One Of Queen Elizabeth’s Favorite Items Will Be Featured In ‘Downton Abbey The Movie’

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?

Queen Elizabeth Downton Abbey
Queen Elizabeth | Photo by Geoff Pugh – WPA Pool /Getty Images

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 was hidden away during the Russian Revolution and smuggled out of the country by intelligence agents working for the British government. There are several stories about how the British got the tiara out of Russia, each as interesting as the next.

It was in the possession of the Grand Duchess of Vladimir’s kids in the early 1920s, and they sold it to Mary for quick cash.

Mary repaired the damaged tiara and replaced the original pearls with her Cambridge emerald drops. The tiara almost went missing after Mary’s brother tried to give it to his mistress, but luckily she put a stop to that.

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 family to 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 Town and Country, Robbins revealed that it took hours to make replicas of the tiara, all of which were completed by a modeling expert named Martin Adams.

“The replica jewelry was made by my model maker Martin Adams,” Robbins shared. “It was a painstaking process to make each as faithfully as possible and took many hours.”

Robbins also explained how they checked with the royal family to make sure it was okay to replicate the tiara. Turns out, they were not required to get any special permission and were able to move forward without any troubles.

As far as accuracy is concerned, Robbins says that the replica is very close to the original. The overall design is pretty much the same, though Robbins was forced to use fewer stones because of budget concerns.

In total, the movie’s version has around 1,100 stones. In comparison, 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 a lot 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 point of the Downton Abbey movie. Most of the drama will center on the royal visit, with Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville) and the Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern) getting the entire house ready 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 playing the part of Lady Maud Bagshaw. Fans will recognize Staunton for playing the villain, Dolores Umbridge, in the Harry Potter series.

Returning characters, meanwhile, include Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery), who was last seen getting ready to have a baby with her husband, Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode), and Lady Edith Crawley Pelham (Laura Carmichael), 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 the franchise, so it will be interesting to see where each storyline picks up.

Downton Abbey is scheduled to open in theaters on September 20.