It’s amazing, once you’ve opened your eyes, what you can find with a little digging. If I’m honest, I hadn’t thought much about the race of the women I’d featured in previous #TiaraTuesday posts here. But with the most recent #BlackLivesMatter movement, I’ve forced myself to take a look at a lot of things, including how white these posts have been (until last week, that is). I have more women of color to feature from other monarchies and aristocracies, but today we’ll stick with the United Kingdom. Let me introduce you to Emma Thynn, also known previously as Viscountess Weymouth and currently as Marchioness of Bath, and her bridal tiara.
I’m going to be straightforward with you – I don’t have much detail on the Marchioness of Bath’s wedding tiara itself, other than it’s a family piece. There was one article I read where the interviewer had a pawnshop appraiser speculating on the carat weight and value. But I’m not much for speculation when it comes to my jewels. But I wanted to write about Emma for another reason. I feel that her story – and that of her in-laws – was fascinating and very worthy of a write up.
Born to a Nigerian oil tycoon and a British socialite (with a little bit of scandal tossed in for good measure), Emma was brought up rather “normally.” She attended good schools and had friends and by both her and her mother’s accounts, rarely experienced racism. She’s quoted in a Vanity Fair article (which has more swoon worthy photos in it) as saying she really only became, “‘aware of myself,’ from the outside in, when I got engaged.”
And there was some drama. Her father-in-law, a bohemian man, to put it lightly (let’s not even get into his 70+ “wifelets” – yes, not his actual wife, who, for the most part, lives in France. But I think you get the picture.), skipped the wedding, to attend the wedding of some polo playing friends. He was angry with his son for removing some murals at Longleat he had painted himself. He just passed away in April of this year. Emma’s mother-in-law, who is estranged from the family because of racist remarks she made about her daughter-in-law, also did not attend the wedding. While I’m sure it was painful at the time, Emma seems to take it all in stride now and has even set up an exhibition of her wedding gown, wedding portrait and other memorabilia from the day within one of the rooms of the family estate, Longleat. And yes, you can go see the exhibit, along with the Safari park on the premises, as it’s open to the public (it’s been there for years) .
I love that this woman has become Britain’s first black marchioness (a title in peerage second only to a duchess). And her son will one day will assume his father’s title and become the United Kingdom’s first black marquess. But it’s more than just race and titles. It sounds like they are a loving family, trying to raise two boys while balancing the duty and honor of caring for one of England’s greatest estates, all while remaining true to themselves in the process. And I think that’s pretty darn cool. I would love to hear your thoughts too in the comments below. And if you happen to know Emma, tell her I’d love the deets on the the Marchioness of Bath’s Wedding Tiara!