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New Exhibition to Display Princess Diana’s Iconic Wedding Tiara

Elisabeth Edwards

The Spencer Tiara, famously worn by Princess Diana on her wedding day, will soon be on display to the public for the first time in decades!

Marking 70 years in style

Charles kissing Diana's hand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace
(Photo Credit: Princess Diana Archive / Getty Images)

This summer, auction house Sotheby’s will feature the tiara alongside several others for a new exhibition “Power & Image: Royal & Aristocratic Tiaras.” The exhibit opens in London on May 28th and will display 50 royal tiaras ahead of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, which marks the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation 70 years ago.

Kristian Spofforth, the Head of Jewelry at Sotheby’s London, said, “The Queen’s Jubilee celebrations have given us the perfect opportunity to put on public display an outstanding selection of tiaras from noble and royal provenance. This is also a wonderful moment for us to shine a special light on the dazzling craftsmanship delivered by generations of mainly British-based jewellers across several centuries of tiara making.”

A tiara fit for a princess

Prince Charles and Princess Diana following their wedding ceremony
Prince Charles and Princess Diana after their wedding at St Pauls Cathedral. (Photo Credit: Ron Burton /Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

On July 29, 1981, Lady Diana Spencer stepped out of the glass coach at St. Paul’s Cathedral wearing an extravagant silk taffeta gown adorned in lace, 10,000 pearls, and a 25-foot-long train designed by British designers The Emanuels. As per Lady Di’s request, the train was the longest in royal wedding history.

As a touching nod to her family, Diana chose to wear the Spencer Tiara over one from the Queen’s collection. The Spencer Tiara has been in the family for a century. It was originally a wedding gift to Lady Cynthia Hamilton, Diana’s grandmother, from Lady Sarah Spencer in 1919. The original tiara was created for the Viscountess Montagu in 1797.

Family heirlooms

Princess Diana wears the Spencer tiara at an event in Tasmania
Princess Diana at a state reception in Tasmania wearing the Spencer family tiara. (Photo Credit: Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)

More from us: Charles And Diana: A Look Back At The Wedding Of The Century

In the 1930s, other family heirlooms were added to the original tiara to create what we know as the Spencer Tiara. The tiara was a favorite of Diana’s, which she wore seven times after her wedding and before her death in 1997 (royal brides are not permitted to wear a tiara until their wedding day). But will other Spencer brides wear the tiara on their big day?

Princess Diana’s niece Lady Amelia Spencer became engaged to her long-time boyfriend Greg Mallett in 2020 – and the couple is planning to host their nuptials at Diana’s family home Althorp House in the near future, and the bride-to-be could choose to tribute to her late aunt by adorning the family heirloom on the big day!

Elisabeth Edwards

Elisabeth Edwards is a public historian and history content writer. After completing her Master’s in Public History at Western University in Ontario, Canada Elisabeth has shared her passion for history as a researcher, interpreter, and volunteer at local heritage organizations.

She also helps make history fun and accessible with her podcast The Digital Dust Podcast, which covers topics on everything from art history to grad school.

In her spare time, you can find her camping, hiking, and exploring new places. Elisabeth is especially thrilled to share a love of history with readers who enjoy learning something new every day!

The Digital Dust Podcast