A Glance Into the Past: The History of Royal Tiaras
| LAST UPDATE 09/13/2022
The glamorous collection of sparkling tiaras includes diamonds, emeralds, and everything in between. Passed through generations, these pieces hold a place in royal history.
The Girls of Great Britain & Ireland Tiara
This glamorous tiara was passed down through royal generations from The Queen Mary of Teck to Queen Elizabeth II. It was originally commissioned as a gift by a group who called themselves the "Girls of Great Britain and Ireland," hence the name of the tiara.
In the '90s the tiara was reconstructed to dismantle so it could be worn as a coronet, necklace, or headband for versatility. The piece's last wearer was Queen Elizabeth II. Of all of the pieces she owned, this one quickly became one of the most-worn tiaras in her collection, as seen in numerous photos throughout the years.
Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara
The Lover's Knot tiara was commissioned by Queen Mary of Teck and has gotten quite the amount of action over the years. The heavy piece has been worn by Queen Mary; the Queen Mother; Queen Elizabeth II; Diana, Princess of Wales; and currently, Catherine, Princess of Wales.
The tiara was loaned to and worn frequently by Princess Diana during her lifetime. After her passing, it was not worn until 2015, when Princess Catherine wore it to an evening at the Buckingham Palace. It now resides safely in Princess Catherine's closet.
The Lotus Flower Tiara
The Lotus Flower tiara was made from repurposed pearl and diamond necklaces in 1923. It features a detailed motif of lotuses, set with rose-cut diamonds. Loaned to many throughout the years, it was worn by Lord Linley's wife, Serena, for her wedding day in 1993.
The special 1920s tiara can be worn either low across the forehead or atop the head, depending on the wearer's preference. Both Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret wore it regularly, but opposite ways. It's now worn by Princess Catherine, who has sported it atop her head at several state occasions.
The York Diamond Tiara
In an unusual move made by the royal family, a brand new tiara, The York Diamond Tiara, was made for royal bride Sarah Ferguson when she married into the family. Made by Garrard, the tiara was hidden by a flower crown of white roses on her wedding day in 1986.
The sparkling tiara was debuted to the public post-wedding ceremony when Sarah, Duchess of York, stepped out into the public for the first time. It has been said that this was meant to serve as her visual transformation from commoner to a member of the royal family.
The Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara
This exquisite tiara is made up of 15 interlinked diamond circles. To match any outfit, the dangling pearls within each circle can be swapped out for diamonds or emeralds. It was originally created for the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia but was inherited by Queen Elizabeth II upon Queen Mary's passing.
The designer, Garrard, has renovated the tiara many times throughout the years. He adapted it to be able to hold Mary's collection of Cambridge emeralds, built it a completely new frame, and overall kept it in tip-top shape throughout the past century of use.
The Burmese Ruby Tiara
This Burmese ruby-encrusted tiara was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth II in 1973. She asked Garrard to utilize rubies and diamonds from dismantled tiaras and necklaces in her collection. Its distinctive floral pattern was made to resemble Queen Victoria's favorite Oriental Circlet tiara.
Upon succeeding to the throne in 1953, Queen Elizabeth II should have gained possession of all "heirlooms of the crown," including her mother's Oriental Circlet. However, since the tiara was one of the Queen Mother's favorites, Queen Elizabeth II decided to let her keep it, and had a new one created instead.
The Gloucester Honeysuckle Tiara
Another creation made from other dismantled jewelry, The Gloucester Honeysuckle tiara was created for Queen Mary of Teck. The large tiara was made to have an interchangeable center stone, where a jewel can be placed. It currently sits in the glamorous collection of Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester.
Birgitte commonly wears the piece with 1 of 3 different elements, all family stones; diamond honeysuckle, pink topaz, or an emerald surrounded by diamonds. Though the Duchess has many other tiaras in her closet, this is the one she is said to wear the most.
The Delhi Durbar Tiara
The impossible-to-miss Delhi Durbar tiara is crafted from diamonds that were cut from the largest diamond ever found, a 3000-carat rough stone mined in South Africa in 1905. It was then worn 42 years later by The Queen Mother when the royal family was on a South African tour.
The beautiful platinum and gold piece features intricate and delicate lyres, scrolls, and festoons. Before it was passed through family hands, the tiara was worn by the late Queen Elizabeth II. It is now one of the biggest tiaras in Queen Camilla's collection.
The Cartier Indian Tiara
The stunning Cartier Indian tiara was originally owned by Princess Marie Louise, one of the daughters of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. This sapphire, diamond, and pearl number got its name because it mimics traditional Indian design motifs. It currently resides with Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester.
We don't know the exact weight of this large tiara, but with the gem-packed designs of 3 different stones, we can't imagine that it's very light! The statement piece doesn't get shown off often, however, when Birgitte has worn it at banquets in the past, it was no wonder why all eyes were on her.
The Modern Sapphire Tiara
This Modern Sapphire tiara has several names, including The George VI Sapphire Tiara. It originally belonged to Princess Louise of Belgium, daughter of King Leopold II, however, it was bought by Queen Elizabeth II. Soon it became 1 of the more significant jewels she added to her collection during her reign.
This tiara complements the entire royal sapphire collection. Maybe most memorably, that includes Princess Diana's sparkling sapphire collection: a brooch-turned-necklace from the Queen Mother; a watch, necklace, bracelet, and matching earring set from The Saudi Suite, and sapphire engagement ring from then-Prince Charles.
The George IV State Diadem
This stunning 1820 piece has been worn by 4 queens so far: Queen Victoria, Alexandra, Mary, and Elizabeth II. It is one of the more exquisite tiaras created and is only worn by Queens. The George IV Diadem Crown has a gold, silver, pearl, and diamond headpiece, set with 1,333 diamonds and a 4-carat yellow diamond in the center.
You may have seen this glamorous tiara featured in the portrait of the Queen that appears on British stamps and coins. Queen Elizabeth II was the last to own it with immense pride and wore it for the special occasions of travel to and from the State Opening of Parliament.
The Kent Diamond and Pearl Fringe Tiara
This 'comb'-style tiara was originally a sleek diamond bandeau owned by Queen Mary of Teck. She passed it down through the family to Katharine, The Duchess of Kent, who wore it in 1961 for her wedding to the Duke of Kent. From that day on, it remained in her collection.
By the '70s, the Kent's had the tiara revamped. They kept the base frame but added a petite diamond fringe topped by small round pearls to the top of the tiara. In later years, the tiara was chosen to be the bridal crown of Lady Helen Windsor, but since then has been out of sight, hopefully, to emerge again in the future.
The Cubitt-Shand Tiara
The Cubitt-Shand tiara, sometimes called the Cubitt Tiara, is one of the smaller tiaras Queen Camilla wears. This beautiful piece has a romantic nature theme featuring flowers and vines. It was inherited by her own family, once belonging to the Duchess' grandmother, Sonia Keppel.
The piece was created with a higher center, to be seen atop any hairstyle paired with its sparkling shape. When Sonia passed away, the tiara was inherited by Camilla's mother, Rosalind, who then passed it down to her daughter Laura, for her wedding day. Thus the bridal tiara tradition extended to another generation.
The Meander Tiara
This beautiful tiara was originally owned by Princess Andrew of Greece. The Meander tiara represents the only piece in the royal collection that belonged to the family of Prince Philip. Now worn atop the head of Princess Anne, she leant it to her daughter, Zara Philips, on her wedding day in 2011.
The Meander tiara got its name from the Greek key design, often called a meander, that makes up the band. It was reportedly created by Cartier, its unique geometric design made up of diamonds broken up by a central laurel wreath and 2 honeysuckle sections.
The Five Aquamarine Tiara
The origin of this stunning aquamarine-filled tiara is somewhat of a mystery. Composed of 5 aquamarine stones in a ribbon-like pattern surrounded by diamonds, the tiara is rumored to be part of a bigger set. It was once worn by Queen Elizabeth II during a trip to Canada in 1970 before it disappeared into the royal vault.
After The Five Aquamarine tiara AKA the Canadian Aquamarine tiara was out of the public eye for several decades, it appeared again in 2012 worn by Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Said to be on long-term loan from the Queen, the tiara now brings Sophie's aquamarine collection to 2.
The Greville Tiara
The unique Greville tiara, sometimes called the Boucheron Honeycomb Tiara, was originally created from another dismantled piece in 1901. The Boucheron creation originally featured a flat top and distinctive 'honeycomb' structure, made out of diamonds and platinum.
The eye-catching multi-level piece is currently worn by the Queen Mother's granddaughter-in-law, Queen Camilla. The tiara was worked on in 1953 by Cartier, adding a marquise stone to the center top to give it more height and variation.
Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik Tiara
Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik tiara was designed by a royal committee called 'The Ladies of Society', a group of 364 aristocratic women. They raised money to have Garrard create the 61-diamond bar eye-catching piece for Queen Alexandra's wedding anniversary in 1888.
The entire tiara was packed with 488 diamonds, and even better, it was convertible, able to be taken off of its frame and worn as a necklace. The glamorous piece was later worn by Queen Elizabeth II, and was most recently seen in 2015 during the Mexican state banquet.
Cartier Halo Tiara
This gorgeous Cartier Halo tiara was made globally famous when it was worn by Catherine "Kate" Middleton on her wedding day to Prince William in 2011. The angelic piece, sometimes called the Cartier Scroll tiara, was created in 1936, made up of 739 brilliant-cut diamonds and 149 baguette diamonds.
The beautifully subtle headpiece was originally Cartier-commissioned by George VI to be given as a wedding gift weeks later when George was due to become King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth. It was passed through family hands until it landed on Kate's head for her big day.
Queen Mary's Diamond Bandeau Tiara
Queen Mary's Diamond Bandeau tiara was made in 1932 and featured a center detachable brooch made of 10 diamonds whose history dates back to 1893. The amazing platinum-set piece was brought out of the royal vault after 65 years by Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, to wear on her wedding day.
According to Town & Country's Elizabeth Angell, the tiara is "Formed as a flexible band of eleven sections, pierced with interlaced ovals and pavé set with large and small brilliant diamonds and a central detachable brooch of ten brilliant diamonds."
The Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara
The center emerald of this stunning piece is rumored to weigh a whopping 93.7 carats! According to the royal family's website, the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik tiara "Was made by Boucheron for Mrs. Greville in 1919 in the fashionable ‘kokoshnik’ style popularized in the Russian Imperial Court."
The Greville Emrald Kokoshnik tiara went unseen for more than 80 years until Princess Eugenie of York wore it on her wedding day. It incorporates rose-cut diamonds in a kokoshnik-style arc with 6 sparkling emeralds, 3 on each side. The gem-filled beauty remains in the collection of Princess Eugine of York to this day.
The Kent City of London Fringe Tiara
As some may gather from the name, the City of London gave this tiara to Princess Marina on her wedding day. It featured diamond spires set in gold and was later passed on to Princess Beatrice to wear for her wedding in July 2020, which marked the most recent royal to marry.
According to People, "The Queen saved this grand tiara specifically for Beatrice. It was always reserved for her as they are exceptionally close. "[It was] arguably the most sentimental [piece] ever lent from the Queen." The glamorous tiara's current wearer is Princess Michael of Kent.
The Teck Turquoise Tiara
The Teck Turquoise tiara was another tiara made for Queen Mary of Teck. The large turquoise piece came as part of a set including earrings, a necklace, rings, and brooches. Currently worn by Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester, it has been worn by two generations of Gloucester duchesses.
According to The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor, "The Gloucesters own this piece privately, and will presumably pass it on to one of their three children some day." The Gloucester collection includes somewhere in the range of 6 tiaras, "An amount that could rival the collections of some entire royal countries."
The Ogilvy Tiara
The nature-oriented Ogilvy tiara was made for Princess Alexandra of Kent, also known as Lady Ogilvy, who remains the piece's owner today. It was crafted by Collingwood Jewellers in 1963, expanded from the set of diamond flowers previously worn by the Princess.
The flower designs were incorporated into a swirling diamond ribbon structure, matched with versatile pearl, sapphire, or turquoise options for the center stone. Each option transformed the piece into a beautiful creation, and came with matching necklaces, able to match with any outfit.
The Brazilian Aquamarine Parure Tiara
This glamorous piece was part of a set gifted to Queen Elizabeth II for her coronation in 1953 by the President of Brazil. It's made up of emerald-cut aquamarines and diamonds and was specifically created by Garrard to perfectly match the necklace and earring gift.
Author Leslie Field describes the necklace as "Nine large oblong aquamarines each in a diamond scroll setting with an even bigger oblong aquamarine pendant drop." The earrings were designed to mimic the setting of the necklace's pendant, completing the glamorous 3-piece set.
The Kent Festoon Tiara
The Kent Festoon tiara was given to Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, in the early 1900s by her husband the Duke of Kent. It is made of swirling diamond patterns and has a removable pearl band. It currently sits in the collection of Princess Michael of Kent, and is often worn for official occasions.
The tiara was originally an all-diamond piece that featured pearls at the tip of each elaborate festoon element, but the Michaels of Kent have since apparently removed the bottom row of diamonds, and changed the design slightly to include an extra row of pearls along the base of the tiara.
Lady Sarah's Floral Tiara
Although this piece was made for Lady Sarah Chatto's wedding day, it isn't an official royal piece. Created from 3 floral diamond brooches given to Princess Margaret by Antony Armstrong-Jones as a wedding present in 1960, the tiara is mounted on a frame with green leaves.
The tiara remained in brooch pieces until Sarah's wedding in 1994 when they were turned into a diadem. The hair accessories worn by Lady Sarah's bridesmaids closely matched the design of her tiara, giving the wedding party a cohesive and elegant look in their glamorous wedding photos.
The Persian Turquoise Tiara
Often referred to as the "Triumph of Love Tiara," the Persian Turquoise tiara was made in 1900 by Garrard. In 1951, the Queen Mother gave the piece to her younger daughter, Princess Margaret, as a 21 birthday present. The Persian tiara was the largest piece in Margaret's collection at the time, and she wore it frequently.
Princess Margaret was said to have worn this tiara semi-regularly in her youth. Although it hasn't been worn since her passing in 2002, it is rumored to now belong to her daughter, Lady Sarah Chatto, who is said to wear it with her mother in mind.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex's, Wedding Tiara
This piece has no official name, so it is known as Sophie, Countess of Wessex's Wedding Tiara. While royal brides are supposed to either wear a brand new piece or a an heirloom piece, Sophie wore a combination of the two. It was given to her for her wedding and is rumoured to have been made from another dismantled tiara.
The Countess has worn the beautiful tiara a number of times since her wedding day, such as to the nuptials of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. The piece remains a special part of her collection to this day.
The Iveagh Tiara
Lord and Lady Iveagh gave this tiara as a gift to Queen Mary of Teck on her wedding day. Attached to it was a simple and elegant veil that complemented the gorgeous tiara's pattern. It is made of diamond scrolls and leaves and is currently worn by The Duchess of Gloucester.
According to The Court Jeweler, "In 2008, the tiara adorned the head of another Gloucester woman: Lady Rose Windsor, the daughter of the current Duke and Duchess. She wore it at her wedding to George Gilman, which took place in the Queen’s Chapel at St. James’s Palace."
The Festoon Tiara
A privately-owned tiara, The Festoon tiara was given to Princess Anne as a gift by the World Wide Shipping Group in 1973. Anne's daughter-in-law, Autumn Phillips, wore it on her wedding day. Anne, Princess Royal remains the wearer of the beautiful piece.
As explained by The Court Jeweler, Princess Anne has worn the tiara on a regular basis since she received it, usually at events like state banquets. She often pairs the tiara with her diamond festoon necklace and other jewels, including a large diamond bow brooch.
Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960, wearing the gorgeous Poltimore tiara. Garrard created the piece in the 1870s for Lady Florence of Poltimore. It was then purchased for Margaret as an engagement gift. She wore the tiara as a beautiful diamond fringe necklace on several occasions before her marriage.
When Margaret arrived at her wedding by horse-drawn carriage, the stunning Poltimore tiara held her veil in place as a circlet of diamonds around her hair. Sadly, the Poltimore tiara, sometimes referred to as Patrick's tiara was sold at auction after Margaret passed away.
Princess Alice's Crystal Headdress
When Princess Alice married Prince Henry in 1935, she wore a glamorous crystal headdress instead of a tiara. It attached to her tulle veil and stood brilliantly atop her head. The Duchess of Gloucester had an unexpectedly somber wedding day, as her father had passed away weeks prior.
Alice was thought to be an unusual bride by many because she waited until the age of 34 to marry. She wed in a pearl pink gown with a matching tulle veil with a cluster of orange blossoms at the neckline. Her sparkling crystal tiara was made specifically for the special day.
The Spencer Family Tiara
The Spencer Family tiara was a family heirloom that belonged to Diana's father, John Spencer, Eighth Earl of Spencer. It was crafted in the 1930s by Garrard. It combined several other jewelry pieces and earned "icon" status when Princess Diana wore it on her wedding day in 1981 with her David and Elizabeth Emanuel gown.
The tiara in its current state was constructed with diamonds shaped into tulips and stars surrounded by scrolls. It was finalized sometime in the '30s and was a popular wedding tiara for the Spencer family. Di's sisters, Lady Sarah and Jane, both wore the piece for their wedding days too!
Strathmore Rose Tiara
This beautiful late 19th-century tiara was worn in 1923 for the wedding portraits of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and King George VI. The piece was a wedding gift from Mary's father, the Earl of Strathmore. It featured a garland of roses set with rose-cut diamonds.
According to The Queen's Diamonds by Hugh Roberts, the elegant tiara's flowers can be removed and worn as brooches. Initially, they could also be swapped out for five sapphires. The 1920s piece hasn't been seen in public for years, although it remains up for the current princesses' grabs.
The Heathcote Tiara
This elegant piece features mixed flowers around the large "dog rose" motif in the center of the tiara. It is entirely covered with diamonds and can be taken apart so that two sections can be worn as brooches. The A-shaped symmetrical piece features many.
The sparkler is currently owned by Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby, Lady Willoughby de Eresby. Jane lent the tiara to her second cousin, Rose Astor, on her wedding day in 2005. It was then altered and worn by Sarah Rose Hanbury and now remains in her collection.
The Northumberland Tiara
This stunning crown-like creation was first seen in 1845 when the 6th Duke of Northumberland married his wife, Louisa. Several generations of the Percy family have since worn it. Most recently, Lady Melissa Percy sported it to her 2013 wedding to her former husband, Thomas van Straubenzee.
Can you imagine how heavy this must be? In case Melissa wanted to offload, the tiara can be broken down into 14 separate brooches. And, the circlet of sparkling diamonds around the base can be worn as a necklace. With so many accessories in one, we're in awe!
Hanoverian Floral Tiara
This eye-catching tiara is rumored to be from the 1900s. It was recently spotted atop the head of lawyer and former model, Alessandra de Osma when she married Prince Christian, brother of Ernst August, in a lavish ceremony in Peru.
The large diamond sparkler resembles a floral spray, complete with intricate leaves and blossoms. It collected dust in the House of Hanover vaults until it became one of the favorite choices for brides marrying into the family, such as Osma and Ekaterina Malysheva.
Teck Crescent Tiara
This tiara became part of British Royalty thanks to Queen Mary's mother, Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck. The Teck Crescent tiara is considered by many as one of several "hidden" tiaras within the Royal family. However, we do know where it resides today: The jewelry box of the new Queen Consort.
The moon-filled vision is one of three tiaras that Camilla was given in 2005 on a long-term loan from her mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II. Despite it being a massively glamorous piece, Camilla still has yet to wear it in public. In fact, a sighting hasn't been recalled since 2012 when it was photographed for The Queen's Diamonds.
The Oriental Circlet
Prince Albert had this gorgeous ruby-filled oriental circlet tiara made for his wife, Queen Victoria, in 1853. The piece has many names. The Indian Ruby Tiara or even just the Indian Tiara is made up of diamond and ruby arches and flowers. It now resides in the collection of Queen Elizabeth II.
The original design consisted of more than 2,600 diamonds with opal accents, all set in gold. Many changes have occurred since the tiara was created. After receiving this piece, Victoria commissioned an opal necklace, earrings, and brooch to go with it. The opals have since been replaced with rubies.
Queen Mary's Boucheron Loop Tiara
While visiting South Africa during a 1901 tour, before beginning her reign as Queen, Mary was presented with a collection of 675 diamonds by de Beers. In 1902, she used those diamonds to commission the loop tiara from designer Boucheron to prepare for her title shift to Queen Mary of Teck.
The current state of the tiara is not what you see in this picture. Instead of remaining in a vault, and with Mary's habit of dismantling pieces to create other beautiful treasures, Garrard was instructed to dismantle it. You may recognize some of the design elements in the Delhi Durbar Tiara today.