The tiara, also referred to as “Granny’s Tiara”, is one of Queen Elizabeth’s favourite pieces of jewelery. It was a wedding gift to Elizabeth by her devoted grandmother Queen Mary in 1947 along with a number of other pieces. However the tiara had originally been given to Princess Mary of Teck (later Queen Mary) as a wedding present in 1893 by a committee started by Lady Eve Greville. The committee was established to raise money to purchase a wedding gift from the ‘Girls of Great Britain and Ireland’. They collected over £5,000 and bought the diamond tiara from Garrard.
In the original form (1893) the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara was in a diamond festoon and scroll design with nine large upright pearls on diamond spikes. This was set on a diamond lozenge patterned bandeau base and in this configuration the tiara could also be worn as a necklace.
The tiara was altered in 1914 when Queen Mary choose to remove the upright pearls and replaced them with large diamonds. At this stage the bandeau base was also removed thus allowing her to use this as a headband following the styles of the 1920s.
In 1947, Queen Mary gifted Princess Elizabeth the tiara in 2 separate pieces as a wedding present. (The tiara and bandeau displayed separately in 1947 at St James’s Palace). There are no reports or photographs of the Queen ever wearing the bandeau separately as a headband.
In 1969, the Queen decided to have the bandeau reattached to the tiara and this is how it remains today. Known to be incredibly light it has become the tiara most associated with the Queen. In the summer of 2007, Buckingham Palace put on a display of a selection of presents given to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947 to mark their diamond wedding anniversary. The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara was one of the highlights of the display.