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The striking tiara that was a gift to a queen from an admirer

It was perhaps the biggest royal wedding style surprise of all. After months of speculation that Princess Eugenie would wear the York Tiara for her wedding, the bride surprised us all and what a surprise it was. Eugenie wore emeralds for her wedding.

The Princess borrowed a tiara from her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and one that hadn’t been seen in many years. Eugenie wore the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik tiara for her marriage to Jack Brooksbank, and it has plenty of very special family links.

The tiara was made in 1921 by the jeweller Boucheron for the very wealthy Margaret Greville who already had one of the most impressive collections of gems in London. It was constructed in the popular kokoshnik style, imitating the traditional Russian headdress. The tiara features a central emerald of over 90 carats set amongst brilliant and rose cut diamonds pave all set in platinum. The diamonds are interspersed with smaller emeralds on either side of the star gem.

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Princess Eugenie also wore a pair of diamond and emerald earrings as part of her bridal outfit. The gems were a gift from her groom, Jack Brooksbank.

The emerald and diamond tiara came into the Royal Family’s collection on the death of Margaret Greville in 1942. She left her sizeable selection of jewels to Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother, in what became known as the Greville Bequest. Among the other gems to make its way into the Windsor vaults at the same time is an all diamond diadem now usually worn by the Duchess of Cornwall. When the Queen Mother died in 2002, the jewels were left to Queen Elizabeth II.

Tiaras with bright coloured stones are a rarity for royal brides who usually prefer to stick with diamonds and pearls but this is one surprise that became a style statement all of its own.

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About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.