Jewelry box: Rose Queen crowns through history


Innocenzi of Arcadia was crowned today as the
92nd Rose Queen.

Her Mikimoto crown, set in silver, features 10 white
South Sea pearls, 632 Akoya cultured pearls and 6.09 carats in diamonds. It’s estimated to be worth more than $100,000.

This crown was introduced for the 2005 parade, and it was the first to be made of truly precious materials. Before that, it was a lot of faux glitz.

Let’s walk through some of the headpieces bestowed on Rose Queens in days of yore.

This crown, below, was commissioned for the 75th Rose Parade in 1993. It’s described in a 2004 story from the Star-News archives as “a
large and looping number … that’s decorated with dozens of fake diamonds.”


The crown, below, was only worn by one Rose Queen, Linda Strother, in 1968. A new crown took its place the next year.

In 1997 — and now Linda Strother McKnight — she gave an interview to the Los Angeles Daily News. She talked about how the tumultuous era eclipsed the glamour and pageantry: “In 1968, the most important thing was dealing with social unrest and the war in Vietnam. So why would anyone do anything so shallow as be a Rose Queen?”

Interestingly enough, during her years as a college student at Berkeley, she wrote her senior sociology thesis introducing a feminist critique on the institution of Rose Queen, she told the Star-News in 2002.


The Art-Deco-explosion crown below was actually worn from 1954-1967.


From 1940-1953, 14 queens rode down Colorado Boulevard wearing the crown below. The first was Margaret Huntley Main, the oldest living Rose Queen.


During part of the 1930s, the Rose Queen’s crown was formed from a collection of bracelets and broaches. They were fashioned to fit together like a puzzle. After the parade, the pieces became mementos, inscribed with the queen’s or princess’s name, that they took home with them. This piece, below, belonged to Queen Barbara Dougall in 1939, as you can see from the engraving on the back.


The front of some individual jewelry pieces that were once part of a whole crown. The 1939 Royal Court returned their pieces, so the Tournament would be able to display a whole collection.


Below, what the crown may have looked like when assembled in ’39.


And matching earrings! Today, each member of the Rose Court gets a pearl necklace and earrings from Mikimoto.


(From file photos and staff archives)

6 thoughts on “Jewelry box: Rose Queen crowns through history

  1. My father, Charles Strutt, was Tournament President in 1946. He put together a marvelous parade to celebrate the end of World War II in a very few months (Peace was declared in August 1945!!). Admiral William Halsey was his choice of Grand Marshall.
    Patricia Auman (Miller), a tiny, dark haired PCC/PJC student with a great personality was chosen as Queen. The Queen and Court of six princesses wore their own clothes, rather than being outfitted in fashionable wardrobes by stylists and department stores.
    I remember Pat wearing this lovely crown which was appropriate for her stature and style — and was fortunate enough to be an observer at a photo shoot. I have pix of myself (age 10, wearing Queen Pat’s train as a cape around my neck wearing the crown. What a thrill.
    Presidents’ wives rode in the parade — but no children. Dad stopped the parade in front of the Tournament grandstands at Orange Grove and Colorado where I was sitting with my grandparents. He shouted “Hey, Janie (his nickname for me) do you want to ride in the parade??” Don’t know what I said, but found myself being picked up, passed over the heads of the crowd, and dropped into the open car with my Father and Mother to ride the length of the 6 mile parade route.
    What a day! We still NEVER miss a parade.

    Jan Strutt Hart
    Tustin, California

  2. Mrs. Hart,
    Would you by chance have any pictures of the car Admiral Halsey rode in? My father was one of the escort Sailors who marched along side his car (he was on the back right corner). i would love to find a photo.
    Thanks for your time.

  3. My goodness — just found this message today
    (May 10, 2010). Will check my Dad’s Tournament scrapbook and see what’s there.
    Please get in touch!

    Thanks for your Dad’s service to the country!!!

  4. And I likewise just ‘re-found’ the site! Did you have an opportunity to look through the scrapbook? Looking forward to hearing from you!
    Kind Regards,

  5. Joe, you might also check with the Tournament of Roses — they have an incredible archive of pictures. The 1946 queen is also still alive. Good luck!

    Julie K.
    former RQ

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