There is a new magazine in circulation in the United States called W Magazine that, for its number one, has had a brilliant idea: it has featured Rihanna crowned as a queen on the cover. Photographed by Steven Klein (one of today’s best fashion, culture and trend photographers) and styled by Edward Enninful (Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue), Rihanna appears in a layering of jewelry, makeup and a bit of Photoshop. And best of all, the tiara actually exists and, yes, it has a fascinating story that would delight any Downton Abbey fan: behind it are scandals, a few mishaps, and a royal coronation.
But let’s start at the beginning: the tiara is actually called the Essex Tiara and was made in 1902 by Cartier with 1,048 diamonds set in floral designs. It is surely one of the best designs made by the French jeweler before Art Deco fashion prevailed and tiaras were stylized.
The tiara was commissioned by a woman of exquisite elegance – and enormous wealth. Her name was Adele Beach Grant and she was one of those American millionaires (she was born in New York) who in the late 19th and early 20th centuries crossed the ocean to marry English aristocrats (just like Cora Crawley in Downton Abbey, wow).
In her case, Adele was the daughter of David Beach Grant, a railroad tycoon, and as soon as she set foot in England, she was a hit. She was not only of great beauty, but the press included her among the LovelyFivethe five nice, a group of highly distinguished women that included Lady Warwick, Lady Lytton, Lady Westmoreland and the Duchess of Sutherland. Given her success, it is not surprising that she achieved a magnificent match and, in 1893, she married George Devereux de Vere Capell, 7th Earl of Essex.
Of course, before she passed through the altar, the good Adele already had some scandals behind her back. Specifically, she had been engaged to Lord Cairns, but days before the wedding, she broke off the engagement on the grounds that he was unwilling to assume her contractual responsibilities. The subject was the talk of all London for months.
Be that as it may, as soon as Adele got married the rumors temporarily ceased. The new countess, moreover, quickly adapted to her representative functions and at the Coronation of Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria, appeared radiant with the new Cartier tiara that she had commissioned for the occasion and which soon became known as the Essex Tiara. .
In 1916, the Earl Essex was hit by a taxi and the poor duchess, now a widow, was met with the unpleasant news that she was deep in debt. Therefore, she sold the tiara to a dealer. Years later, the jewel returned to the hands of Cartier.
In recent years we have seen several royals and it has also been exhibited by Cartier in some exhibitions. However, we had not seen her in public for a long time. Until now when she has appeared on Rihanna’s head.