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Kate Adds a Little Egyptian Mystery with the "Papyrus" Lotus Flower Tiara to Diplomats' Christmas Reception at BP

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Well, it is never boring in the world of royalty. That's not entirely true, how quickly we forget the desert we endured after George's birth when Kate dropped off the radar and into leafy, secluded Bucklebury.... Not to be repeated for a bit, I hope. The excitement today came after the news that William and Kate were attending a Diplomatic Christmas Reception at Buckingham Palace. This would be exciting enough, but what sent this story into hyper-excitement overdrive was the dress code: white tie. In royal circles, when you see white tie, read: TIARAS! That's right kids, Kate wore a tiara for the second time...ever? The first was of course, her stunning Royal Wedding appearance. 

According to Ella Kay, the tiara expert and author of A Tiara A Day blog, Kate is wearing the Papyrus tiara, which the Queen Mother had created from stones given to her by her husband. 

Kate has a classic side to her style, and we know she loves pearls. This tiara is taller and little more of a statement than the Cartier "halo" tiara she wore on her wedding day, although that remains my favorite between these two. Both have graceful but detailed curving designs.

The Cartier "halo" was a perfect choice for her wedding, because it is an exquisite piece of jewelry, while maintaining an understated elegance that didn't overwhelm her custom made wedding gown, or her! I love it!

This evening's tiara is a beautiful pick from Kate. I love the art deco style of the fanning lotus flowers and the pearls accenting at intervals. This is a wonderfully historic piece made right around the height of Britain's fascination with Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptian antiquities were very popular in England in the early 1920's. It was the era of excavations, and many Brits travelled to Egypt and brought back artifacts. Lord Carnarvon--i.e. the former owner of Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle)--is most famous for finding the intact tomb of King Tutankhamun, which only fanned the excitement and interest in Egyptian history and styling. The Lotus (aka Blue Egyptian Water Lily) was the "official" flower of Upper Egypt, while the similar papyrus flower represented Lower Egypt. Ancient Egyptian art is littered with pictures of the lotus and the papyrus flower. They are essentially water lilies and so were closely associated with the Nile, the source of life for Ancient Egypt. I don't know if Garrard suggested the design because of the popularity and beauty of the Egyptian lotus, or if the Queen Mother suggested it, but in either event, it is not only a royal heirloom, but a window into the time period in which it was made, and from the 20's, even deeper into the past to a whole other fascinating culture lost to the desert sands... 

Ramses the Great offers Lotus blossoms to Isis in the After Life
This tiara is evocative of the romantic Egypt of the 20's, exotic, secretive, and mysterious. Perhaps, even recalling wispy memories to Kate of her brief time in nearby Jordan as a child. After all, from Cairo, Egypt to Amman, Jordan is a little over 300 miles or a little less than 500km! 

It seems Kate was wearing white lace tonight as well, and we also think the dress is a McQueen creation. I am still crossing my fingers for pictures to be released of the full dress, but that remains to be seen.  I certainly encourage you to read Ella's full post about tonight's tiara here on her blog. And see more photos of Kate's arrival (by Bentley) at the Daily Mail, here. The Daily Mail is the gift that keeps giving. They also reported earlier today that Kate was spotted (when, they don't make clear) at the Lots Road auction rooms. I love how it is reported she "shyly" admitted to being the Duchess of Cambridge. Too cute. 

I will update if better pictures pop up. This has been a great Tuesday pick-me-up. 


  1. I hope, hope, hope that there will be full length picture released!!! The little bit of the tiara and dress that can be seen looks simply stunning! And I bet that William looks so handsome in his white tails. So nice to them out and all dressed up. I wonder if they enjoy these types of engagements or can't wait to get home and changed into their comfies? I've heard that Kate added another December engagement to her calendar so it seems as though her work load is slowly increasing.

    1. I read somewhere that BP announced that it won't be releasing any photos from the night :(

    2. Nope, no more photos. At least any time soon. I think they probably enjoy getting dressed up on occasion. Kate always liked to put on a party dress in the old days, and I think new parents need nice nights when they feel glamorous and relaxed. :)

  2. I too am hoping pictures from the event will be made available. Would love to see the dress!

    1. My bet is the only pictures we may ever see would be in some book release in the future about their marriage or about their reign. So...yeah, a ways away.

  3. Replies
    1. White tails as in the dress code. William would have been wearing tails.

  4. Hello Jane great writing fantastic fantastic. I'm a avid royal historian and anything to do with ancient Egypt. I also dabble in Roman history as information keeps linking together. I think ur blog has amazing knowledge. Keep it coming pleaseeeeze....

    The 20's are a favourite period for me also because it's the start of the jazz age, fab clothes , bauhaus Louise Brooks my fav silent filmstar and the fabulous early pictures of the Queen Mother, her wedding dress and tiara.

    It was interesting to hear Kate was at the lots rd antiques warehouse. Its round the corner from me near the Fulham rd. I too love wandering sbout looking at antiques. Its very theraputic and amazing what you can find. I would suggest she kate duchess also try the Greenwich antique market Se10. You'll be there for hours and hours. Haha. Perhaps I could show her around. Yeah right. As

    I love the glimpses of Kate wearing a tiara last night to the ball. She looks as beautiful as her wedding day. I'm surprised William doesn't give her fabulous jewels diamonds and pearls. I would build a beautiful palace more beautiful than the Taj Mahal for my beautiful bride. There's nothing like royal romance. The public love it it boost morale to see them in love. They should hold hands at least.

    All the best Jane....


    1. SAm I take it you live in England. So if you do & you are a historian you would know that the royals do not show affection in public. That does not mean William is not head over heels in love with Kate which I truely believe he is and she with him.
      And if you go back to photos of them dating you will not see to many photos of them holding hands or William with his arm around her. They save all that for their private time together.

    2. Hi Sam,

      Sorry I am only now getting to this. I barely kept my head above water this December. I did read you comment when it was posted, and really appreciated it. We are two peas in a pod on history! I love antiquities and such. Now, THAT is something that has me wanting to move to London. To live close to the British Museum!

      I think William probably does give her jewelry on occasion, but Kate is clearly a woman who wears very little, so he probably brings flowers etc more than anything. Some women wear more jewelry than others. It is just harder for some of us to accessorize like that. I expect she will wear more and more as she gets older.

      I bet you were stoked for their Christmas Day hand-holding. Made to order.

  5. Replies
    1. !!! Now that she has worn a second, hopefully we won't have to wait too long for a third!

  6. Gorgeous! So thrilled to finally see her in a tiara again.


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