19 January 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Kent Festoon Tiara

The Kent Festoon Tara
This tiara, with diamond scrolls topped by single pearls, is one of the more recognizable pieces belonging to the Kent branch of the British royal family. How it came to be in the Kent family is not precisely known; it belonged to Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent (1906-1968), who received jewels from her husband, the Duke of Kent (son of King George V and Queen Mary) and had jewels both inherited and gifted from her many royal relations. These included jewels left to Marina by Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll (daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert) on her death in 1939. The tiara probably dates from around 1900 and though it rests in a case from Cartier, Tiaras: A History of Splendour notes that it may not actually be a Cartier creation.

Princess Marina
Princess Marina wore the tiara regularly, including at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, and it was briefly worn by her daughter, Princess Alexandra. She left the tiara to her youngest son, Prince Michael, and it is now worn by his wife, Princess Michael (Marie Christine). The current row of pearls at the base has been added while the tiara's been in their possession, nicely echoing the pearls that top the tiara.

Princess Michael
Princess Michael has made this one of her signature pieces. Prince and Princess Michael are often attendees at state banquets and from time to time have stepped in as the Queen's representatives for the traditional gala Guildhall banquet that takes place during state visits; with those appearances plus portraits, the tiara is worn regularly. It's a tall tiara - one that Princess Michael showcases extremely well - and it just might be my favorite Kent diadem.

Is this your favorite Kent tiara, or do you prefer another?