Sotheby's London to show Lady Diana's wedding tiara as part of Jubilee Arts Festival

Ellie Goodman

20 May 2022

In celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the auction house is hosting the UK’s largest tiara exhibition in 20 years

20 May 2022 | Ellie Goodman

Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding tiara is to be shown at Sotheby’s this summer to mark HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. On display as part of the auction house’s month-long Jubilee Arts Festival, The Spencer Tiara, which was worn by Lady Diana for her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles, is set to be displayed in London for the first time since 1960.

Power & Image: Royal & Aristocratic Tiaras, which goes on display from 28 May, will feature over 40 tiaras in the largest exhibition of its kind in the UK for two decades. Reflecting the successive evolution of tiara design through monarchic taste, societal shifts and the influence of contemporary art, the exhibition will highlight pieces from the Napoleonic Empire and Belle Epoque era, as well as including Art Deco, Romantic Naturalism and contemporary designs.

Queen Victoria's emerald and diamond tiara

Alongside the Spencer Tiara, other pieces on loan to Sotheby’s include an emerald-and-diamond tiara designed by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria, a gold cameo and enamel diadem reputedly worn by Joséphine Bonaparte and jewels worn by guests at the Queen’s 1953 coronation. Additionally, a small selection of tiaras will be available for purchase, including an 1880s fringe-diamond tiara and necklace, and contemporary designs by Kiki McDonough and Christopher Thompson-Royds.

“The sourcing of these jewels has been a labour of love,” says Kristian Spofforth, Head of Jewellery at Sotheby’s London. “This is a wonderful moment for us to shine a special light on the dazzling craftsmanship delivered by generations of mainly British-based jewellers across several centuries of tiara making.”

Gold, enamel and cameo tiara reputedly worn by Joséphine Bonaparte

As well as the landmark tiara exhibition, Sotheby’s Jubilee Arts Festival, which kicks off later this month, will feature a busy timetable of auctions, exhibitions, debates, panels and events, all in celebration of the Queen's 70-year reign. Highlights include poetry workshops with Theresa Lola, live performances by Fantasia Orchestra and RADA, and an exclusive reading by acclaimed author Michael Morpurgo.

Power & Image: Royal & Aristocratic Tiaras will be on display at Sotheby’s London from 28 May - 15 June 2022, visit sothebys.com

Read more: Where to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee in London