Princess Charlotte, the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, will most likely inherit a plethora of jewels and accessories as she grows older, but one special family heirloom she may inherit is the exquisite Spencer Tiara.
The tiara was famously worn by her maternal grandmother Diana, Princess of Wales on her wedding day in 1981, after it was also worn by her older sisters Baroness Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodale at their weddings in 1978 and 1980, respectively.
The tiara was inherited by their father, John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer, in the mid-1970s, and it is now set to be inherited by Princess Charlotte, according to Sotheby’s auction house, which is displaying it in their Power & Image: Royal & Aristocratic Tiaras exhibition in London this week.
“The Spencer Tiara is one of the most famous diadems in modern history, having been worn by Princess Diana at her wedding,” according to the catalog note. The tiara was reportedly created in 1767 for Viscountess Montagu and remodeled by Garrard in the 1930s: the central motif was allegedly gifted by Lady Sarah Spencer to Viscountess Althorp, Princess Diana’s grandmother, in 1919, after which more motifs were added, resulting in the current design.
“The tiara was inherited by John Spencer, the 8th Earl Spencer, in the mid-1970s. It was later worn at the weddings of all three of his daughters: Lady Jane in 1978, Lady Sarah in 1980, and Lady Diana the following year, in 1981. Celia McCorquodale, niece of the 10th Earl Spencer Charles, most recently wore the tiara at her wedding in the spring of 2018. Princess Charlotte will now be the heir to the Spencer Tiara.”
When Diana wore the tiara on her wedding day to Prince Charles in July 1981, she looked stunning. The headpiece is designed in the style of a garland, with a central heart flanked by continuous running scrolls and star and trumpet-shaped flowers interspersed. It is encrusted with circular and rose-cut diamonds, as well as cushion and pear-shaped diamonds, and is set in gold.
Over 40 British and European tiaras will be on display at Sotheby’s, most of which have been passed down through families for generations and are rarely loaned for public display. The exhibition will be on display at the auction house’s London headquarters on New Bond Street from May 28 to June 15 (closed 5 June).
The tiara is still in the possession of Diana’s brother Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, despite the fact that the catalogue states Charlotte will inherit it. Charles Spencer lives at Althorp House in Northamptonshire, where he inherited the estate as the eldest son at the age of 27.
The Earl has five daughters from his three marriages, and they may inherit the cherished headpiece as well.