Lady Diana and the Spencer Tiara

Lady Diana and the Spencer Tiara

The sweet reference that Princess Diana made to her family with her choice of wedding tiara


On 29 July 1981, Lady Diana Spencer stepped out at St Paul's Cathedral with her father, Earl Spencer, to say "Yes" to Prince Charles, watched by 3,500 guests and another 750 million people on television.

Not only did her wedding dress, designed by the Emanuels, become one of the most famous wedding dresses of the era, the tiara chosen by Diana for her wedding day was also a fitting and interesting choice.

Completing her silk taffeta gown and 7 metre train was a family heirloom that has been in the hands of the Spencer family for almost a century. Called the Spencer Tiara, the piece was created in different elements. In 1919, the main central part of the tiara was a wedding gift to Lady Cynthia Hamilton, Diana's grandmother, when she married Viscount Althorp. It was a gift from Lady Sarah Spencer, the unmarried cousin of Viscount Althorop.

Other parts of the bandeau diamond tiara are reported to belong to Lady Sarah's collection, which she apparently acquired in the 1870s. It was not until the 1930s that Garrard Jewellers was contracted to transform the pieces into what is now known as the Spencer tiara.

Princess Diana was not the first bride to wear the piece on her wedding day, Diana's two older sisters, Lady Sarah Spencer (now Sarah McCorquadale) and Lady Jane Spencer (now Jane Fellowes) wore the Spencer tiara at their nuptials before Diana in 1981.

After Diana, the Spencer tiara was worn by Victoria Lockwood when she married Diana's brother Charles Spencer (the ninth earl) in 1989.

Diana, however, still wore the tiara after her marriage, especially at milestone events. Some have reported that she preferred the Lover's Knot Cambridge tiara, a royal tiara she got when she married Prince Charles and which she used to complain gave her headaches.

After his death in 1997, the Spencer tiara was returned to his brother and remains in the family collection to this day.

In 2018, the tiara reappeared atop the head of Celia McCorquodale, daughter of Princess Diana's sister Lady Sarah, when she married George Woodhouse at a church in Stoke Rochford, Lincolnshire.

Perhaps we will see the tiara soon - Earl Spencer's daughter Lady Kitty Spencer recently announced her engagement, and the glittering heirloom would be a truly special choice.


The Spencer Tiara

On 29 July 1981, when Lady Diana Spencer stepped down from her carriage at St Paul's Cathedral to marry Prince Charles, her magnificent wedding veil was held in place by a glittering vintage tiara worthy of any new princess.


Lady Diana was a member of the Spencer Family, one of England's oldest aristocratic families that can trace its history back to the Norman Conquest of 1066. Like most members of the British Upper Class, the Spencers have several tiaras at their disposal.

This particular tiara was constructed in the 1930s by crown jeweller, Garrad. Composed of different heirlooms dating back to the 1870s, the headpiece eventually consisted of stylised flowers with diamonds, foliage and a heart-shaped central element, all decorated in silver and gold.

Lady Cynthia Spencer (Diana's grandmother) was the first to wear the tiara, although very few images exist. The fantastic Instagram account British Royal Jewels found a rare image of Lady Cynthia wearing it in

Lady Cynthia was a Lady of the Bedchamber(lady who helped the Queen in her bedroom) to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and can be seen here in the background wearing the Spencer Tiara to banquet in 1956.

Lady Cynthia's son Charles, Viscount Althorp was Princess Diana's father and all three daughters chose to wear the family tiara on their wedding day. Lady Jane Spencer (now Jane Fellowes) first wore it in 1978 and Lady Sarah (now Sarah McCorquadale) wore it again in 1980.

 But the tiara became truly iconic when Lady Diana Spencer wore it at her wedding to Charles, Prince of Wales, on 29 July 1981.

After becoming Princess of Wales, Diana would mix her family tiara with her new royal jewellery, including her Saudi Sapphire Suite and Prince of Wales pendant.

As future Queen, Diana was required to wear a tiara to many formal and international events. Although she was presented with the Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara, some have suggested that she preferred the Spencer as it was lighter and easier to wear.

After her separation from Prince Charles in 1992, Diana wore her family tiara in public for the last time at a reception for the King and Queen of Malaysia in 1993.

Upon her death in 1997, the Spencer family decided to put the family tiara on display in an exhibition commemorating Diana's life.

As the tiara is still in the possession of the Spencer family, it is still worn by its female members.

In 2018, Celia McCorquodale, (daughter of Diana's sister Lady Sarah), chose to wear it when she married George Woodhouse in Stoke Rochford, Lincolnshire.

The fourth series of the popular Netflix drama 'The Crown' portrays a young Princess Diana and her first experiences within the royal family.

In episode three 'Fairytale', we see actress Emma Corrin wearing a (slightly exaggerated) replica Spencer Tiara.


Lady Diana and the Spencer Tiara

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