Queen Elizabeth's Favorite Vladimir Tiara. It seemed appropriate.
The story begins with the Romanov Duchess Vladimir, who was the last Romanov to leave Russia during the Revolution. The Duchess was born Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin who married the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia in 1874. The Duke was the uncle of the ill-fated Nicholas II, the last Romanov Emperor. The Duchess had a large curated collection of jewelry. She commissioned the Romanov court jeweler, Bolin to make her a tiara of diamonds and pearls. This became the Vladimir Tiara.
The intriguing story of how the Duchess's jewels were smuggled out of Russsia is still a mystery. But when the rumors of a revolution began, the Duchess left St. Petersburg with only a handful of daytime jewelry and many handfuls of her favorite strings of pearls. Reportedly, she hid the rest of her jewels in a secret hiding place in the palace. The story is that a British officer dressed as a worker or maybe even a woman, snuck into the palace and escaped with a bag or a hat with the jewels sewn into it. they were reunited with the Vladimir family in London.
After the Duchess' death, the family auctioned off the jewelry to support themselves. The Vladimir Tiara was a little damaged when England's Queen Mary (Elizabeth's grandmother) bought it. So, it was redesigned to make it a little more versatile. the beautiful original drop pearls were made to be interchangeable with 15 drop emeralds. The emeralds had belonged to Mary's mother, Mary Adelaide the Duchess of Cambridge.
The Vladimir Tiara was handed down to Queen Elizabeth II and became one of her favorite tiaras that she wore all three ways. It may have been with the pearls for a visit to the Vatican or with the emeralds for a trip to Ireland or with non at all.
It's so nice to have a versatile tiara.