Members of the British royal family are expected to follow a number of rules that govern everything from what they wear to how they behave. While many of those rules focus on fashion, rules that modern royal family members like Kate Middleton have subtly snubbed, the rules governing who wears a tiara and when are pretty much written in stone. Here are some of the family’s most iconic tiaras and their histories.
The Queen Mary Fringe Tiara
Two royal weddings have featured the gorgeous Queen Mary Fringe Tiara. As the name suggests, this tiara was first commissioned by Queen Elizabeth’s grandmother, Queen Mary. Elizabeth wore the tiara during her 1947 wedding to the late Prince Philip.
Elizabeth’s granddaughter, Princess Beatrice, carried on the tradition by wearing the same tiara during her surprise wedding in July 2020. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were both present to witness history coming full circle.
The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara
This tiara is probably one of the easiest to recognize. Queen Elizabeth often wears the piece and it’s become practically synonymous with her image. This is due in part to the fact that the tiara is often included in illustrations and photos of the queen that appear on banknotes and coins.
The tiara originally came to the royal family as a wedding gift to Queen Mary, who passed the tiara on to Queen Elizabeth in honor of her wedding day. Although the crown was originally designed with pearls, Queen Mary had them replaced with diamonds. It’s quite a versatile piece of jewelry. It can be worn as a necklace, headband, or coronet.
The Spencer Tiara
The iconic tiara worn by Princess Diana during her wedding to Prince Charles was actually not the property of the royal family. The Spencer tiara is so named because it belongs to Diana’s family, the Spencers. It came to the family as a wedding gift to Diana’s grandmother Lady Cynthia Hamilton in 1919. Since Diana’s death, the tiara has been worn by other members of the Spencer family, including her niece Celia McCorquodale at her wedding in 2018.
The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara
Princess Diana famously wore the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara during her marriage to Prince Charles, though the pearl and diamond tiara reportedly caused her headaches. More recently, this tiara has been worn by Prince William’s wife, Kate Middleton, at official royal functions.
The Cartier Halo Scroll Tiara
Speaking of Kate Middleton, our next noteworthy tiara was most famously worn during Middleton’s 2011 nuptials to Prince William. The Cartier Halo Scroll tiara was first purchased by Queen Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, as a gift for his wife. Instead, he gifted the tiara to Elizabeth for her 18th birthday. It’s believed that Middleton chose this tiara in particular since it was one Queen Elizabeth wore before she became queen. As a future queen herself, Middleton likely didn’t miss the connection.
The Greville Tiara
There are a series of jewels gifted to the royal family by Dame Margaret Greville, a society hostess, including Camilla Parker Bowles’ go-to tiara. She did have some alterations made to the piece, including some work on the honeycomb design and adding five more diamonds, including a marquise diamond at the top. Parker Bowles has an interesting family connection to Greville, which may be why she chose this particular tiara as her favorite. Her mother was the goddaughter of Greville.
The Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau Tiara
Meghan Markle wore the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau tiara during her 2018 wedding to Prince Harry. The tabloids erroneously reported that Markle threw a “tantrum” over not being able to wear the tiara she wanted, but there are actually some rules that govern who gets to wear what tiara.
Royal brides are allowed to wear a tiara for the first time and may wear one after they are married at official and formal royal events. Brides aren’t given carte blanche to choose whichever tiara catches their eye. Instead, the ladies are given several options to choose from.
The Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara
Last, but certainly not least, is the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik tiara that was most recently worn by Princess Eugenie for her 2018 wedding to Jack Brooksbank. This tiara was among the cache of jewels gifted to the royal family by socialite Dame Margaret Greville. The tiara’s design includes six emeralds which flank a massive 93.70-carat emerald at its center. It’s certainly an eye-catching piece!
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