Nothing common about a tiara

similar in style: the 1934 Cartier tiara with lotus design


Oh, the tiara!  The most important thing that does so much to elevate one on the BIG DAY.

This site displays a nice array of illustrious figures wearing the 1936 Cartier Halo tiara which Kate wore on her wedding day.

Something borrowed:  the tiara is part of the Royal Collection.

It had belonged to the late Queen Mother, given to her by her husband, the Duke of York, later George VI.  See the trailer for The King’s Speech here.  No tiaras in the film, as I recall, but bloody good dialogue.

Prince William married a commoner.  So did George VI, his great-grandfather.   Yet Bertie’s wife was Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, no mere miss.  Interestingly, British law deems anyone a commoner who is not royalty or a peer. Whether they are the descendant of a coal miner or an earl.

Putting the law aside, one could argue the Queen Mother was someone not quite in the common way.

But we were discussing tiaras.  Princess Charlotte’s tiara was described as diamonds fashioned into a wreath of roses and leaves.  The detail of this crown is difficult to see in the old plate below.

Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold wedding processional

The jeweller who made the princess’ tiara was Rundell, Bridge & Rundell.  The firm was subsequently commissioned to craft her father George IV’s state diadem that evoked similar motifs:  roses, thistles and shamrocks.  This famous crown was worn by Her Majesty for her coronation and gets trotted out for the opening of Parliament.

It is not inconceivable to imagine we see the remnants of Charlotte’s crown in her father’s:

The Diamond Diadem, 1820

Regency Wedding

These days it seems appropriate to be discussing royal nuptials.  Therefore, who can resist making comparisons?  I, for one, cannot.  

On this day, May 2nd, 1816, one hundred and ninety-five years ago, HRH Princess Charlotte, the Prince Regent’s daughter, married Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg.  After revisiting some primary historical sources, I have discovered the rather surprising conclusion that Kate and Wills have much in common with the most popular royal couple from the Regency era.

Of course, we can be reasonably sure of at least two major differences.  I refer to them below using my favorite scenes from Monty Python for purposes of illustration only.

Indulge me.

1)  We know that the heir-presumptive will not have to undergo the rigors of childbirth at the hands of nineteenth century obstetrics.  But if he should want to, please see  I want to be a woman at :22.

2) Kate won’t have to become King of the Belgians.  You see, they’ve already got one!  See the French taunting King Arthur at 1:22.   Well, some Belgians do speak French.

Sorry, sorry!  I just get carried away.

In the coming weeks some curious connections and common paths between the Regency and modern royal wedding will be presented.  Courtship, houses, dresses, manners and other momentous concerns will be examined.  With the help of some characters from my Notorious series.

Will you join me?