The royal family has officially invaded the upcoming Downton Abbey movie. A big part of the plot in the highly anticipated film features a visit by King George V and Queen Mary, providing producers with the perfect opportunity to work in one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorite items: the Vladimir tiara. How did Elizabeth’s prized piece make it into the film?
The royals come to ‘Downton Abbey’
The Downton Abbey film is set in the late 1920s and will include an epic visit from Queen Mary (Elizabeth’s grandmother) and King George. While everyone in the house scrambles to remember protocol and whip the estate into top shape, all eyes will be on Mary’s famous tiara.
The Vladimir tiara has quite the history. The piece washidden away during the Russian Revolution and smuggled out of the country byintelligence agents working for the British government. There are severalstories about how the British got the tiara out of Russia, each as interestingas the next.
It was in the possession of the Grand Duchess of Vladimir’skids in the early 1920s, and they sold it to Mary for quick cash.
Mary repaired the damaged tiara and replaced the originalpearls with her Cambridge emerald drops. The tiara almost went missing afterMary’s brother tried to give it to his mistress, but luckily she put a stop tothat.
Over the years, the tiara has become one of Elizabeth’s favorite pieces, which is one reason why producers wanted to incorporate it into the film. It also made sense to use it for Mary’s visit, as she would have been in possession of the tiara at the time.
How did the Vladimir tiara make it onto ‘Downton Abbey’?
While the movie had a large budget, getting the royal familyto loan out the Vladimir tiara would have been nearly impossible. So instead,the movie’s costume designer, Anna Robbins, had it replicated.
In an interview with Townand Country, Robbins revealed that it took hours to make replicas of thetiara, all of which were completed by a modeling expert named Martin Adams.
“The replica jewelry was made by my model maker MartinAdams,” Robbins shared. “It was a painstaking process to make each asfaithfully as possible and took many hours.”
Robbins also explained how they checked with the royalfamily to make sure it was okay to replicate the tiara. Turns out, they werenot required to get any special permission and were able to move forwardwithout any troubles.
As far as accuracy is concerned, Robbins says that thereplica is very close to the original. The overall design is pretty much thesame, though Robbins was forced to use fewer stones because of budget concerns.
In total, the movie’s version has around 1,100 stones. Incomparison, the real Vladimir tiara has closer to 1,900 stones. Fortunately,the tiara is not included in any close-up shots, so Robbins and her team had alot of wiggle room to play with.
Everything we know about the ‘Downton Abbey’ film
King George and Queen Mary’s visit will be the focal pointof the Downton Abbey movie. Most ofthe drama will center on the royal visit, with Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville)and the Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern) getting the entire houseready to host the royals.
The majority of the TV show’s cast are returning to the fray, but there will be a few new faces thrown into the mix. This includes a new maid played by Tuppence Middleton, who manages to draw Tom Branson’s (Allen Leech) attention and Kate Philips’s Princess Mary.
Imelda Staunton is also joining the cast and will be playingthe part of Lady Maud Bagshaw. Fans will recognize Staunton for playing thevillain, Dolores Umbridge, in the HarryPotter series.
Returning characters, meanwhile, include Lady Mary Crawley(Michelle Dockery), who was last seen getting ready to have a baby with herhusband, Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode), and Lady Edith Crawley Pelham (LauraCarmichael), who finally got married to Bertie Pelham (Harry Hadden-Paton)after dealing with her sister’s jealousy.
There are plenty of other characters returning to thefranchise, so it will be interesting to see where each storyline picks up.
Downton Abbey isscheduled to open in theaters on September 20.
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