Meghan Markle‘s royal wedding tiara holds as much — if not more — significance as the gown she wore down the aisle. While some speculated that Meghan might skip the tradition altogether, Prince Harry‘s bride followed royal protocol and paid homage to her new family through the meaningful, sparkling accessory which has been in the British royal family for decades.
Meghan followed in Kate Middleton’s footsteps wearing a tiara straight from the Queen’s jewelry vault, the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau.
According to Kensington Palace, the English tiara, which features diamonds set in platinum, was made in 1932 and features a center detachable brooch made of ten diamonds dating back to 1893.
The tiara is “formed as a flexible band of eleven sections, pierced with interlaced ovals and pavé set with large and small brilliant diamonds.”
The palace confirms that the diamond bandeau was a present to the then Princess Mary in 1893 by the County of Lincoln on her marriage to Prince George, Duke of York, who would become King George V. The bandeau and the brooch were passed down by Queen Mary to The Queen in 1953. The queen’s sister Princess Margaret famously wore the piece to events.
Meghan styled the diamond tiara featuring with a chic bridal updo and cathedral length veil and a custom Givenchy dress featuring long-sleeves and a statement train.
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Royal wedding predictors had their eye on the Queen Mother’s Strathmore Rose tiara for Markle. The bejeweled floral headpiece was given to Harry’s great grandmother as a wedding gift. She wore the diamond garland design for hr official bridal portraits alongside the Duke of York in 1929. (They later became King George VI , 1895 – 1952, and Queen Elizabeth, 1900 – 2002.)
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Wearing a tiara from the royal family archives shows Meghan’s commitment to her new life in the royal spotlight as Prince Harry’s wife. So how does her glittering headpiece compare to the pantheon of royal bridal tiaras? See below for a recap of what Princess Kate, Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother wore on their big days.
Princess Kate in the Cartier Halo Tiara
For her April 29, 2011, nuptials to Prince William, Kate wore a glittering diamond design straight from Queen Elizabeth II’s personal collection. The Queen’s Cartier Halo tiara is currently on display at the National Gallery of Australia through July 22. She was given the headpiece as an 18th birthday gift from her mother (the Queen Mother herself was given the tiara by Elizabeth’s father King George VI in 1936).
Kate’s V-neck Alexander McQueen gown, designed by creative director Sarah Burton, featured a full skirt, train and gorgeous lace fabric. She added even more sparkle via a pair of leaf-shaped diamond earrings by Robinson Pelham, which were a gift from her parents, Carole and Michael Middleton. The sparklers featured a diamond set drop and pavé set diamonds suspended in the center.
Princess Diana in the Spencer Tiara
Princess Diana turned to her own aristocratic family’s archives when it came time to choosing a tiara for her July 29, 1981, wedding to Prince Charles.
The Spencer Tiara features a combination of different pieces of jewelry that hold special meaning to her family. The central part of the tiara was given as a wedding present to Lady Cynthia Hamilton (Diana’s grandmother) when she married Albert, Viscount Althorp, the future 7th Earl Spencer, in 1919. The topper was given to Cynthia by Albert’s great aunt, Lady Sarah Isabella Spencer, who died later that year.
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The current version – which is constructed with diamonds shaped into tulips and stars surrounded by attractive scrolls – was reportedly finalized sometime in the ’30s. It has become a popular wedding tiara for the Spencer family: Diana’s sisters – Lady Sarah and Jane, Baroness Fellowes – both wore the sparkler for their wedding days and Victoria Lockwood, who was the first wife of Diana’s brother Charles, the current Earl of Spencer, wore it when she married into the famed aristocratic family in 1989 (where little Prince Harry served as a pageboy).
Queen Elizabeth II loaned Diana the Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara (also referred to as the Cambridge Lover’s Knot) for the 1981 royal wedding, but the princess-to-be remained loyal to her family roots and wore the Spencer Tiara. The Queen Mary Lover’s Knot Tiara did, however, become one of Diana’s favorites to wear to various royal engagements and the glittering diamond-and-pearl design has since been worn by Princess Kate to royal diplomatic receptions.
The Spencer tiara, which still belongs to the Spencer family, has not been publicly worn since Diana’s death in 1997, but it has often been loaned to various Diana-themed exhibits around the world.
Prince Harry already made sure to pay tribute to his mom when design Meghan’s engagement ring. The 3-stone design features one large stone in the center, sourced from Botswana, flanked by two smaller stones, from Princess Diana’s own personal jewelry vault.
It was crafted by British jewelers Cleave and Company, who are the jewelers to Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth.
Botswana is a country in Africa that’s close to Harry’s heart. He took Meghan there on a romantic trip last summer.
Queen Elizabeth in the Diamond Fringe Tiara
On November 20, 1947, a 21-year-old Princess Elizabeth wore her grandmother Queen Mary’s Diamond Fringe tiara to marry Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey – the same place where Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, and Prince William and the then Kate Middleton tied the knot in 2011.
The piece of jewelry was made for Queen Mary in 1919 and can be worn as a crown-like headpiece or as a necklace. Elizabeth’s tiara famously broke on her wedding day, but was quickly repaired. She’s since worn it for numerous royal appearances.
The Queen Mother in the Strathmore Rose Tiara
Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons married Prince Albert, Duke of York, on April 26, 1923. Her father, the Earl of Strathmore, presented her with the Strathmore Rose Tiara as a wedding gift, which she wore in her official wedding portrait. The headpiece dates back to the late nineteenth century and boasts a garland of roses set with rose-cut diamonds. Albert became King George VI in 1936 until his death in 1952, when his eldest daughter, Princess Elizabeth, was crowned the Queen of England at the age of 25.