The coronation of a British sovereign is a unique moment in every sense, and also in terms of display of jewels. In no other ceremony worldwide there is such a display of jewels and long gala dresses. The scenes at Westminster Abbey, with the Peeresses of the Kingdom going up the nave with their crimson trimmed with ermine (a lifetime occasion for many to wear the formal peerage clothing) were the most awesome sight that could be imagined. Most of the Peeresses as well as all the British and foreign princesses wore their most magnificent jewels to match the splendour of the ceremony.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on her arrival to the Abbey, wore King George IV State Diadem, a splendid piece of jewellery which had been a favourite to Queen Victoria and would become a favourite for Queen Elizabeth in the future. Her mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, wore the circlet of the platinum crown created for her in 1937, for the Coronation. The Queen Mother did not wear the arches of the crown, though. HRH the Princess Margaret wore the Small Diamond Scroll Tiara, which belonged to her mother.
This magnificent, elegant and sober crown of diamonds mounted in platinum was created in 1937 for HM Queen Elizabeth, when she was crowned as consort of King George VI. As Queen Mary had done in 1937, the new Queen Mother only wore the circlet of her crown without the arches at the Coronation of her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II. On the front of the Queen Mother’s Crown, and also on the front of the circlet as she wore it, is set the splendid and historic Koh-I-noor diamond.
Beautiful picture of HRH the Countess of Barcelona (born Princess of Borbón-Two Sicilies and consort to the Head of the Spanish Royal Family, HRH the Count of Barcelona), made on the day of the Coronation. She wears the splendid Fleur-de-lys Tiara, ordered by King Alfonso XIII to his bride, Princess Victoria Eugenia of Battemberg, born a British Princess. According to the late Countess of Barcelona, this was the only time that she wore this historic tiara, the most important of the Spanish royal collection.
HRH the Crown Princess Märtha of Norway, born Princess of Sweden wore the impressive tiara of diamonds and emeralds which is said to have belonged to Empress Josephine of France and passed on to the Swedish Royal Family through the granddaughter of the Empress, Queen Josephine of Sweden.
HRH the Duchess of Gloucester, born Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott, daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensbury, wears the tiara given to her by her mother-in-law, HM Queen Mary. The diamond tiara is decorated with a graduated frieze of stylised honeysuckle.
The elegant and regal Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, born a Princess of Greece and Denmark, wore the same jewels she had worn to the Coronation of her brother-in-law, King George VI, in 1937. The tiara, made in the beginning of the 20th century, is arranged as a series of graduated pinnacles of diamonds, each surmounted by a pearl, with a gallery of pearls below.
Princess Marie Louise – seen on the middle of the picture, in the front of the Prince of Ličge – was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria who had been briefly married to the Duke of Anhalt and had had her marriage annulled; she lived through six British reigns: Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, King George V, King Edward VIII, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. She owned an impressive jewel collection, which included this impressive elaborate Cartier tiara in Indian style: it is set with diamonds, pearls and sapphires.
Even if she owned impressive jewels, Lady Churchill, apparently decided that none of those was fit for the Coronation. In the picture she is seen leaving Downing Street on the morning of the Coronation in her robes of Dame of the Order of the British Empire. She wears an elegant Cartier tiara that was made for her friend Adele, the American wife of the seventh Earl of Essex, who had died in 1922.