How Princess Margaret Breaks Tradition with Her Wedding Tiara

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By RichardLederman

The Crown is a Netflix series that has made many fans familiar with Princess Margaret, Countess de Snowdon, the younger sister to the Queen and wild child of royal family. Princess Margaret was a rebel in almost every area of her life. She broke royal protocol and challenged age-old traditions. So it should not surprise that Princess Margaret’s 1960 wedding to Antony Armstrong Jones was just as extraordinary, with her chosen wedding tiara.

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What Tiara did Princess Margaret Wear to Her Wedding Day?

Lady Poltimore originally owned the Poltimore tiara. She bought it from Garrard, a royal jeweler back in 1870. It passed through her family and ended up in the hands her fourth baron poltimore. He sold it to Princess Margaret in 1959 at an auction for around $7,500. It was unique in that it had a closed circuit design, unlike other royal tiaras which are semi-circular and don’t actually cover the entire head. According to Christie’s listing, it featured a whole row of “cushion-shaped” and old-cut clusters of diamonds, which were alternating with scroll motifs that were diamond-set, and each topped by old-cut terminals.

Who else has worn the Poltimore Tiara.

The Poltimore tiara was first owned by Lady Poltimore. It is closely associated with Princess Margaret. The diadem worn by Lady Poltimore to the coronation in 1911 of King George V was a highlight. The tiara was also worn by Princess Margaret, who showed it off at a Shah of Iran state visit in May 1959, before she got engaged. She wore the tiara again to an event at The Royal Opera House in May 1959, but she changed it into a necklace for that event.

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Surprising Facts about Princess Margaret’s Wedding Tiara

The bold decision of Princess Margaret to purchase her own tiara was quite courageous and she became a leader within the royal family. The same thing happened to Princess Diana years later when she rejected Queen Elizabeth’s Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara in favour of the Spencer tiara, a family heirloom. Queen Elizabeth II used to loan crown jewels to brides at royal weddings. She did this for Princess Beatrice, Meghan Markle and Princess Eugenie. For Princess Margaret, and later for Diana, Princess of Wales, choosing their own tiaras would be seen as an assertion of their status within the House of Windsor.

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Vogue spoke with Sara Prentice, House of Garrard’s creative director. “We are finding more women buying for themselves now, but in 1959 she made the decision to buy it herself. It must have been something she loved to do. These are some other facts that we don’t know about Princess Margaret’s wedding veil.

You can wear the tiara as a necklace, or break it into 11 brooches.

The versatility of the Poltimore tiara is one of its most distinctive features. Garrard designed it to be worn as a necklace, or as 11 different brooches. The tiara was worn by Princess Margaret as a fringe necklace both before and after the 1960 wedding. The listing by Christie states that the smallest screwdriver is all you need to reconfigure the diamond tiered tiara.

The illusion of floating was created by adding extra fabric to the tiara.

Garrard intended the tiara to sit high on the head. Vogue reports that a piece brown ribbon was tied into the frame of the tiara to ensure that Princess Margaret would wear it. The rest of the sparkling diadem could be seen.

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This iconic photo is no more available for public viewing.

A photograph of Princess Margaret, smiling coquettishly in a bathtub four years after her death was published. It showed Princess Margaret wearing only the Poltimore tiara. Lord Snowdon, her husband at that time, took the image in Kensington Palace’s bathroom. It was called “Dip in Diamonds”. The image was quietly taken out of public view eleven years later by the royal family after Lord Snowdon’s death. The iconic image of a young royal having some flirty fun still captivated the public’s imagination. In season 3, that scene was reimagined with Helena Bonham Carter as the boundary-pushing princess.