This blog will concentrate on the royal tiaras of the Countess of Wessex.
Most of the royal tiaras seen worn by the British royal family actually belong to Queen Elizabeth II (as the current monarch). This saves the rest of the family from having to pay “death duties” on the inheritance of these gorgeous works of art.
On June 19, 1999, Sophie Rhys-Jones married HRH Prince Edward at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor. However, for this article, the most important thing that happened that day was the debut of a new tiara! It is commonly known as her Wedding Tiara. It is the only tiara that she wears that royal watchers have been able to discern any provenance, and as it is Buckingham Palace has not seen fit to confirm the theory.
Nellie, from the Royal Jewels of the World Message Board, is popularly credited with having developed the theory that the tiara is made from the four anthemions that were detachable from Queen Victoria’s Regal Circlet. Anthemion is a pattern of honeysuckle or palm leaves in a radiating cluster, used as a motif in Greek art. The theory stems from the picture at the right of the custom case made the jewelers that altered the circlet for Queen Alexandra in 1902. The picture shows 4 indentions that held the anthemion pieces, which transformed the circlet for a different look.
As much as this tiara probably meant to the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, considering that it essentially originated with Queen Victoria, the public in general have not been a big fan of this tiara. So, when she debuted a new tiara at the marriage of Crown Prince Frederick to Mary Donaldson in 2004 in Copenhagen it was widely talked about! This new tiara is mostly referred to as the “Button Tiara”.
I also cannot find another instance of her wearing it. Some think that this tiara was made out of another tiara that once belonged to Prince Philip’s mother, Princess Andrew of Greece. I think that it’s a shame that this tiara hasn’t seen more wear, I like it.
The third royal tiara of the Countess of Wessex’s collection thus far is known as her Aquamarine Tiara. This is my favorite of all three. I love the diamond design. The aquamarine center stone is beautiful. Maybe I like it because aquamarines are not commonly used in royal jewelry. She can also wear it as a necklace with means she gets even more wear out of it. It would also be interesting to see if she ever takes advantage of the fact that the center stone is removable so that she could put another stone in its place.
Recently, Sophie has come under fire for accepting 2 suites of jewels from a royal visit to Bahrain in December 2011. The gifts will most certainly not be returned, as that would be insulting. One wonders if she will ever wear them, though. If one surfs the royal jewelry message boards one notices that there is general consensus that Sophie needs to be loaned a larger variety (or be given) jewels from the Queen’s jewelry vault. This is because she and her husband are asked to represent the Queen at, seemingly, all the European royal affairs where the royal families of the world bring out all their bling. Sophie is known to be a favorite of the Queen so I’m sure that we’ll see her jewelry repertoire expand over the years. I hope so anyway.