian style,” the tiara also known as the Papyrus Leaf–must be that Egypt theme–is arranged as a band of stylized lotus flowers fanning open underneath overreaching arches. The alternating graduated pinnacles are each surmounted by a single pearl. “It’s very much in the 20s style and probably very lightweight and comfortable to wear,” observes Leslie Field in The Queen’s Jewels.

queen mum in lotus flower tiara

Queen Mary then passed it on to Elizabeth Bowes Lyon upon ascension to Princess of Wales when she wed Bertie. Queen Elizabeth gave it to her younger daughter Princess Margaret in 1959. Princess Peg is probably the one who got the most mileage out of it.

princess margaret lotus flower tiara

margaret in lotus flower tiara

love how the princess is checking to make sure she didn’t spill anything…

In the 1920s it was still the tradition to wear the tiara low on the forehead, like a horizontal headband. The Queen Mum wore the Strathmore tiara the same way. Think of how Princess Astrid wore the Nine Provinces Tiara and even Queen Hortense wearing the Cameo Tiara. Foreheads. Princess Margaret changed all that when she began wearing tiaras further back from her brow.

Besides Windsor mothers and daughters, only three other women have worn the Lotus Flower tiara. Lady Mary Elphinstone, Serena Stanhope and Kate Middleton.

The Lotus Flower was loaned to Lady Mary Elphinstone by her sister, almost-Queen Elizabeth to wear for the coronation of “Bertie” aka King George VI in 1937.

wearers of the Lotus Flower Tiara

[L to R] Lady Mary Elphinstone; Serena, Viscountess Linley; Kate Middleton

For the annual Buckingham Dinner in 2013, Kate Middleton chose to wear the Lotus Flower tiara the same way Princess Margaret did. Sure it was a big deal that this was only Kate’s second tiara appearance, the first being the Cartier Halo Scroll at her wedding. But it was an even bigger deal that the Lotus Flower tiara hadn’t been seen since 1993.

viscount of linley wedding 1993

Twenty years earlier, when Serena Stanhope married Viscount Linley, the Earl and Countess of Snowdon’s son, Princess Margaret loaned the Lotus Flower tiara to her future daughter-in-law to help her anchor that veil. When Princess Margaret passed away, many feared that the Lotus Flower had been sold by her children like the Poltimore Tiara. Unlike the Poltimore, this tiara has too much family history and it was returned to the family collection. That fleeting glimpse of Kate from the Rolls Royce proves it.


The Lotus Flower tiara is currently in Paris featured in a large Cartier Exhibition. Isn’t that strange considering it was made by Garrads?

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.)
This entry was posted in diamond, england, other glittery events, pearl, tiara time! and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to tiara time! the Lotus Flower Tiara

  1. Angelyn says:

    Mary of Teck bequeathed more than just a tiara–her facial features are evident in all the Windsors, as Viscount Linley demonstrates.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! I love when jewelry and history combine. Two of my favorite things in the world 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. e1aine says:

    I think our queen wore it best.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. e1aine says:

    Duh, stupid me. It is Princess Margaret looking lots like her sister. The photo where she is looking down is my favourite.


  5. Lady says:

    I prefer the necklace actually… 😛 N

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: The Duchess Shines in Jenny Packham, Lotus Flower Tiara and Glittering Diamonds at First State Banquet - What Kate Wore

  7. Pingback: remembering the queen mum | tiaras and trianon

  8. actually the tiara was loaned to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother’s niece, Margaret Rhodes, to wear at her wedding 31 July 1950 in St Margaret’s ,Westminster. Princess Margaret was one of the bridesmaids. See The Final Curtsey by Margaret Rhodes


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

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