From Princess Beatrice to Queen Elizabeth.
It goes without saying that the British Royal Family has one of the most impressive jewelry collections in the world. While the necklaces, brooches, and bracelets are head-turners, it’s the head toppers that are the most well-known of all. Royal tiaras are worn by the family to court, to formal events, and on their wedding days, giving the wearer that extra bit of sparkle to stand a bit taller and shine a bit brighter.
The tiara worn for a Royal’s wedding day is of the utmost importance, so you can be sure that there is a story behind each and every artistic construction. They are most often made from diamonds, though some tiaras may feature other stones like Princess Eugenie’s Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara, which included 9 stunning emeralds.
From the Queen Mother’s wedding tiara in 1923 to Princess Beatrice’s most recent nuptials, for which she wore Queen Elizabeth II’s Queen Mary Fringe Tiara, take a deep dive into the arsenal of family heirlooms that have been amassed over the past 100 years.
Tiaras have been purchased, commissioned, gifted, and lent, with great significance placed on each and every part of the design process. Ahead, find the 21 most stunning tiaras worn by British Royalty for their weddings— and prepare to swoon.
The Queen Mother chose the Strathmore Tiara for her wedding day, which was a gift to her from her father, the Earl of Strathmore, purchased from Catchpole & Williams.
The flowers can not only be removed and worn as separate brooches, but also swapped out for five collet-set sapphires if need be. Though it’s specific date of creation is largely unknown, it’s widely accepted that it was created some time in the late 19th century.
The tiara is crafted of silver and gold and features rose garlands (the botanical symbol of love) that are set with rose-cut diamonds. It was designed to wear along the hairline, as opposed to higher atop the head as more modern tiaras are.
Princess Marina wore a diamond fringe tiara for her bridal portraits in celebration of her and Prince George’s wedding. It was a gift to her by the City of London, and it now goes by the name Kent City of London Fringe Tiara.
Though Princess Marina’s portrait was the tiara’s first outing since creation, it was subsequently worn by her daughter, Alexandra, and her daughter-in-law, Marie-Christine, on their own wedding days.
Princess Marina didn’t wear the tiara for her actual wedding ceremony, however. Her mother was a Russian Grand Duchess and she had purchased a nearly identical fringe tiara from her Romanov family, which Princess Marina wore instead, called the Vladimir Fringe Tiara.
Though Princess Alice didn’t technically wear a tiara to wed Prince Henry, she wore a crystal headdress that attached to her tulle veil for a similar look.
It was, unfortunately, less joyous of an occasion than other nuptials, as the Princess’ father died mere weeks before she married.
Queen Elizabeth II wore Queen Mary’s Russian Fringe Tiara on her wedding day; the first of three royals to have now done so. Originally made for Queen Mary in 1919, it can be worn both as a tiara as well as a necklace.
It was crafted in 1919 by E. Wolf and Co for Garrard, set in both gold and silver. The stones were from a necklace by Collingwood that Queen Victoria gifted to Queen Mary on her wedding day in 1893 and said to contain diamonds from the collection of King George III.
The design is a classic fringe, with graduated diamond spikes that peak in the center: a popular style at the time that was based upon Russian styles.
As for Queen Elizabeth’s wedding, while you might be well-acquainted with wardrobe malfunctions of your own, you might think the royals are largely exempt from the real-world disaster, but Queen Elizabeth’s tiara famously broke on the way to her wedding ceremony.
It should shock no one that an issue that would throw most brides-to-be into hysterics left the Queen reportedly calm, cool, and collected as it was remedied (with the help of the Queen Mother, who summoned the court jeweler to repair it on the spot.)
Though the story lives on in history, the public was none the wiser on the day of, and the wedding went off without a hitch.
Princess Margaret wore a tiara called the Poltimore Tiara to wed Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960. As an engagement gift to herself, Princess Margaret purchased the Garrard tiara for £5,500 in 1959.
The Garrard masterpiece was originally created in the 1870s for Lady Florence Poltimore, hence its name, who wore it to the coronation of King George V in 1922.
Designed of diamond leaves and flowers, it can also be converted to a flexible necklace when not worn as a tiara. The back of the tiara is laced with brown velvet, meant to match the color of her hair and allow for the appearance that the tiara is floating above her head like a halo. And, unlike many tiaras that feature an opening in the back to nestle into the wearer’s hair, this tiara features a completely closed circlet.
In addition to wearing the tiara several times after her wedding (and in the year before as well), Margaret also took full advantage of the jewelry’s ability to easily transform into a necklace as well as 11 different brooches.
After Margaret’s death, instead of keeping the tiara in the family, it was sold at auction in 2006 by Christie’s for £926,400.
The tiara was made even more famous after her death than it was during her lifetime, thanks to a photograph by her famous artist husband, which was only released to the public in 2006. It was a photo of Princess Margaret in a bathtub, wearing nothing but the tiara.
The Duchess chose the Kent Diamond and Pearl Fringe Tiara for her marriage to Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. It was given to her by her mother-in-law, Princess Marina, and was seen atop her head at multiple public appearances since her 1961 wedding.
Originally owned by Queen Mary, it was constructed using a “diamond and dot” design that was, at the time, a signature of Garrard.
Mary gifted the tiara to Princess Marina, who also lent it to her daughter, Princess Alexandra, to wear regularly. In the 1970s, the family decided to transform the historic tiara, preserving the “diamond and dot” base, but adding a small diamond and pearl fringe to the top.
For her wedding, Princess Alexandra wore the Kent City of London Fringe Tiara that belonged to her mother, Princess Marina, and first given to her on her wedding day in 1934.
It was subsequently also worn at the wedding of Princess Michael of Kent as well as her daughter, Gabriella Windsor.
Princess Anne wore Queen Mary’s Russian Fringe Tiara to wed in 1973, which was also worn by her mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on her own wedding day (and most recently by Princess Beatrice).
Made by Garrard, it features 47 separate diamond bars and small diamond spikes.
As the story goes, Queen Mary wore Queen Adelaide’s diamond fringe necklace as a tiara for so long that she decided to have one crafted for herself, as an actual headpiece.
In 1893. she dismantled a necklace that was given to her as a wedding gift from Queen Victoria, from Collingwood & Co, and asked Garrard to create a new tiara from the stones.
What came to be was an iconic Fringe Tiara that, of course, can also be worn as a necklace. It was given to Queen Elizabeth by Queen Mary in 1936.
Princess Michael, who also goes by Marie-Christine, didn’t actually wear a tiara to her wedding ceremony. She did, however, slip one on for the ball that was held just after the ceremony, in honor of her nuptials.
For that event, she wore the Kent City of London Fringe Tiara that was originally gifted to her mother-in-law, Princess Marina, on her own wedding day.
It has also been worn at the weddings of both Princess Alexandra of Kent as well as Princess Michael’s daughter, Gabriella Windsor.
Princess Diana chose her own family’s tiara to wed Prince Charles in 1981, aptly called the Spencer Tiara. Though completely cohesive in design, it’s actually made up of a multitude of different pieces of jewelry.
The center of the headpiece was a gift from Lady Sarah Spencer to Cynthia Spencer on her wedding day in 1919, later remounted by Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Company.
The ends are said to be additions from Lady Sarah’s collection of jewels that were acquired sometime in or around the 1870s. In 1937, it was remounted with new pieces by Garrard in 1937 for a mere £125.
The design is mounted in gold and features stylized flowers made of silver-set diamonds. It was not only worn by Diana on her wedding day, but also by her two sisters, Lady Sarah and Jane, as well as her sister-in-law, Victoria Lockwood, on their wedding days.
Though Diana wore the piece to her wedding, and many times after that, it was only on loan and truly belonged to her father (and now her brother). It currently sits safe in a vault belonging to the Spencer family, and not the Royal one.
To wed Prince Andrew, the Duchess wore a tiara that’s called the York Diamond Tiara, which was gifted to her by the Queen and Duke of Edinburg, along with a necklace, earrings, and matching bracelet, as a wedding gift.
All were designed by Garrard. It had thus become the Duchess’ one and only diadem, and a piece that she wore quite frequently, even after she departed the Royal Family.
At her wedding, to signify her new Royal role, the Duchess’ tiara was obstructed by flowers on her walk down the aisle. The flowers were later removed to reveal the sparkling headpiece on her walk back up the aisle after saying “I do.”
For her wedding to Princess Margaret’s son, David Armstrong-Jones, the Countess wore the Lotus Flower Tiara that belonged to Margaret.
Designed with nods to Egyptian jewels, it is made of diamonds and pearls and was gifted to the Princess by her mother in 1959. Originally, it had been a tiara made by Garrard from a necklace that was fully dismantled in the process.
The Queen Mother had received the necklace as a wedding gift in 1923 from her husband, George VI and chose, instead, to turn it into a tiara — only six months after receipt.
Though the tiara was actually designed to sit high atop the head, it was most often seen on The Queen Mother worn lower along the hairline, as was fashionable at the time.
After Margaret’s death, it was unknown what had become of the tiara, but it was later returned to the royal vaults as Kate Middleton has been spotted in it on more than one public occasion.
For her wedding, Lady Sarah Chatto wore the Snowdon Floral Tiara. It is crafted of three floral brooches made of diamonds, all of which were given to Princess Margaret (Lady Sarah’s mother) by Antony Armstrong-Jones (Lady Sarah’s father) as wedding gifts in 1960.
Though Margaret wore the brooches throughout her adulthood, she didn’t turn them into a tiara until it was time for her daughter to wed, making them a gift made especially for her.
To marry Queen Elizabeth’s son, Prince Edward, the Countess wore a diamond tiara that was a gift from the Queen herself.
Crafted of four pieces of a crown that once belonged to Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth II had it re-made by the crown jeweler especially for Sophie.
To marry Peter Phillips, Princess Anne’s son, Autumn Kelly wore the Festoon Tiara, which was a gift to Princess Anne in 1973 by the World Wide Shipping Group.
Though it’s a mainstay in Anne’s past and current wardrobe, she lent it to her daughter-in-law on her most special day.
Kate Middleton’s wedding-day tiara is called the Cartier Halo Tiara (and sometimes referred to as the Cartier Scroll Tiara). On loan for the event from Queen Elizabeth II, it was originally purchased by the Queen’s father, King George VI, for his wife, the Queen Mother, in 1936.
It was gifted to Queen Elizabeth at a very young age: on her 18th birthday by her parents. It’s slightly lower-profile than some other Royal tiaras, but has been a mainstay of the Royal family for nearly 85 years.
Though it has belonged to Queen Elizabeth II for some time, she was never seen wearing it in public. Instead, she frequently lent it to her sister, Princess Margaret, who wore it on multiple occasions, including the 1953 coronation.
After Margaret, her daughter, Princess Anne, also took to wearing the youthful tiara for years, until it was locked in the vault to be held for Kate Middleton, unbeknownst to the diadem itself.
Zara Tindall wore a diamond tiara designed with a Greek key pattern for her wedding day, though it was not the first time she has been seen publicly with this particular family heirloom.
Along with the Greek key pattern, it also features honeysuckle motifs on either side.
Though it’s the first wedding that this tiara had been worn for, it was reportedly a favorite of her mother, Princess Anne, as it came from her personal collection.
It originated in Prince Philip’s mother, Princess Andrew of Greece’s, possession. As such, it is often referred to as Princess Andrew’s Meander Tiara, “meander” being another word for the Greek key design itself.
It is speculated that the creation could have been crafted in the early 1910s by Cartier, but it has never been confirmed.
While it was originally a gift to Queen Elizabeth II, she was never seen wearing it publicly and it’s unknown whether she wore it at all. She gifted it to her daughter, Princess Anne, in 1972, however, and Anne’s worn it on more occasions to count since then.
To wed Prince Harry, Meghan Markle wore a diamond bandeau tiara that belonged to Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth II’s grandmother.
The center insert was actually originally a brooch, which includes 10 separate diamonds gifted to Mary of Teck in 1893.
In 1932, a platinum-set diamond tiara was crafted from the brooch, given to Queen Elizabeth II upon Queen Mary’s death in 1953.
The tiara is a flexible band style, created of 11 separate sections, studded with pavé as well as larger cut diamonds in a symmetrical pattern.
For her nuptials, Princess Eugenie wore the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara. It was lent to her by her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
Created in 1919 by Boucheron for Margaret Greville, a member of British high society, it was given to the Queen Mother upon her death in 1942.
It features a giant 93.7 central cabochon emerald and surrounding smaller emeralds and diamonds.
Though the Queen inherited the tiara from her mother in 2002, it was never seen in public until Princess Eugenie’s wedding in 2018.
For her wedding day, Lady Gabriella Windsor wore the Kent City of London Fringe Tiara, which was originally gifted to her grandmother, Princess Marina, by the City of London and worn for her wedding portraits.
It was later worn for the marriages of both her mother, Marie-Christine, as well as her aunt, Alexandra. The tiara is a Russian fringe style and made of diamonds.
Princess Beatrice’s diamond tiara for her wedding in July 2020 matched the sentiment of gown. That is, of course, because both were lent to her by her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
Called the Queen Mary Fringe Tiara, it is made of 47 diamond bars and alternating small diamond spikes. Not only did the Queen wear it on her own wedding day, but Princess Anne wore it to hers, as well.
And, while many might wonder why it wasn’t in more regular rotation by Queen Elizabeth II since her wedding day in 1947, it’s actually because it was on loan that very morning and, in fact, was still part of the Queen Mother’s collection until her death in 2002.
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