The Queen’s 70-year anniversary is just around the corner, and everyone is preparing to celebrate in style. From bank holidays to official Platinum Jubilee events at Buckingham Palace, afternoon teas fit for a royal to champagne masterclasses, there's plenty on offer. Now, Sotheby’s is marking the occasion in the most glamorous way, by hosting a series of events and displaying 50 rare aristocratic tiaras for the first time.
The special exhibition will chart the most impressive stately jewellery since the late 18th century, including the Spencer tiara previously worn by Princess Diana.
The tiara was initially created in 1767 and passed down through generations in the Spencer family. Princess Diana most famously wore it more than 40 years ago, as she walked down the aisle at St. Paul's Cathedral to marry Prince Charles. It will now be exhibited in London for the first time since the 1960s.
Princess Diana loved wearing the special piece, and was often seen wearing it to white-tie events, special occasions and royal tours throughout 1983 until 1992. The Spencer tiara features a garland style with a heart-shaped centre, surrounded by diamonds and florals created from silver and gold. The heart-shaped piece was special to Diana, as her grandmother Lady Cynthia Hamilton, received it as a wedding present for her 1919 marriage to Viscount Althorp, the future seventh Earl Spencer.
Other past royal wearers include Napoleon Bonaparte and Empress Joséphine, with highlights of the exhibition being an 1830s tiara designed as a wreath of diamond-set leaves, as well as a turquoise Van Cleef & Arpels piece from the 1960s.
Tiaras worn by the royals will be shown at the auction house throughout May and June, with a special Platinum Jubilee display running from 28 May until 15 June, showcasing seven portraits of Britain's Queens over the years.
“Britain has long been known for its creativity and the Queen has been at the helm of this throughout her reign – both as custodian of a world-class collection, and the inspiration for artists, designers and more,” says Frances Christie, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s. “This year, Her Majesty will become the first British Monarch to celebrate 70 years of service, the perfect opportunity for Sotheby’s, with our unique position at the helm of both art and luxury, to celebrate creativity in all its forms - art, music, literature, food, fashion and performing arts.”
Alongside showcasing royal portraits, rare aristocratic jewels and manuscripts, Sotheby's will also be hosting a series of talks, debates and performances, while its New Bond Street restaurant is collaborating with Chatsworth Estate on a menu featuring fresh produce from the estate's kitchen gardens. Sotheby's will also stage a special sale of British art on 29 June, including the new work of Queen Elizabeth by artist Chris Levine anticipated to sell for up to £150,000.
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