Few women get to wear genuine, honest-to-goodness tiaras at their wedding, but the British royals excel at it. And behind every royal wedding tiara is its own special history, features, and symbolic meaning. Here are the 10 most stunning tiaras worn at British royal weddings and the stories behind them.
Princess Beatrice — the Queen Mary Diamond Fringe Tiara
Princess Beatrice, daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, had the most recent royal wedding. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Beatrice married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi on July 17, 2020. While the ceremony was secret, that didn’t keep her from rocking an awesome tiara!
This tiara (known as the Queen Mary Diamond Fringe Tiara) was previously worn by her grandmother Queen Elizabeth when she married Prince Phillip in 1947. It’s made of diamond bars and spikes and set in both gold and silver. It paired perfectly with her vintage ivory taffeta dress (another gift from the Queen).
“The Queen saved this grand tiara specifically for Beatrice,” a source told People Magazine. “It was always reserved for her as they are exceptionally close.”
Considering the Queen allegedly didn’t let Meghan Markle wear the tiara she wanted, this goes to show just how close she is to Beatrice!
Princess Eugenie — the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara
Part of the fun of a royal wedding is discovering all the surprises. For example, many assumed Beatrice’s younger sister Princess Eugenie would sport the York Diamond Tiara previously worn by their mother. Instead, Eugenie wore the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara when she married Jack Brooksbank in 2018.
That tiara (also known as the “Boucheron Tiara”) was made for Queen Mary’s friend Dame Margaret Helen Greville in 1919 and eventually went to the Queen Mother. It represents the height of culture and beauty from the Russian Imperial Court. It has a 93.7-carat center emerald, a platinum band, brilliant and rose-cut diamonds. And this tiara dazzled audiences yet again nearly 100 years after its first appearance.
With its storied royal history, the tiara is worth up to an estimated $12 million.
Meghan Markle — the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau Tiara
Meghan Markle has often been a source of serious controversy. However, there is nothing controversial about the amazing tiara she wore when she married Prince Harry in 2018.
This was the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau Tiara. The diamond flower brooch at the center was an 1893 wedding gift to Queen Mary from the County of Lincoln. She had the tiara made in 1932 to feature it, and wore it to less formal events, including gala performances, until her death in 1953.
The tiara then sat in the royal vaults for 65 years, unworn, until Meghan chose it for her wedding. She has said that when she was trying on tiaras to wear, this one “stood out.”
“I think it was just perfect because it was so clean and simple… something that could be so incredibly timeless but still feel modern.”
Prince Harry was present at the tiara tryouts, and said it was “the one that looked the best on you without question. I shouldn’t have really been there — but an incredible loan by my grandmother.”
Ultimately, this platinum and diamond tiara is nothing short of stunning. It is estimated to be worth up to $2.5 million.
Zara Tindall — the Meander Tiara
Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter Zara Phillips married Mike Tindall in Scotland on July 30, 2011. Despite the Scottish wedding, she wore a Greek tiara.
She received the Meander Tiara from her mother Princess Anne. It originally a wedding gift to Queen Elizabeth from Princess Alice of Greece and Denmark before being passed down the British royal generations.
Part of the Greek styling of this tiara is that it has a large diamond in the middle surrounded by a wreath of diamonds. That makes it a very old-fashioned tiara in the best sense of the term.
Kate Middleton — the Cartier Halo Tiara
Kate Middleton put a fresh face on British royalty when she married Prince William back in 2011. And Queen Elizabeth made sure that her tiara would stun the entire world.
The tiara in question is the Cartier Halo Tiara. It is made up of over 1,000 separate diamonds set in 16 graduated scrolls, making it one of the most stunning (and valuable) pieces of jewelry in the world. It is estimated to be worth up to $1.6 million.
Elizabeth received this as an 18th birthday gift from her mother. But the royal history of this tiara goes back even further than that. It was originally gifted to the Queen Mother by her husband King George VI in 1936. And that makes this tiara a truly priceless family heirloom.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex — the Anthemion Tiara
What’s a sure sign that someone loves their wedding tiara? If they continue to wear it long after their wedding!
That’s the case with Sophie, Countess of Wessex, the Queen’s daughter-in-law. She married the Queen’s youngest son Prince Edward in 1999. She received the Anthemion Tiara from the Queen (who, of course, has a fairly extensive collection of jewelry). And she liked it enough to model her diadem after the name of the tiara (“anthemion” refers to a design of radiating petals).
Since the wedding, Sophie has rocked this tiara several times. And honestly? We can’t blame her.
Princess Diana — the Spencer Tiara
Most of the women on this list borrowed their wedding tiaras from Queen Elizabeth. But Princess Diana had an aristocratic family of her own to borrow from! Instead of wearing a royal tiara from Elizabeth’s line, Diana opted for something with her family’s history and personality. When she married Prince Charles in 1981, she wore the Spencer Tiara. And this tiara has a more unlikely story than any of the others.
The tiara actually bears several different pieces of jewelry from Diana’s family history. The central part of the tiara was a 1919 wedding gift to Diana’s grandmother Lady Cynthia Hamilton when she married Albert, Viscount Althorp, the future 7th Earl Spencer. The topper was gifted to Lady Cynthia by Albert’s great-aunt Lady Sarah Isabella Spencer.
But Diana didn’t hoard this priceless tiara for herself. It was also worn by her sisters Lady Sarah and Jane, Baroness Fellowes, as well as her sister-in-law Victoria Lockwood, at their own weddings.
Princess Anne — the Queen Mary Diamond Fringe Tiara
What do Princess Beatrice and her aunt Princess Anne have in common? Each of them wore the Queen Mary Diamond Fringe Tiara at their weddings!
Anne beat her to it, though, wearing this tiara when she married Mark Phillips in 1973. And it dazzled then just as it dazzles now.
Like royals, the tiaras often go by many names. For example, the Queen Mary Diamond Fringe Tiara is also known as the Hanoverian Fringe Tiara and the King George III Fringe Tiara.
Princess Margaret — the Poltimore Tiara
You can tell a lot about someone based on the tiara they wear. For example, we can tell how bold and fearless Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister Princess Margaret was based on her choice to wear the Poltimore Tiara when she married Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960.
This tiara was originally made for Lady Florence Poltimore in 1870. She was married to Queen Victoria’s household treasurer, Baron Poltimore (hence the name of the tiara). It features diamond clusters, diamond scroll motifs, and the whole thing is set in silver and gold.
The royal family snagged the tiara via auction in 1959, and it’s easy to see why it caught their eye. With its stunning design, this tiara looks like something straight out of a fairytale! And when it was sold at auction in 2006, it fetched a whopping £926,400, or almost $1.2 million!
Queen Elizabeth II — the Queen Mary Diamond Fringe Tiara
We’ve seen the Queen Mary Diamond Fringe Tiara several times now, but there’s a hidden story behind the tiara we haven’t told you yet! It was originally made for Queen Mary, the grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II. But Elizabeth almost didn’t end up wearing this tiara when she married Philip Mountbatten in 1947. In fact, this tiara was almost lost to history entirely!
The tiara actually broke in half when Elizabeth’s hairdresser attached it to her veil! Fortunately, it was welded back together in time to take its place in royal history.
There’s another hidden secret of this tiara, too. It actually can also be worn as a necklace!