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Princess Margaret Wore an Emerald Tiara for Her Wedding — Learn Its Backstory

Busayo Ogunjimi
Sep 14, 2020
02:40 P.M.

Princess Margaret's wedding tiara caused a stir in the 20th century. The magnificent tiara has a captivating story, one that involves breaking the royal traditions.

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Princess Margaret attended her wedding in style. This style was not acceptable in the royal society, but the Princess always had a tendency for rebellion.

Speaking about herself, Margaret reportedly said she found joy in disobedience, and she proved this when she broke many of the royal rules during her days.

Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (1930 - 2002) arrives in England after her tour of Canada, 12th August 1958. | Photo: Getty Images

Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (1930 - 2002) arrives in England after her tour of Canada, 12th August 1958. | Photo: Getty Images

The tiara worn by Margaret is known as the Poltimore Tiara. The piece of jewelry, which belonged to Lady Poltimore, was purchased from the royal jewelers in 1870. Lady Poltimore first wore the stunning accessory in 1911 for the coronation of King George V.

The tiara was later put up for auction in 1959 by Lady Poltimore's grandson, 4th Baron Poltimore. Princess Margaret bought it at the auction, for £5,500. This was the first norm shaken as it was not common for ladies to buy jewelry at the time.

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Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (1930 - 2002), visits the Royal Asscher Diamond Company in Amsterdam, Netherlands, 19th May 1965. | Photo: Getty Images

Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (1930 - 2002), visits the Royal Asscher Diamond Company in Amsterdam, Netherlands, 19th May 1965. | Photo: Getty Images

The Poltimore Tiara was a special piece. It could be broken down into a necklace and 11 different brooches. The tiara was made of diamond scrolls set in a gold-and-silver metal frame.

The tiara was lined with a brown ribbon that matched the color of Margaret's hair. The ribbon blended completely with her hair and gave the feeling that the tiara was floating as only the jewels could be seen.

Princess Margaret leaves for Westminster Abbey for her wedding with Antony Armstrong-Jones on May 6, 1960. | Photo: Getty Images

Princess Margaret leaves for Westminster Abbey for her wedding with Antony Armstrong-Jones on May 6, 1960. | Photo: Getty Images

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In her haste to wear the jewelry, the late Princess broke another tradition. The first time a woman was supposed to wear a tiara was at her wedding, but Margaret wore the Poltimore Tiara on several occasions before her wedding and engagement.

She wore it in May 1959 for the state visit of the Shah of Iran, and also wore it to the opera house as a necklace, later that year. A year and a half after she bought the tiara — 6th May 1960 — Princess Margaret wore it to her wedding.

Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (1930 - 2002) arrives in England after her tour of Canada, 12th August 1958. | Photo: Getty Images

Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (1930 - 2002) arrives in England after her tour of Canada, 12th August 1958. | Photo: Getty Images

At that time, a lady was expected to wear a family heirloom for her wedding. This was not the only wedding rule the Princess broke, as she also married a commoner — being the first princess to do so in hundreds of years. Her husband, Anthony Armstrong, was a photographer.

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Armstrong once took a nude photograph of Margaret in a bathtub while the Poltimore Tiara sat proudly on her head. The picture was released in 2006, four years after the death of the princess. This was how the tiara made its biggest appearance ever.

Princess Margaret dancing with her husband Antony Armstrong-Jones at the Canadian Women's Club Centenary Ball on April 18, 1967. | Photo: Getty Images

Princess Margaret dancing with her husband Antony Armstrong-Jones at the Canadian Women's Club Centenary Ball on April 18, 1967. | Photo: Getty Images

Bartos, an expert on Princess Margaret and English jewelers in her time, revealed that the princess had a unique and progressive taste in jewelry. She wore modern, classic, and contemporary pieces, and in all, Margaret was the image of a modern royal.

After her death, an auction of her private collection was held by Christie's. The Poltimore Tiara was also put up, and was bought by a private buyer for 926,400 pounds, which is about $1.1 million.

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