Tiara Thursday: The Spencer Tiara

© Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer.

The Spencer family is one of the oldest aristocratic families in Britain. In fact, I once read somewhere that Lady Diana Spencer had more royalty in her lineage than Prince Charles. Naturally such an illustrious family would be in possession of a few tiaras. One of their tiaras is the Spencer Tiara made world-famous by Diana, Princess of Wales.

Though two pieces set towards the back of the tiara date to the late 18th century, the Spencer Tiara was made by Garrard in the 1930s. The tiara’s design motif features diamond foliage, flowers and a heart-shaped center. The tiara is mounted in gold and the diamonds are set in silver. The two older elements of the tiara were probably owned by Frances, Viscountess Montagu and left to Lady Sarah Spencer in 1875. The heart-shaped design was a gift from Lady Sarah Spencer to Cynthia, Viscountess Althorp as a wedding present in 1919. In 1937, Garrard created this tiara by combining the heart-shaped motif with the two older Spencer elements, plus by adding a few modern elements.

The late Princess of Wales wearing her family’s ancestral tiara.

While the tiara has elements that are very old, it is very much a 20th century tiara made famous in 1981 when Lady Diana Spencer wore it as her nuptial diadem.

Whenever I see this tiara I can’t help but think of our dear Diana and I don’t think that will ever change. It’s a beautiful diamond tiara which suited her very well. Today it’s owned by her brother, Charles Spencer, the 9th Earl Spencer.


Tiaras: A History of Splendour by Geoffrey C. Munn