These extravagant accessories are way more than just pretty pieces of jewelry.

By Samantha Sutton
Aug 04, 2020 @ 12:53 pm
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For the average person, adding something sparkly to an outfit isn't exactly a big deal. We like to accessorize based on mood or current trends — not because we're trying to send a subtle or even historical message to the public, which is pretty much the method of the British royal family.

Take tiaras, for instance. While the jewel-embellished pieces worn by Kate Middleton, Queen Elizabeth, and Meghan Markle are fun to look at, more often than not they come with a story that goes way deeper than their appearance.

From the breathtaking versions worn at weddings to the more common royal go-tos, we've rounded up 10 of the most iconic royal tiaras, along with key facts about each.

The Queen Mary Fringe Tiara

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Where You've Seen It: At Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's wedding in 1947. More recently, Princess Beatrice had it on as she said "I do" to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.

Surprising Fact: Just before Queen Elizabeth walked down the aisle, this tiara — which was commissioned by the Queen's grandmother, Queen Mary, in 1919 — actually snapped and broke. Luckily, the court jeweler was able to fix it so that it could still be worn for the ceremony.

The Spencer Tiara

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Where You've Seen It: Princess Diana wore it when she married Prince Charles in 1981, and continued to wear it to events afterward.

Surprising Fact: While wedding tiaras typically come from the royal family's collection, this particular item belongs to the Spencer family. It was made from various pieces of jewelry, but the central part was a wedding gift given to Diana's grandmother, Lady Cynthia Hamilton, in 1919. Various members of the Spencer family have worn this family heirloom, including Diana's niece, Celia McCorquodale, who wore it for her own wedding in 2018.

The Cartier Halo Scroll Tiara

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Where You've Seen It: At the royal wedding in 2011, when Kate Middleton married Prince William.

Surprising Fact: Although King George VI originally purchased this tiara for his wife, it was later gifted to then-Princess Elizabeth on her 18th birthday. The fact that the Queen owned it before she was, well, a queen is assumed to be the real reason Kate chose it as she officially became a royal.

The Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau Tiara

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Where You've Seen It: On Meghan Markle when she wed Harry in 2018. The tiara originally belonged to Queen Mary, aka Queen Elizabeth's grandmother.

Surprising Fact: The tiara itself was made in 1932, but the center brooch, which is detachable and includes 10 different diamonds, is actually from 1893.

The Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara

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Where You've Seen It: This piece was worn by Princess Eugenie on her wedding day in 2018.

Surprising Fact: Before it made its way to the Queen Mother and royal family, the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara belonged to a society hostess named Dame Margaret Greville. As reported by The Telegraph, the design is made up of rose cut pavé diamonds, six emeralds along the sides, and a massive 93.70-carat emerald in the center.

The Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara

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Where You've Seen It: On Princess Diana and, later, Kate Middleton, who wears the tiara pretty frequently at events.

Surprising Fact: The Lover's Knot is actually a replica of another piece. Queen Mary had it made in 1914 based off of a tiara worn by her grandmother, Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel. It has been said that the design, which includes pearls hanging from 19 diamond arches, gave Diana headaches.

The York Tiara

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Where You've Seen It: On Sarah Furguson, who first wore it when she wed Prince Andrew in 1986.

Surprising Fact: While many of these tiaras are simply on loan from the royal family, this one was specifically made for Ferguson and gifted to her. After she divorced Prince Andrew, she was able to keep the tiara, unlike Princess Diana, who had to give back the Cambridge Lover's Knot once she split from Prince Charles.

The Greville Tiara

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Where You've Seen It: This tiara is a favorite for Camila, Duchess of Cornwall.

Surprising Fact: Ms. Greville left all of her jewelry to the Queen Mother after her death, which is how this tiara (and Eugenie's emerald one) made its way into the royal family. It became the royal's favorite, but she had Cartier slightly alter the honeycomb design, adding five more diamonds, including a marquise diamond at the top. Also interesting? Camilla's mother was Greville’s goddaughter.

The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara

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Where You've Seen It: Queen Elizabeth has been wearing this tiara for decades — it's one of her go-tos and even appears on banknotes and coins.

Surprising Fact: This tiara was one of Queen Mary's wedding gifts, given to her by the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland committee (hence the name). She later passed it down to Queen Elizabeth on her wedding day in 1947. Originally, the design included pearls, which Queen Mary replaced with diamonds. This piece can be worn as a necklace, headband, or coronet.

The George IV State Diadem

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Where You've Seen It: Queen Elizabeth famously wore it for her coronation and continues to wear it for the State Opening of Parliament.

Surprising Fact: Originally, this piece was made for King George IV's coronation back in 1820, but after his sister-in-law, Queen Adelaide, inherited it, it was passed down to each queen since then (both regnant and consort). It's made up of 1,333 diamonds, including four-carat pale yellow stone in the center.

The Strathmore Rose Tiara

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Where You've Seen It: Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, otherwise known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (Queen Elizabeth's mother), is the only person to have publicly worn this tiara.

Surprising Fact: The tiara was a gift from Elizabeth's parents when she wed the Duke of York (later King George VI) in 1923. Her father was the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, which is the reason for its name. The flowers are removable and can be worn as brooches, and there are two frames for this piece, allowing it to be worn both lower and higher on the head.