Dec 032013

This evening the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the Queen’s annual diplomatic reception. The event was a white tie affair at Buckingham Palace, bringing our first photos of Kate in a tiara since her wedding day.

Jesal / Tanna / Splash News

Jesal / Tanna / Splash News

Kate is wearing the Lotus Flower tiara, also referred to as the Papyrus Tiara; it originally belonged to the Queen Mother. The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor explains it was actually made from a necklace.

It was made from one of her wedding gifts, a necklace of a Greek key pattern with pendant diamonds and pearls given by her husband, the future George VI.

Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor

Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor

A Tiara a Day notes that the original necklace was create by Garrard Jewelers.  In the 1920s (when she was known as the Duchess of York) the Queen Mum decided she preferred the diamonds and pearls be worn atop her head as opposed to around her neck. Garrad was given the task of disassembling the necklace and then recreating it into the tiara seen on the Queen Mum and then on Princess Margaret, and now, on Kate. (It has also been worn by others. Princess Margaret’s daughter-in-law, Viscountess Linley, née‎ Serena Stanhope, wore it on her wedding day.) This stunning image comes from the book Tiaras: A History of Splendour, by Geoffrey C. Munn, via the Royal Post.

Tiaras: A History of Splendour via The Royal Post

Tiaras: A History of Splendour via The Royal Post

It is one of the more delicate tiaras in the royal vault. In some respects it looks lighter (not in weight, but in design and appearance) than the Cartier Halo tiara worn by Kate on her wedding day in 2011.

Splash News

Splash News

HM loaned the Halo Scroll to Kate for the wedding. Had Kate any desire to wear it again this evening that would not have been possible. The tiara is part of the Cartier: Style and History exhibit at the Grand Palais opening tomorrow. (Many thanks to Joyce (auntym210 on Twitter) for letting us know the tiara is included in that exhibit.

Kate also wore the diamond chandelier earrings loaned to her by the Queen. We have seen the Duchess wear them previously, she is shown below wearing them at the BAFTA dinner in Hollywood during the 2011 North American Tour, and then again this evening.

Jesal/Tanna/Splash & PA Wire

Jesal/Tanna/Splash & PA Wire

Royal Photographer Mark Stewart verified the Duchess was in a gown by Alexander McQueen. It is another piece using lace, it also features eyelash lace, similar to the McQueen dress worn for the Jubilee church service in 2012. We compare lace at the necklines below.

Top: PA Wire / Bottom: Jesal-Tanna-Splash News

Top: PA Wire / Bottom: Jesal-Tanna-Splash News

The color of the dress reminds me of that icy blue of the Emilia Wickstead worn to the National Portrait Gallery this April.

Weir Photos /Splash News

Weir Photos /Splash News

Kate’s hair was styled in a partial updo for tonight’s engagement.

Jesal / Tanna / Splash News

Jesal / Tanna / Splash News

It is unlikely we will see any photos from inside the event, we didn’t even expect to see photos of Kate and William arriving.

Tonight’s Tip of the Tiara (no pun intended, but appropriate nonetheless) to Mark Stewart (the same mentioned above) and Jesal Parshotam of Ikon Photos for bringing us photos of Kate and William arriving at Buckingham Palace event.


A quick update to Kate’s Calendar: This Friday (the 6th) Kate will have tea with children and family members at the Shooting Star Children’s Hospice. She will also watch a music therapy session and meet volunteers. In addition to Kate’s own interest in the children’s hospice movement, this would fall under the umbrella of her EACH Patronage.


Also this evening, we want to announce the lucky winners of our wonderful giveaway sponsored by the always-generous Links of London.


  35 Responses to “Kate in Glittering Diamond Tiara for Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace”

  1. On the wearing of important jewels (since it’s bound to come up in Susan’s next post), it does take getting used to. Diana had an advantage: she was a Spencer. The Spencers are aristocrats, and have their own collection, as do many aristocratic families. There would never had been a call for Carole Middleton to own any important jewelry, and so Kate did not inherit the ability to wear it.

    The real pieces Kate owns and which William have given her are pretty minor in comparison with what’s available to her. Diana took full advantage, possibly because both the QM and Princess Margaret were still around to coach her. I’d love to see Kate break out even beyond this sweet little tiara and wear an important pin, or necklace, or something special that makes a statement. I think she will soon enough.

    • Somehow I don’t think the ability to wear important jewels is “inherited,” that it’s a matter of one’s DNA. Great actresses from quite humble backgrounds have managed it. I doubt very much that Diana had ever worn the Spencer tiara beyond just trying it on for fun before her wedding, and since her mother left the family when she was a child, she wouldn’t have had many, if any, opportunities to see her mother wearing it either.

      The Countess of Wessex, Prince Edward’s wife, has worn tiaras reasonably often and well. She did not grow up as the child of aristocrats either, and in fact comes from a background considerably less monied and luxurious than the Duchess of Cambridge’s. Moreover, by the time she married into the royal family, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret were really past providing any instruction, assuming they assisted Diana, which I have some reason to doubt. The only person who really could have done so was the Queen herself. I imagine that the Queen is doing what she can to provide relevant advice to her granddaughter-in-law as well.

  2. The Duchess gives us a glimpse of the future Queen consort that she will some day be. How beautiful. And William will certainly make a handsome King. Diana would be proud of them both.

  3. I’ve been waiting for another tiara to appear and I am not disappointed. Kate looks lovely and the dress looks beautiful. I don’t think the Duchess is much for jewelry since she seems to wear very little of it, even on formal occasions. Can’t blame her. I used to think a lot of jewelry made one look “old” but I’ve changed my mind as I’ve grown older. Of course, she had no choice since a tiara is required for diplomatic receptions.

  4. I REALLY hope we can get a photo of her full attire. I am dying to see the full view of the tiara and the dress!! This is such a tease just seeing the side view in the car!! I looked up photos of Serena Linley wearing the tiara at her 1993 wedding and was struck by some similarities to Kate’s wedding day look.

    • Really? Lady Linley wore her hair so differently at her wedding, and her dress was quite different, too. It was designed as a reference, a sort of homage, to Princess Margaret’s, since the Princess was the mother of the groom.

      I’d love to know what you thought was similar. People always see different things, different references and relationships.

      • I agree with you, I saw ZERO similarity in Serena’s wedding look to Kate’s wedding look. I thought Serena looked quite strange with her sky-high hair and huge dress. She didn’t even look like herself and she was then and is now very beautiful. It might have been an homage to her mother-in-law but she didn’t pull it off, in my opinion.

      • The dresses are quite different, but perhaps Suzanne sees a similarity in the v-neck line and long sleeves? (Though I do realize that long sleeves are rather ubiquitous in royal wedding gowns.)

        As I see it, the largest dissimilarity is that Serena’s gown has a decadent and extravagant feel, whereas Kate’s dress was much more restrained, factors that are very reflective of the different moments in history when these two women got married. Serena’s wedding took place in 1993 and while the 80s are the decade noted for opulence, I still see some of that opulence in evidence in her wedding pictures. Kate, of course, married in the era of recession.

        • I had never seen Serena’s wedding day look until I googled it yesterday. Overall my impression was not positive (I thought the fabric looked too heavy and although and updo would have been the right choice, the ultra big hair was too much). I did really enjoy Kate’s wedding day look. But– the similarities I saw were the neck line, the long sleeves of the gown, and the fullness of the skirt. I loved the v neck and the long sleeves of Kate’s gown. And also the shape, size and delicate look of the bouquets they carried.

  5. I was so excited to see this pic of Catherine pop up in my Facebook news feed last night :) She looks gorgeous in the few photos of her in the car, so I can only imagine how regal and beautiful she looked in her complete attire! I had no idea until this post that photographers weren’t allowed inside these kind of events (or receptions), but it does make sense. I’m sure this was likely one of the more “intimidating” functions for a new royal such as Catherine to attend. I’d need lots of practice on what to say to those in attendance. I am very impressed with the frequent amount of events William and Catherine have been attending. They must be exhausted! I really don’t know how William does an event like this last night and then shows up at another event the next morning. Kudos to them for switching off and doing many solo engagements to allow them to almost always have one parent with George. Great post as always!! Can’t wait to see the next engagements later in the week.

  6. Delighted to see the Duchess finally branch out into the wearing of a real tiara, even if it does seem obscured by hair. The pictures of the Queen Mother show her wearing the same one with considerable panache.

    Ah, but it takes me back. I grew up in Windsor — that’s the one in England where the Queen goes for short country breaks, and one day, when I was still very little my mum took me up to the castle one night to see everyone arrive for some glittering event.

    I was quite unprepared for the grand cars being lit up from inside and having extra big windows so even I could see in, and there was the Queen and her sister, diamonds ablaze, tiaras and all, and swathed in glamorous white furs.

    I was bowled over by seeing so many stones with such colour, sparkle and movement in them, and to see the furs, which had looked solid and heavy to me in newspaper pictures, now looking as soft as down, and light enough for the ladies wearing them to float away on them.

    Here’s hoping Kate has started the ascent up the scale of bling!

    • ElizaMo, thank you for this lovely (and beautifully worded) reminiscence. I enjoyed reading it so much. Bless you for sharing.

  7. Kate looks lovely from what we can see of her; and I am sure her dress is very flattering.

  8. She looks gorgeous from the car. So nice to see her wearing such a sentimental and beautiful tiara. This tiara means a lot to the Queen I’m sure being her mother’s and sister’s. I wish we could have seen a full shot of the dress as well but hope we see more of her in tiara’s.

  9. The annual diplomatic reception is very private, and photos are usually not released, for a variety of very good reasons, one being certain political sensitivities.

    Perhaps we’ll get lucky and the Palace will realize that the public would like to see exactly what the Duchess is wearing. I wouldn’t count on it, but you never know.

    However, I had actually thought that this might be the first tiara we saw her wearing, partly because it’s rather modest as tiaras go, and partly because the “papyrus” design is particularly elegant and unusual. I even speculated elsewhere that she might wear it for her wedding.

    I am quite happy to see it now.

    • Beautiful as it is, I’m glad she didn’t wear it for her own wedding, since Serena Linley wore it at hers. But very cool that it’s getting another airing – so, so pretty.

  10. I am glad we at least got a couple of pics! I do prefer this tiara to the Cartier. This one gives a much grander impression IMO. I think this will serve her better for the next few years. That is of course assuming Her Majesty means this to be her long term loaner. I was never a fan of the Wessex tiara that was pieced together for Sophie. It took years and years for The Queen to lend her a different piece. Probably would have been the same for Catherine had her wedding tiara been available.

  11. I’ll bet someday we’ll see footage from the evening, in one of those palace-sanctioned specials or possibly in the Queen’s Christmas Day speech. The palace loves to sprinkle these grand occasions about. I would love to see all the other royal ladies, too.

  12. I’m absolutely heartbroken that after waiting years for another tiara appearance, we only have partial photographs to examine. Please don’t misunderstand me: I am certainly not suggesting that the Duchess should be obligated to pose for photos at every event; my comment is only motivated by a severe case of tiara-lust, which I begin to fear will never be satiated.

    Sigh. Moving on. This is an exquisite tiara, and I love that she has her hair pulled back into a half chignon so that both the tiara and earrings are on full display. For future outings-with-tiara, I hope she considers wearing her hair in a French twist. Also, I am really itching to see this (apparently new?) McQueen dress, especially because of the feather lace detailing at the neck, a design element I nearly always find elegant and appealing.

    Many thanks to the admin for including details about the tiara’s history. I find the evolution of heirloom jewels fascinating!

    I just wanted to add that I really love the way the Queen Mother is pictured wearing this tiara in the photograph featured in this Daily Mail story ( I doubt we will ever see the Duchess wearing a tiara this low on her forehead, since I feel the look is just too adventurous to expect her to attempt, given her usual conservative tastes. I’m also not sure the low-on- the-forehead look would work with her long hair (according to my memory, this style of wearing a tiara has only been attempted by women with short hair, but I would love to be corrected if examples exist of women with long hair wearing tiaras in this manner).

    • I can’t help wondering sometimes if Kate isn’t a little timid in her tastes and even a little bit lost among all the grandeur. Certainly Diana was better placed to take such headgear in her stride having had one in the family from the start!

      Agree with you about the QM wearing this tiara. By wearing it that way it’s possible to see what a magnificent piece of jewellery it is. I doubt it would suit Kate in quite the same way and I also wonder if the QM wasn’t in keeping more with the fashions of her own time.

      • There is nothing “adventurous” at all about the way the Queen Mother is wearing her tiara. It was the fashion at the time and she looks wonderful. Very few women wear their tiaras that way these days, though I did see a photo of a bride wearing a magnificant tiara that way this summer (the Percy daughter, can’t remember her name) and people seem to have a fit saying it looked ridiculous (I loved it).

        • Sorry, I think I need to clarify that I meant the Duchess wearing her tiara in this manner today would be viewed as adventurous. I most certainly did not mean to imply that Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was being adventurous herself when she wore the tiara low on her forehead. You are right that it was the fashion of the time (1930 to be exact), which I’m sure had something to do with the vogue for bobbed hair.

          Do you mean Lady Melissa Percy? If so, I’m in complete agreement with you: I love the forthrightness of the positioning of her tiara. Beautiful!

      • That “low on the forehead” look was very au courant at the time. I have old pictures of relatives in their wedding dresses from the late 20′s and early 30′s, and their veils and wreaths were worn that way. I’m not quite sure why that was the mode then, but you can see the look in many vintage fashion publications.

        As for Diana, I remember thinking that the Spencer tiara looked very awkward and unflattering on her at her wedding. It just didn’t work at all well with her hairstyle. Other tiaras she wore were more successful, partly because she modified her hairstyle. I think the Spencer tiara is simply rather heavy, and it really flattened her hair as it was cut at the time.

        • Omg! Thats ridiculous- Diana’s tiara looked amazing – the tiara was magnificent and set off very well by her hairstyle,not a tiny fake looking tiara almost completely obscured by masses of hair like Kate’s was.

          • If would be more than helpful (and appreciated) if we could remember that spirited discussion and debate is welcome, even encouraged, in this space. Disparaging someone’s opinion is not.

        • The Spencer tiara has always been one of my favorites; I love the glitter of the stones. However, I’m in agreement that Diana’s wedding day was not the Spencer tiara’s best showing. Everything looks a tad flat, either because of her hairstyle, the heaviness of the tiara, or a combination of both. I recall reading that Diana didn’t allow the stylist to use much hairspray, which resulted in the (forgive me) rather lifeless quality to her hair, especially apparent in her bangs. But, I read that tidbit years and years ago, so there is no possibility of my checking the veracity of the source.

          Let this be a lesson to us. Ladies, hair product is important! ;)

          • I agree with you about the Spencer tiara, I always liked it on Diana, though it was a bit lost in all the frou frou of the whole wedding outfit. I seem to recall someone referring to Diana suffering from “helmet hair” so I guess you hit the nail on the head re hair product!

  13. Will there be pictures from inside the reception do you think? I really hope we get to see the dress. The tiara is beautiful.

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