Tiara Faceoff: The British Royals

EditorsJul 21, 2020

Tiara Faceoff: The British Royals

Which recently wed millennial royal made the most of their “something borrowed”?

From left to right, the Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Beatrice, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Eugenie on their wedding days (Images courtesy of Instagram)

As of last Friday, the last of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren—the British millennial royals—was officially off the market, with Princess Beatrice marrying Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in an intimate, COVID- 19-appropriate ceremony.

Though the celebrations may have been less elaborate than her fellow royal Brits, Beatrice left absolutely nothing to be desired in the jewelry category. (And did you see the floral doorway in the official photos? Her small affair might have been more elegant than the nuptials of her rivals, er, relatives, altogether.)

You see, what one sacrifices for a lifetime of invasion of privacy due to the elitist and obsolete concept that some people are just born better than others is the opportunity to borrow a crown from the Queen of England on your wedding day—a really, really nice one.

So, which of the most famous British royal millennials won Best Tiara on the occasion of their nuptials? And why have I decided to put them in contest against one another?

Because it’s more fun that way, of course!

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Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is known for her classic, timeless aesthetic.

The Cartier Halo Tiara was just the bridal headpiece needed to elevate Kate from relentlessly hounded young woman in the press to oh yeah, our future queen!

According to royal jewelry expert Lauren Kiehna, who spoke to The Evening Standard, King George VI (Queen Elizabeth II’s father) purchased the bauble from Cartier in 1936 as a gift for his wife Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

The scroll-motif style features more than 1,000 diamonds, including 739 round brilliants and 149 baguette-cut stones.

She might opt for simple, classic fare, but I’ll give it to Kate Middleton that she kicked off a bandeau-style tiara resurgence with her 2011 headpiece, with the item reigning supreme for the rest of the decade.

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Let’s fast-forward now to 2018—simpler times! The Duchess of Sussex’s tiara might be the least controversial thing about her.

Back before the American actress and husband Prince Harry stepped back from royal duties and moved to—where else?—Los Angeles, Meghan Markle said “I do” in the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau Tiara.

Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth II’s grandmother, received the tiara as a gift on her wedding day.

The centerpiece is a detachable brooch, though why anyone would wear the brooch when they can wear the whole darn tiara is beyond me.


tiara hadn’t been seen in public for 65 years prior to Meghan Markle’s wedding day.

It feels much more modern than the Duchess of Cambridge’s Cartier tiara, so I’d give round one of this tiara faceoff to Team Sussex.

However, I must admit a lot happens in fashion in seven years, the time between the weddings of the two rivals—oh, sorry again, I meant relatives.

Let’s just leave it at, Kate walked so Meghan could run.

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A regular person’s wedding is all about the wedding dress, but a royal’s bridal centerpiece is her tiara.

The emerald and diamond stunner Princess Eugenie wore to her 2018 wedding is the equivalent of marching down the aisle in a bright-green gown instead of white.

The Greville Tiara features a 93-carat emerald cabochon set in platinum surrounded by additional emeralds and diamonds.

Boucheron created the tiara for socialite Dame Margaret Greville in 1919. She gifted it to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, in 1942, who, in turn, left it to her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II.

Previously, I said it was the best royal jewelry moment of the decade with its unexpected and refreshing pop of color and I stand by that, therefore Eugenie takes the Best Tiara title from Meghan Markle by just a smidge.

However, the best royal jewelry moment of this new decade (the utterly delightful 2020s!) has to go to Eugenie’s elder sister, Princess Beatrice, who wore the Queen Mary Fringe Tiara last Friday.

What is that Southern saying, the higher the hair the closer to God? I think the same applies to tiaras.

When it comes to crowns, apparently bigger is just better—bandeaus be gone!

I’ll take a guess that Beatrice might just be Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite grandchild, seeing that the Queen lent her the most statement-making tiara of the bunch, and such a sentimental one at that.

Afterall, the Queen Mary Fringe Tiara is the very tiara Queen Elizabeth II wore on her own wedding day in 1947.

The tiara is the result of a gift from Queen Victoria to Queen Mary (at the time Princess Mary of Teck) in 1893. Victoria gave Mary a diamond necklace, which in 1919 was repurposed into the exquisite headpiece it is today courtesy of the House of Garrard.

And just like that, the last royal to get hitched upstaged all the others.

Which tiara is your favorite? Let me know in the comments.

Ashley Davisis the senior editor, fashion at National Jeweler, covering all things related to design, style and trends.

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