Man tries to steal Magna Carta from Salisbury Cathedral
Thieves smash armoured glass and steal priceless Cartier tiara from the Welbeck Estate
The famous Portland Tiara, a national treasure that has been seen by countless members of the public, has been stolen.
Burglars broke into the Portland Collection Gallery at the Welbeck Estate in Worksop, between 9.45pm and 10pm on Tuesday night, November 20.
Police said they stole the tiara and a diamond brooch from an armoured glass display case while the alarms were sounding.
Detectives are appealing for information about a silver Audi S5 suspected to have been involved in the offence.
"The Portland Tiara is one of the great historic tiaras of Great Britain," said Richard Edgcumbe, curator of jewellery at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
He added: "Since its creation by Cartier in 1902, using diamonds from the historic collections of the Dukes of Portland, it has been recognised as a jewel of supreme importance, a superb design magnificently executed."
The 6th Duke of Portland commissioned Cartier to create the Portland Tiara for his wife, Winifred, Duchess of Portland.
She wore it to the 1902 coronation of King Edward VII.
The Duchess was one of four pall-bearers at Queen Alexandra’s anointing.
The centre-piece of the tiara is the Portland Diamond, which dates from the 19th century.
It is flanked by two diamond drops and other pendant diamonds, all set in gold and silver.
The burglars also stole a diamond brooch, which was in the same glass display case.
The brooch is composed of diamond clusters that previously stood at the apex of the tiara.
These gems can be seen on the tiara in a painting of Duchess Winifred at the anointing of Queen Alexandra but are absent from it in a 1925 portrait of the Duchess, in which she wears the tiara low on her head as a bandeau.
Detective Inspector Neil Humphris said: "We're pursuing a number of lines of enquiry but we believe there are people out there who may have crucial information that could help with our investigation.
"We particularly want to hear from anyone who has any information about a silver Audi S5 which is suspected to have been involved in this offence.
"This vehicle was found abandoned and burnt out in Cross Lane, Blidworth, about half-an-hour after the incident.
Art Hostage Comments:
Associates of the man who tried, thankfully in vain, to steal the Magna Carta, have stolen the Portland Tiara to use as leverage to get indictments dropped against their criminal associate.
The Portland Tiara will be offered back if the indictments against the attempted Magna Carta Thief are dropped.