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Jewels from Royal Families: The Delhi Durbar Tiara

A look at the Queens Delhi Durbar Tiara, when it is usually worn, how it came to be in the British Royal Family and who should inherit it.

By Aashna WoodinPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
The Delhi Durbar Tiara

The Delhi Durbar Tiara is a circlet headpiece featuring diamond ringlets and garlands. It is set in platinum and gold and originally had 10 emerald drops which made it unusually tall for a tiara. Queen Mary had the emeralds removed and customised the tiara so other jewels could be fastened on top of the tiara.

Queen Mary wearing the Delhi Durbar Tiara with the emeralds still attached in 1912

There are very specific rules on how to wear a tiara, when to wear a tiara and who can wear a tiara. Tiara's are usually worn at events after 5 pm unless it is a wedding then brides are permitted to wear them. They are usually worn at state visits, inaugurations, coronations, balls and royal dinners. Princesses and ladies under the age of 18 as an unwritten rule are not permitted to wear tiaras and were usually gifted one on their 18th birthdays so they could start wearing them to royal events. Nowadays Princesses usually wear their first tiara on their wedding day. The rebellious Princess Margaret would wear a tiara to almost every event including to the theatre or even to dinner.

The Delhi Durbar Tiara was specifically made for a coronation ceremony for King George V and Queen Mary called the Durbar in India to mark the new emperor and empress of India. It was held on the 12th of December 1911 and King George V and Queen Mary were the first to attend the event in person as India was under British rule then and they were considered to be the Emperor and Empress of India. The Imperial State Crown Jewels are not permitted to be taken out of Great Britain so a new diadem was created by the Crown's official jewellers at Garrad. It was made by dismantling the Boucheron Loop Tiara and using the diamonds to create the new Delhi Durbar Tiara. This was a common practice for Queen Mary who would often have pieces of jewellery dismantled to re-create new pieces.

Queen Mary wore the Boucheron Loop Tiara when she was Princess of Wales

Queen Mary gave the tiara on permanent loan to her daughter in law, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother who wore the tiara during a royal tour to South Africa in 1947.

The Queen Mother wearing the Delhi Durbar Tiara on a Royal Tour in South Africa 1947

Queen Elizabeth II inherited the tiara from her mother but has never worn the tiara in public. The tiara is currently on permanent loan to Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. She wore the tiara to a dinner for the Norwegian royal family in 2005. It caused quite the excitement with many suggesting that she looked quite queenly. It also showed the Queen's support for Camilla by loaning the tiara to her.

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall wearing the Delhi Durbar Tiaia in 2005

The Delhi Durbar Tiara should be handed down to Princess Margaret's daughter, Lady Sarah Chatto. Princess Margaret always had a penchant for showing off the royal families jewels and adored wearing tiaras. The Delhi Durbar Tiara has been hidden away from public view for so long that it should go to the descendant of someone like Princess Margaret who knew how to wear tiaras with a certain style and sophistication. Lady Sarah Chatto is a professional painter and is represented by the contemporary and modern, Redfern Gallery. Lady Sarah Chatto would appreciate the tiara's intricate details and the work of art that it is. The detailed design of the festoons and scrolls stand out from the other tiaras in the Queen's collection and although the tiara is currently on loan to the Duchess of Cornwall I believe it should go to a descendant of someone who adored tiaras and who will appreciate the intricate artistic details of the Delhi Durbar Tiara.


About the Creator

Aashna Woodin

A true critic of pop culture.

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