When Can Princesses Wear Tiaras?
Wearing princess tiaras isn’t a whimsical decision. Just like any aspect of royal life, there are rules that surround wearing one. Here are just a few of them:
It’s A Symbol Of Matrimony
Hollywood may have fooled us into thinking that princesses regularly don tiaras from the moment they’re born. But that’s not the case with British royals. Ladies don’t wear them until their wedding day because they’re traditionally viewed as signs of marriage.
Diadems After Dusk
With the exception of weddings, royal tiaras are usually just worn after the sun is down. But that doesn’t mean they can be used for any occasion that happens at night. The glamorous accessories are only worn for state visits, coronations, royal balls and inaugurations. They’re also not usually brought to events overseas, except for royal weddings and diplomatic visits.
In fact, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has only worn a sparkly headpiece nine times! It’s not known why she’s quite modest about using the accessory, but some suggest that it’s part of her dedication to making the monarchy more modern and approachable.
Once a lady is loaned a tiara, the piece becomes hers for her entire life. She can choose to wear them when occasions call for them, but she doesn’t have to return them to the Queen’s vault afterwards.
The regal accessory’s history also matters when it comes to choosing which one will be loaned to them. For example, Kate Middleton was given the Cambridge Lover’s Knot, a tiara that’s based off a headpiece owned by the late Princess Augusta of Hesse, who held the same title as Kate.
Reports have also surfaced that Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, was denied a certain emerald headpiece because it’s linked to Russia.
Other Royal Tiaras: What Makes Them Different?
Queen Elizabeth II has the largest and most precious collection, which she lends to members of the British royal family. But other families have fine accessories to boast of. One example is the Spencer tiara worn by Princess Diana, whose family can trace their aristocratic lineage back to the Tudor period.
Plenty of bling can also be found in other parts of the world. For example, Princess Victoria of Sweden wore the Spanish royal family’s Prussian diamond tiara when she married King Felipe the VI. Princess Mako of Japan also wore sparkle when she married Emperor Naruhito.
It seems a common denominator is that princesses wear the regal headpiece on their wedding. On notable exception would be the Monaco royals, who have a tradition of not donning the accessory whenever a member of their family gets married.
11 Magnificent Tiaras Owned By British Royals
Each royal headpiece comes with a unique design and history. Let’s look at the stories behind these beautiful antiques.
1. The Cartier Halo Tiara
This famous tiara was originally purchased by Queen Elizabeth II’s father, King George VI, for his wife. It was then gifted to Queen Elizabeth II on her 18th birthday. The princess tiara was later loaned to Kate Middleton to wear for her wedding to Prince William.
The priceless princess crown has 739 brilliant-cut and 149 baguette-cut diamonds. Considering that a 3-carat ring from Cartier costs $162,000 (or $AUD236,087), it’s hard to imagine the value of this well-known piece of royal jewellery.
2. The Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara
This stunning headpiece was originally created for Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia. It’s made up of 15 diamonds interlinked with hanging pearls. The pearls can also be swapped for emeralds or diamonds.
Following the Russian revolution, the royal tiara was taken from the Vladimir Palace by a British officer and then surrendered to the Grand Duchess’ son. Following her death, her family started to auction her royal jewellery to support themselves. One of the pieces that went under the hammer was the tiara – which was bought by Queen Mary. It was later passed down to Queen Elizabeth II and remains as one of her favourites to this day.
3. The Diamond Bandeau Tiara
Anyone can recognise the beautiful headpiece worn by Meghan Markle on her wedding to Prince Harry. What makes the platinum and diamond tiara unique is that it’s split into 11 sections, allowing it to become flexible.
The tiara was made for Queen Mary and was specifically to accommodate the brilliant centre brooch. The brooch was given to her as a present for her wedding.
4. The Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara
The ornate emerald tiara (famously worn by Princess Eugenie on her wedding day) was originally made for Mrs. Ronald Greville in 1919. It was then passed down to Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. The tiara is set with rose-cut diamonds and six round emeralds.
5. The Modern Sapphire Tiara
While many royal tiaras were passed down to Queen Elizabeth II, the Modern Sapphire Tiara isn’t one of them. She bought this precious headpiece from Princess Louise of Belgium in 1958. As its name suggests, the tiara is set with brilliant sapphires and diamonds.
6. The George IV State Diadem
If there’s a headpiece out there that can be considered exclusive, it would be the George IV State Diadem. King George IV commissioned Rundell & Bridge to make the piece following his coronation.
The diadem consists of 1333 diamonds, including a 4-carat yellow diamond. Its design also features the kingdom’s floral symbols.
The piece was then worn by Queen Victoria, Alexandra, Mary and finally Elizabeth II. Aside from its original owner, it’s been worn only by queens.
7. The Lotus Flower Tiara
The Lotus Flower Tiara is an example of the royals’ tradition of repurposing their old family jewellery. It’s made from a necklace given to the Queen Mother and then refashioned into a headpiece. It features a one-of-a-kind lotus design, making it one of the more unique pieces in the royal family’s collection. Currently, the princess crown is donned by Kate Middleton.
8. The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara
This iconic headpiece was originally owned by Queen Mary of Teck. It was given to her by aristocratic women who called themselves “The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland.” Its current wearer is Queen Elizabeth II, who still frequently wears the piece.
9. The Burmese Ruby Tiara
This classic diadem was made from dismantled tiaras and necklaces. It contains 96 rubies, which were gifts from Burma. Most recently, Queen Elizabeth II wore it during a state visit from US President Donald Trump.
10. The Delhi Durbar Tiara
This exquisite platinum and gold piece is one of the largest and most stately tiaras in the royal family’s collection. It was made for Queen Mary when she and her husband King George V were crowned Empress and Emperor of India.
After nearly 60 years in the vault, Queen Elizabeth II loaned it to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
11. The York Diamond Tiara
As far as royal tiaras are concerned, the York Diamond Tiara is one of the newest ones in the British royal family’s collection. It was made for royal bride Sarah Ferguson for her wedding to Prince Andrew. It remains with the Duchess of York today.
More Than Just An Accessory
Tiaras are more than just bling – each of them come with a unique story. Learning specific details about them can make anybody appreciate the value behind the regal headpieces. Even though the public doesn’t get to see them often, they’re always a sight to behold.