Who will inherit the Queen’s legendary jewelry collection?

When Queen Mary died in 1953, it was inherited by Queen Elizabeth II and worn by her into the 1950s. The tiara gained worldwide recognition when it was loaned to Princess Diana, who complained of its weight and the swaying of the pear-shaped pearls.

In recent years, the tiara has been loaned to Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, future Princess of Wales. No complaints.

Cartier Halo Tiara

Kate Middleton wearing the Cartier Halo tiara at her wedding to Prince WilliamCredit:PA

Another tiara given new life by the Duchess of Cambridge is the Cartier Halo Tiara worn on her wedding day in April 2011. It was commissioned by George VI for his wife, the future Queen Mother. On becoming Queen Consort, Queen Elizabeth ditched the elegant tiara with 739 brilliant-cut diamonds and 149 baguette-cut diamonds, plunging into the royal vaults for bigger pieces, giving her wedding gift to her daughter Princess Elizabeth in 1944.

Queen Elizabeth II was never seen wearing the tiara, lending it to her sister Princess Margaret and daughter Princess Anne, before lending it to Kate.

Queen Mary’s Diamond Art Deco Headband

Meghan Markle wearing the Queen Mary Art Deco Bandeau tiara on her wedding day.

Meghan Markle wearing the Queen Mary Art Deco Bandeau tiara on her wedding day.Credit:PA

“As for the tiara that day, I was very lucky to be able to choose this beautiful art deco headband tiara,” Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, said in the recording of an exhibition after her wedding to Prince Harry in May 2018. “Harry and I had been to Buckingham Palace to meet Her Majesty The Queen to select one of the options there, which was an incredibly surreal day as you can tell imagine it.”

The 11-segment art deco bandeau style was created by Queen Mary in 1932 to accommodate a detachable brooch given to her in 1893 by the County of Lincoln. On Queen Mary’s death, it was passed on to Queen Elizabeth II, who was never seen wearing it. The tiara had faded from prominence before Meghan’s high-profile exit, failing to make it to any of the tiara prediction lists for the wedding day.

Queen Mary Fringed Tiara

Princess Beatrice wears her grandmother's Norman Hartnell couture dress on her wedding day with the Queen Mary's Fringe tiara.

Princess Beatrice wears her grandmother’s Norman Hartnell couture dress on her wedding day with the Queen Mary’s Fringe tiara.Credit:Instagram/TheRoyalFamily

Worn by Queen Elizabeth on her wedding day and loaned to Princess Anne for her wedding to Captain Mark Phillips in 1973 and Princess Beatrice for her wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in 2020, the tiara suffered a few scratches. On the morning of her wedding to Prince Philip, the tiara broke and was rushed to be repaired by Garrard jewelers before the Queen walked down the aisle.

The tiara was commissioned by Queen Mary in 1919 using diamonds that were part of a necklace Queen Victoria gave her as a wedding gift in 1893. It was later given by Queen Mary to her beautiful -daughter, the queen mother.

The tiara was part of the Queen Mother’s collection until 2002, when it was bequeathed to Queen Elizabeth.

Vladimir’s Diadem

Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Vladimir Tiara with Cambridge Emeralds and the King of Thailand during the State Banquet in the Throne Room of Chakri Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, October 28, 1996.

Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Vladimir Tiara with Cambridge Emeralds and the King of Thailand during the State Banquet in the Throne Room of Chakri Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, October 28, 1996. Credit:PA

Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, married to Grand Duke Vladimir of Russia, the uncle of Tsar Nicholas II, had an eye and a considerable budget for jewelry. Last of the Romanovs to flee Russia, she managed to smuggle 224 of her jewels with the help of her antique dealer Albert Stopford.

After her death in 1920, the Grand Duchess’ family sold the jewelry. Eventual owners included Woolworths heiress Barbara Hutton, Elizabeth Taylor and Queen Mary. Queen Mary bought the damaged Vladimir Tiara, repairing it so it could host the Cambridge Emeralds.

The tiara became the property of Queen Elizabeth who had the gold frame replaced with platinum and frequently wore it at formal events.

The Cullinan III & IV Brooch (Granny’s Chips)

Queen Elizabeth wore the Cullinan brooch on the balcony for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

Queen Elizabeth wore the Cullinan brooch on the balcony for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012.Credit:Reuters Pool

Brooches may have less impact than tiaras, but the Cullinan III and IV brooch features two spectacular diamonds valued at over £50 million ($93 million). The room is nicknamed Granny’s Chips, a nickname given to the room by Queen Elizabeth II when it belonged to her grandmother Queen Mary.

Cullinan III is a 94.4 carat pear shaped drop and Cullinan IV is a 63.6 carat cushion shaped stone, both cut from the original Cullinan stone. Discovered in South Africa in 1905, the Cullinan was the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever mined. The gem was gifted to King Edward VII in 1907.

Cullinan I ascended the Sovereign’s Scepter with Cross and Cullinan II is now part of the Imperial State Crown.

The brooch was reserved by Queen Elizabeth II for important occasions, such as her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

The Greville Legacy

Along with salvaged Romanov jewelry and Queen Mary artifacts, many of the Queen’s most recognizable pieces come from Margaret Greville’s collection. The illegitimate daughter of a millionaire brewer and his married cook, Greville married the heir to a baronetcy and acquired a considerable jewelry collection thanks to the patronage of Boucheron and Cartier.

Margaret Greville photographed October 5, 1900.

Margaret Greville photographed October 5, 1900.Credit:Victoria & Albert Museum

A close friend of Queen Mary, Greville left the bulk of her jewelery to the Queen Mother when she died in 1942. According to the UK National Trust, the jewelery was delivered in an unremarkable tin box along with her entire undocumented content.

The Greville Tiara

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall wearing the Grevillle Tiara during a visit to Sri Lanka.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall wearing the Grevillle Tiara during a visit to Sri Lanka.Credit:Getty

The honeycomb tiara was commissioned by Greville from Boucheron in 1921 and modified by Cartier for the petite queen mother in 1953 for greater height. The tiara was loaned by Queen Elizabeth to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall who wore it on several official engagements.

The Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara

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Princess Eugenie arrives for her wedding ceremony to Jack Brooksbank at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, wearing the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara.Credit:PA

Left to the Queen Mother in 1942, the 93.7-carat Emerald Kokoshnik tiara resurfaced after decades at the bottom of a safe, worn by Princess Eugenie during her 2018 wedding to Jack Brooksbank. Created by Boucheron in 1919 in the “kokoshnik” style favored by the fallen Russian Imperial Court, the tiara was lent to Princess Eugenie by Queen Elizabeth.

The tiara caused controversy when a biographer suggested it was Meghan Markle’s first choice for her wedding to Prince Harry.

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