Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara: The £5m diadem worn by three royal brides- how it broke for one

Queen Mary's Fringe tiara: Expert on Queen's wedding tiara

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The Queen chose the glittering tiara for her wedding to Prince Philip in 1947. It was a loan from The Queen Mother who had been given the tiara by Queen Mary in 1936. Famously, the tiara snapped when it was placed on the Queen’s head and had to be quickly mended by a jeweller from Garrard on the morning of her wedding day.

This quick restoration job can be seen in close up images from the day.

There is a small space between the central fringe and the large spike immediately to its right.

The space is due to the hasty frame repair that morning.

The tiara had to be taken by police escort to the Garrard workroom for the quick fix.

Her Majesty explained how the tiara came to break during a tour of the Buckingham Palace exhibition of Kate Middleton’s wedding gown in 2011.

Speaking about the tiara with Kate, the Queen explained: “The catch, which I didn’t know existed, it suddenly went [gestures with her hands].

“And I didn’t know it was a necklace, you see…I thought I’d broken it…we stuck it all together again, but I was rather alarmed…”

In the book Garrard: The Crown Jewelers for 150 Years, it is said the Queen Mother calmed Elizabeth down by saying “We have two hours and there are other tiaras.”

But Elizabeth was determined and waited for Queen Mary’s Fringe to be repaired.

Elizabeth is not the only royal bride to wear this tiara – Princess Anne chose it for her wedding to Mark Phillips in 1973, again a loan from the Queen Mother.

Then in 2020, Princess Beatrice wore the glittering tiara full of royal history.

Also, Beatrice’s wedding dress was adapted from a Norman Hartnell dress previously worn by the Queen.

After the Queen Mother’s death in 2002, the fringe tiara passed to Queen Elizabeth, and she has worn it on a few occasions since, including for her New Zealand’s Diamond Jubilee Portrait.

Like much of the jewellery in the Queen’s collection, this originated with Queen Mary.

Fringe tiaras became popular among royalty and aristocracy after they became fashionable at the imperial court of the Romanovs.

Queen Mary had this made in 1919 according to the fashions of the time and it is not the only fringe style tiara in the Queen’s collection.

It is often confused with Queen Adelaide’s Fringe, a smaller, more delicate piece made in 1831 and worn by many British royals in history.

Queen Elizabeth is not known to have worn this piece publicly.

Queen Mary’s Fringe was made by E. Wolff and Co. for Garrard in 1919.

It consists of diamonds set in gold and silver and features 47 diamond bars separated by smaller diamond spikes.

The diamonds were not actually new, as they were a part of a piece made by Collingwood that Queen Victoria gave to Mary in 1893.

Mary wore the Collingwood, which could be styled as a tiara or a necklace on her wedding day.

Speaking about the stunning Queen Mary’s Fringe, Alexandra Michell Gemmologist Prestige Pawnbrokers of Channel 4’s Posh Pawn told Express.co.uk: “With such rich history and attracting huge global interest, I would estimate this Tiara’s worth at £5million.”

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