First worn by Winifred Anna Dallas-Yorke, Duchess of Portland, at the 1902 coronation of Edward VII, the Portland Tiara features many diamonds

By Stephanie Petit
November 27, 2018 01:34 PM
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Credit: Nottinghamshire Police/Facebook

It sounds like the plot of the next Ocean’s sequel, but a real-life royal jewelry heist has stumped police.

The Portland Tiara, a diamond stunner made for a member of the British royal family and described by police as a “national treasure,” was stolen straight from its display case in Nottinghamshire, England, last week.

“Burglars broke into the Portland Collection Gallery on the estate between 9.45pm and 10pm on Tuesday night (20 November 2018),” Nottinghamshire Police said on Facebook. “They stole the tiara and a diamond brooch from an armoured glass display case while the alarms were sounding.”

Detective Inspector Neil Humphris said that police were looking for information on a silver Audi S5 that is believed to be involved in the crime. The vehicle was discovered “abandoned and burnt out” near the scene about an hour and a half after the pieces were stolen.

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Diamond Brooch
| Credit: Nottinghamshire Police/Facebook

First worn by Winifred Anna Dallas-Yorke, Duchess of Portland, at the 1902 coronation of Edward VII, the Portland Tiara features a center diamond, two diamond drops and additional pendant diamonds set in gold and silver.

“It could be worth millions—but it is such a well-known piece it can’t come up for public sale,” James Lewis of Bamford, a leading British auction house, told BBC. He feared the tiara might be broken apart with the diamonds being sold as separate pieces, making it impossible to recover intact.

Winifred Anna Dallas-Yorke, Duchess of Portland
| Credit: W. and D. Downey/Hulton Archive/Getty

This isn’t the first royal jewelry heist in recent months. Two crowns and an orb — the 17th century funeral regalia of King Karl IX and his wife Queen Kristina — were stolen from a glass case at a cathedral in Strängnäs, which is near Stockholm, back in August. The suspects were seen fleeing the cathedral in a motorboat across nearby Lake Mälaren.

Some of the 400-year-old jewels were recovered in a raid days after the heist, according to The Times.