When you’re marrying into a family with one of the most famous jewellery collections in the world, finding the perfect wedding tiara might seem like a stroll but with so much choice, how do you pick? With just days to go until the Royal Wedding, some regal diadems are getting plenty of attention as speculation grows over which, if any, Meghan Markle will choose.
All of the main candidates for the sparkling final touch to Meghan’s much-anticipated wedding look have links to women who have played a vital role in the modern House of Windsor. Meghan will join their ranks on 19 May 2018 so here’s a look at some of the royals whose jewels could have a role in her wedding.
Diana, Princess of Wales
Harry and Meghan have already said they want his late mother to be part of their special day which could mean the bride choosing to wear the tiara so famously used by Diana at her own wedding on 29 July 1981.
The Spencer Tiara
This all diamond tiara is perhaps the one most associated with Diana who wore it throughout her public life. It’s a wall of flowers and foliage made from diamonds in silver settings and all mounted in gold. The main part of this diadem was given to Diana’s grandmother, Cynthia, when she got married in 1919 and other elements were added in the following years to complete this most famous of tiaras.
In some ways, it seems like an obvious pick but this tiara belongs to the Spencer family and is traditionally worn by members of the family or those marrying into it. Whether that’s enough to count it out remains to be seen – the link to Diana is pretty powerful.
The Queen Mother
Several of the tiaras being mentioned as possibles for Meghan first belonged to the Queen Mother and the high regard she’s held in by her family could see one of these work their way to the top of the sparkle list. Several royal women have had their first tiara taken from the Queen Mum’s collection so could one of these diadems be that picked by Meghan?
The Strathmore Rose Tiara
This tiara was bought for the Queen Mother by her father, the Earl of Strathmore, when she married the future George VI in 1923. It’s an all diamond diadem, with the stones set in rose motifs, and the then Duchess of York wore it in the early years of her royal life. It’s not been seen for quite a while which means that Meghan would have its modern usage all to herself and given that most royal women have their own signature sparkle, that could make this a favourite for the bride.
Bandeau Tiara by Cartier
This sparkling setting is actually a collection of bracelets bought by the Queen’s parents when they were still Duke and Duchess of York. Two are all diamond while three feature other precious stones. Any of the strands can be put on a specially made base to create a tiara which is very much in the style of the late 1920s. That’s when the Queen Mother wore this but it’s not been seen in decades in the tiara setting. Like the Strathmore Rose, it’s just waiting for a royal to make it all her own again.
We all know how much the Queen looked up to her grandmother, Queen Mary, who was a major influence on her as she grew up. And when it comes to diamonds, no one accrued more than Mary. She loved to pick up a tiara or three whenever she could and while parts of her collection have been distributed among her descendants, there are some that might just reappear on Royal Wedding Day.
The Teck Crescent Tiara
This tiara came to the Royal Family via Mary’s mum. Born Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge she married Francis of Teck by which time she’d inherited these diamonds from an aunt. The tiara consists of a central rose surrounded by diamond crescents and more flowers and Mary Adelaide liked to wear it with another double row of diamonds beneath that. In modern times, it’s rarely seen which, again, leaves the way clear for Meghan to make it her own.
The Fringe Tiara
This famous all diamond affair was made for Queen Mary in 1919 from diamonds in a necklace that had been given to her by Queen Victoria. Mary lent it to the Queen for her wedding in 1947 and Princess Anne wore it for her first marriage in 1973 so it’s got plenty of bridal pedigree. The kokoshnik design (named after the traditional Russian headdress on which its based) was very popular amongst Europe’s royals during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This tiara is also well known for breaking on the Queen’s wedding day but forewarned is forearmed even if it might be too closely associated with other royal marriages to make it a real candidate for Meghan.
Ah yes. All roads lead to Rome and all tiaras lead, ultimately, to the Queen who is boss of the royal jewellery box with no exceptions made. Ultimately, she will have had a say in any tiara chosen by Meghan for her wedding and between the two of them they could yet pull a major surprise.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh bought a tiara for Sarah Ferguson when she married Prince Andrew on 23 July 1986 while Sophie Rhys-Jones wore a diadem made up of pieces from the Queen’s collection for her marriage to Prince Edward on 19 June 1999. Something new might yet be the way this royal bride goes.
The newest royal herself
After all, even with all that protocol and tradition to incorporate, the final wedding look belongs to Meghan alone. Several royal brides have decided to go without a tiara – including the Queen Mother herself who dropped the diamonds for her own marriage in April 1923.
However, amongst the generation of the Queen’s grandchildren, royal brides have tended to borrow. Zara Phillips and Autumn Kelly were lent pieces by the Princess Royal for their weddings. The Duchess of Cambridge wore the Halo Tiara by Cartier for her big day, a piece that once belonged to the Queen Mother.
And, when all is said and done, asking for a royal loan ticks both the ‘something old’ and ‘something borrowed’ boxes on any bridal to do list and might yet provide the biggest hint so far as to Meghan’s tiara choice.