Royal British Tiaras: The Honeysuckle Tiara

Choices. It's all about choices with this tiara. What's that you say? You don't like how the central element clashes with your red dress? Well, just swap it out, dear. Indeed, the Honeysuckle Tiara is one of the best kinds - it's convertible!
Royal British Tiaras: The Honeysuckle Tiara
The Honeysuckle Tiara

Choices. It’s all about choices with this tiara. What’s that you say? You don’t like how the central element clashes with your red dress? Well, just swap it out, dear. Indeed, the Honeysuckle Tiara is one of the best kinds – it’s convertible!

Royal British Tiaras: The Honeysuckle Tiara
Queen Mary with the original version of the Honeysuckle Tiara. Notice the height difference.

Made in 1913-14 for Queen Mary by E. Wolff & Co. on behalf of Garrard, Mary was back at it again, using some recycled diamonds from the dismantled Surrey Tiara and some newly acquired stones to create a masterpiece. Able to hold the Cullinan V Brooch at the center, as well as a large diamond and sapphire brooch and brooch with a pink stone (which has been identified as a pink topaz and also a kunzite (I feel like I need to head to the UK to get the bottom of that mystery), this tiara was designed with versatility in mind. And, again true to form, Mary tinkered with the tiara over time, removing some of the diamonds to make it sit lower. You can see the taller version above and the remake in the photos below.

Royal British Tiaras: The Honeysuckle Tiara
Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester in the Honeysuckle Tiara, a wedding gift from her mother-in-law, Queen Mary.

And then just like that, she was done with it. Who knows if she just got tired of it or if her future daughter-in-law admired it, but it was to that very daughter-in-law that it was gifted upon her wedding to Mary’s son, the Duke of Gloucester. The future Duchess, Alice (if you follow me on Instagram, you might remember that I confused her with another Duchess Alice one day – both lived into their very late 90s), married the Duke in 1935.

The Cullinan V brooch, which was once the center piece of the Honeysuckle Tiara.

But…. there was a caveat. The Cullinan V didn’t come with the tiara, nor did the other two brooches. Mary kept all three, with the Cullinan remaining with the Crown. Instead, Mary had another central element made to mimic the other scroll-like honeysuckle motifs in the tiara for the center, and gifted it along with the tiara to Alice. It wasn’t until Mary’s death that Alice inherited the pink brooch and it was reunited with the headpiece. Somewhere along the way, Alice must have also had an emerald brooch commissioned to fit the tiara, as we’ve seen photos of such (see below).

Royal British Tiaras: The Honeysuckle Tiara
The current Duchess of Gloucester in the Honeysuckle Tiara, with the three different centerpieces.

Princess Alice then gave the tiara to her daughter-in-law, Birgitte, the current Duchess of Gloucester, who wears it often, switching out the elements at the center to compliment her attire. The current Duke and Duchess have one son (the heir apparent) and two daughters, so where the tiara will end up is anyone’s guess. Who do you think should get it next? Should it follow the family lineage and be given to their son’s wife, Claire? Or should one of the daughters inherit it? Tell me what you think in the comments below.

Comments

5 Responses

  1. Queen Mary LOVED her Jewelry. The current Queen evidently was really worried because Mary kept dismantling all the Jewelry. Evidently, her son gave some really fabulous jewelry to his Mistress. He died suddenly and Queen Mary lost no time, paying the Mistress a visit. She got back, every piece of Jewelry her son had given her. Evidently, she was a very shy person. She looks pretty scary to me. I like the Tiara higher.

    1. She did love her jewelry – that’s for sure! I’ve always thought she seemed rather imposing. But that could also be fueled by depictions of her in TV shows. etc.

  2. I think it should fall to whoever carries the title! If the son remarries it will stay with the title. Much like the Spencer Tiara. The daughters can use it in their weddings or if the daughters are unmarried and they are invited to State dinners.

    1. Yvonne: I agree with you on this one. As history states, it should remain with the title and be passed down at this point, but the incoming Duke could choose to be kind enough to loan it to his sisters. Both are already married (and one now divorced) but perhaps for a state dinner, as you mentioned, should his wife not want to wear it.

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