Monday, October 15, 2018

The Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara

Cheerio, all! Susanne "Royal Wedding Watcher" Dietze here.

File:Princess Eugenie, 2013 (cropped).jpg
Princess Eugenie at the 2013 Trooping of the Color. Public Domain.
When I set out to jot down a blog post about the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara that Princess Eugenie wore at her wedding last Friday to Jack Brooksbank, I thought I wouldn't have a problem finding oodles of historical photos of the piece to share. A quick google search would be required--with one caveat. The photos would have to be labeled for reuse, of course. Royalty-free.

Easy peasy, right?

Ha! Was I wrong.

I can't find one photo from Eugenie's big day that I can share without fearing the Photo Police will come calling...nor can I find one photo of the tiara, which is almost a hundred years old. Why the lack of available historical photos of it?

Here's why: The Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara hasn't been seen in over 75 years. In fact, some people weren't sure the diamond and emerald stunner actually existed until Princess Eugenie wore it at her wedding.

Sounds mysterious, doesn't it?

Let's delve into its history!

The tiara, also known as the Greville tiara, was crafted by a Parisian jewelry house, Boucheron, for Dame Margaret Greville in 1919.
File:Margaret Greville circa 1920.jpg
Dame Margaret and a canine friend, circa 1920. Public Domain.
Greville was a close friend of the royal family, and she gave the tiara to Elizabeth, the Queen Consort (or the Queen Mother, as many of us know her) in 1942. In fact, she gave over sixty pieces of her large and valuable collection of jewelry to the Queen Mother. Many of the pieces have never been seen.
File:Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother portrait.jpg
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, portrait by Richard Stone, 1986. Public Domain.
We (meaning: the world) know this particular tiara existed because there was a photo of it in a book called Boucheron: The Secret Archives by Vincent Meylan. But we (meaning: the world) have never seen it worn by a member of the royal family. Apparently, Greville was known to change her jewelry, and it was possible she used the stones for other items.

That didn't happen here, and clearly the tiara was inherited by Queen Elizabeth II when her mother passed away in 2002. The Queen graciously loaned it to her granddaughter, Princess Eugenie, for her wedding!
Queen Elizabeth II toasts with President George Bush in the State Dining Room, White House, 2007. She wears the "Girls of Great Britain" Tiara. Public Domain.
The tiara is comprised of brilliant and rose-cut diamonds set in platinum, with a central emerald (93 carats!) and smaller emeralds on the sides. Kokoshnik refers to the style, which was made popular in the Russian imperial court.

While many suspected Eugenie would wear the York Tiara, like her mother wore, she chose this stunning piece instead. She also decided to forego a veil, perhaps to reveal the scar she received from scoliosis surgery when she was 12.

To see fifty photos of the wedding, the tiara, and all the fun, click People magazine, here.


What did you think of the Greville tiara?


Susanne Dietze has been a Royal Wedding Watcher since she was a kid and Diana Spencer married Prince Charles. Her novel The Reluctant Guardian just won the Book Buyer's Best Contest for Best Inspirational Romance.


  1. Congratulations on your award. Hooray for The Reluctant Guardian!

    The tiara was lovely, and I love this behind the scenes look at it. Wouldn't it be fun to have a granny with a museum's worth of tiaras? Do you suppose they sat down and went through the list? That Emerald seemed to be the key to the color scheme of the wedding and guests. I haven't seen much more than a few photos. A very windy day for fascinators and full, short, skirts! Maybe Eugenie saw that tiara as a child and asked if she could wear it someday.

    Thanks for digging up some royal news for us, Susie!

    1. Ah yes, to be able to say, "Granny, I'd like an emerald green color scheme for my big day." And for her to reply, "I have several options for you, poppet."

      I suppose the thing that struck me foremost was that once the tiara came into royal possession, no one has worn it. Makes me wonder how many other items there are that no one has worn or seen.

      Eugenie was expected to wear the York tiara. I'm glad she did the unexpected!

      I caught some photos after the fact, too, and boy did it look windy!

      Maybe someday I can find a photo labeled for re-use to share! LOL

    2. Thank you so much for the kind congratulations! I didn't expect to win...the other authors are lovely and so are their books. It was a surprise and a delight, for sure!

  2. and now. OH DEAR. I do feel that the #royalbaby announcement could have waited a week. Poor Eugenie. always a bridesmaid never a bride, even in her own wedding. She moved her wedding for Harry and Meghan's and now the royal baby news is sort of stealing her very short spotlight.
    What do you think, Susie?

    1. You know, when I saw Meghan in that loose coat, I said "she's pregnant." But I was glad they hadn't announced yet, so they didn't steal the spotlight from Eugenie. Then I saw they told the family at the wedding. I understand telling their relatives all at once, while they were gathered, but I sort of wish it hadn't been announced to the world for a week or so. Maybe they felt they needed to, since Harry and Meghan are on tour now, and they'll need the news out there to explain some things (if Meghan has morning sickness, for example). I read this morning there's concern about Zika.

      Nevertheless ... Eugenie was a lovely bride and I wish her and Jack every happiness.

    2. The same thought went through my mind too, when I saw Meghan's outfit. I'm of the mind that they tried to hide it as long as they could for Princess Eugenie's sake and then gave the announcement before rumors started flying. After all, negative speculation could arise from trying to keep it secret and that would have tarnished memories of Eugenie's special time. Announcing it as they had led to a family show of support and good news for all.

  3. Congrats on your award, Susie!!! So well deserved.
    And, I love the tiara Eugenie wore. So classy. I think she looked amazing! I was slightly annoyed by the pregnancy speculation of Megan. I think it's annoying when people focus on who they think is "major" and take focus away from the actual person who should be focused on at that moment.

    1. Hi Nicole! HUG! Thank you so much!

      I love the tiara, too. Just stunning.

      And I agree--it was Eugenie and Jack's day. Kind of a breach of etiquette to announce the pregnancy right there and then. I hope Eugenie and Jack are enjoying their honeymoon (wherever they are)--they've been so gracious about everything. At least, it seems so to me! LOL

  4. Congratulations, Susie!

    Thanks for this post. Princess Eugenie looked wonderful on her wedding day with the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara. Certainly looked like a princess.


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