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Royal British Tiaras: The Teck Crescent Tiara

Do you have any pieces of jewelry in your jewelry box that you haven't worn in over eighty years? We didn't think so. But if you're the British Royal family and we're talking about the Royal jewelry vaults... well, maybe things just get a bit lost in there. Apparently the Teck Crescent Tiara is holed up inside, just waiting for the light of day.
Royal British Tiaras: The Teck Crescent Tiara
Princes Mary Adelaide in the Teck Crescent Tiara.

Do you have any pieces of jewelry in your jewelry box that you haven’t worn in over eighty years? We didn’t think so. But if you’re the British Royal family and we’re talking about the Royal jewelry vaults… well, maybe things just get a bit lost in there. Apparently the Teck Crescent Tiara is holed up inside, just waiting for the light of day.

Royal British Tiaras: The Teck Crescent Tiara
The Teck Crescent Tiara as it stands today.

We know who currently has it (Camilla, on permanent loan from the Queen, along with the Delhi Durbar and the Boucheron Honeycomb/Greville tiaras) but we’ve yet to ever see her wear it. Let’s trace it from Camilla backwards to its originator.

As we mentioned, the current Queen has permanently loaned this tiara to Camilla. But how did the Queen come to have it? She inherited it from her mother, The Queen Mum, of course. The Queen Mother wore it only a handful of times and it was on her head that we last saw it worn, during WWII over 80 years ago (it was on exhibit at the V&A Museum in 2001, however). It is quite large in circumference and would take quite a head of hair to hold it (now we see why the Queen gave it to Camilla). The Queen Mother was the first British Queen to frown upon the use of hair-pieces to supplement one’s coiffure, so perhaps that’s why she wore it so very little.

Royal British Tiaras: The Teck Crescent Tiara
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mum, wearing the Tech Crescent.
Royal British Tiaras: The Teck Crescent Tiara
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mum, wearing the Teck Crescent at a dinner in Canada in 1939.

Tracing it back yet further, the tiara was given to the Queen Mother by her mother-in-law, Queen Mary. We have no photographic evidence that Mary ever wore it (which is crazy, because that woman loved her jewels and those she didn’t love, she reworked).

Royal British Tiaras: The Teck Crescent Tiara
Margaret, Marchioness of Cambridge (and Mary Adelaide’s daughter-in-law) wears the tiara (along with another Teck piece, the Teck Hoop Necklace).

How Mary came to have it we don’t quite understand. It showed up in her possession at some point, having been seen prior on the head of Margaret, the Marchioness of Cambridge. Margaret had married Prince Adolphus, who had been the Duke of Teck, but he renounced his German title during World War I and was made Marquess of Cambridge instead. Maybe Margaret didn’t care for the tiara or perhaps Mary made a purchase because that woman did love a jewel. But we do know how Margaret came to have it.

Royal British Tiaras: The Teck Crescent Tiara
Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck in the Teck Crescent tiara

Margaret’s mother-in-law, Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck had passed it down to her son upon her death and it was Mary Adelaide who had the tiara created to begin with. MA (as we’ll refer to her here forth) had been not only a princess at birth (she was the daughter of Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge and Augusta of Hesse-Kassel) but she was the granddaughter of one king (George III) and the grandmother of two more (Edward VIII and George VI). She married Francis, the Duke of Teck and they were the parents to our dear jewelry loving Queen Mary (the apple apparently didn’t fall far from the tree, given the photos).

Royal British Tiaras: The Teck Crescent Tiara
Princess Mary Adelaide in the Teck Crescent with the three rows of diamonds.

The tiara was rebuilt in 1901 to sturdy it up a bit and somewhere along the way the two extra rows of diamonds were removed (they were likely there to add sparkle, of course, but also height). And we do love that the crescent shapes that split up the three rose elements (a design we honestly just don’t get – maybe there’s some symbolism we’re missing??), can be removed and worn facing either direction (you can see both options in the photos above). But honestly, it’s not our very favorite of the royal tiaras. What do you think? Should Camilla pull the Teck Crescent Tiara out of the vault and wear it or should she let it be where it is? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Comments

23 Responses

  1. I have always been fascinated since a child by Princess May of Teck, as she was dowager Queen Mary (Anglicised on her marriage to ?Edward V11) Who was famous for his mistresses, Lily Langtry, plus Camilla’s gr8 g’mother. So she amused herself by buying jewellery, some of which was bargain priced from fleeing ex royal from Europe. Other pieces were commissioned, and she liked to remodel other pieces.
    I believe she spent exorbitantly, but that was her reward for silence. Anyhow Royal spending today seems miniscule compared to the past, reviewing fabulous furs and gowns worn to theatres etc. (Apart from one unmentionable who will never wear a tiara again,)

    1. I have to agree that the spending is NOTHING like it used to be. She earned every tiara, necklace, stomacher, brooch and strand of pearls for being married to that rascal. 😉

    2. I believe Queen Mary was married to EdwArd VII’s son George, who became George V. Edward VII was married to Queen Alexandria ( Denmark), feel sorry for her. Because of her early onset deafness she had a harder time communicating with people/crowds which led her to become a bit reclusive and overly close to her children , she could seem almost childlike at times, but she alwYs was a dutiful member of the royal family, giving EdwRd 6 children and performing stand ins for Queen Victoria when she was reclusive after Albwrts death. Edward the philanderer that he was had many mistresses that Alexandra apparently tolerated. Google EdwRd the VII’s chair, you might be shocked at just how ” much” of a rascal he was!

  2. This is a very interesting story abt a tiara I personally had never heard of.
    This is very enlightening n I hope to read more abt other “forgotten” jewels.

    1. Hi, Julia. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read about the Teck Crescent. I typically post a new tiara post every Tuesday, so when you have time, please stop by again. ~WendyKate

  3. I think more if not all of the older ones should be worn more often. It would be really cool and interesting to see some of them . Why doesn’t Kate wear different ones?

    1. I think it’s really all about what she’s allowed to wear. And there are protocols about age and vulgarity with a tiara that’s too showy or too big. But I’m with you. Bring them all out of retirement!

  4. I have seen pictures of the late Princess Margaret wearing the necklace. I don’t believe she ( Margaret) ever wore the Teck tiara, at least I haven’t seen any pictures of her wearing it.

    1. Hi, Malinda. Princess Margaret (the current Queen’s sister) wasn’t the Margaret I was referring to in the post. I don’t believe it was worn in public for a number of decades, prior to Camilla.

      1. I should have been clearer with my answer. I was answering the question Elsie had asked about the Teck circle necklace, Margaret wore the necklace and I have seen pictures of her in the necklace but I haven’t seen any pictures of her in the Teck tiara. Also, I like your site and you have wonderful pictures and info on the jewels!

    1. Hi, Elsie. Unfortunately, I haven’t researched the necklace and with the Covid crisis right now (and my day gig selling into healthcare systems) it will be a little bit before I have the time to do so. But I’m adding it to the list, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!

  5. Well said Wendy. If jewelry and history do not interest you Gail, read something else. It’s not like the title was misleading.

    1. Well, Gail, there are quite a few of us that find it interesting. And you know what we don’t find interesting? Internet trolls. So feel free to skip on past my website next go around. Ta ta.

    2. How about the royal family sells all the tiaras that are outdated and unused and donate the money to charities in the UK? It’s pointless to have all these jewels in this day and age and would be a great public relations coup for the family coming into this century!

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