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The Type of Tiara Loaned by the Queen in a Royal Wedding Speaks for her Affection


After watching Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip's six grandchildren married, welcoming three granddaughters-in-law into the royal fold, we've seen different types of head sparklers royal brides donned on their wedding day.

However, only five royal brides in the Queen's immediate family worn a tiara from the royal family jewellery collection, others worn tiaras that were purchased as wedding gifts or loaned by other royals.

In royalty, tiaras are not just head sparklers, each has special value in history, and often viewed as an extension of the royal court's identity.

No wonder Queen Elizabeth II never just lent her tiaras to anyone anytime, there should be an appropriate occasion and the person must personifies the identity of the tiara.

Or as we have observed, depends on the degree of her affection toward the royal or the woman marrying into the royal family.

Having seen royal weddings in the British court for many years, we noticed that the way the Queen loaned a type of tiara, reflected her affection to a royal bride.

Princess Bea's wedding said it all.

One of the Queen's Favorite Tiaras

Queen Mary Diamond Fringe tiara is one of the Queen's favorites, one of her most important jewels in her possession, she has occasionally worn it at portraits, state occasions or white-tie events, no wonder she doesn't just loan it to anyone.

Queen Mary Diamond Fringe tiara

It's the same tiara she wore at her wedding to Prince Philip in 1947 which makes it more sentimental and meaningful.

This tiara, which also can be worn as a necklace, was created in 1919 for Queen Mary, the grandmother of the current queen.

It was made by E.Wolff and Co for Garrard and the design was inspired by the Russian Kokoshnik headdress.

It is made of 47 diamond bars in spike designs and smaller brilliant bars placed between the large spikes.

In August 1936, Queen Mary gave the tiara to her daughter-in-law, then Elizabeth, Duchess of York, which would become Queen Elizabeth, consort of King George VI, in December that year.

Queen Mary Diamond Fringe tiara
is one of the Queen's favorites

It was Queen Elizabeth who lent the tiara to her daughter, Princess Elizabeth, in her 1947 wedding.

She loaned it again to her granddaughter, Princess Anne, when the Princess Royal married Captain Mark Phillips, in 1973.

So it's incorrect when others said, Queen Elizabeth II loaned it to her daughter in 1973. She only took possession of the tiara in 2002 upon the death of the Queen Mother.

The first time she personally loaned it to a royal bride is this year, when her granddaughter, Princess Beatrice, wed Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, in a private ceremony, July 17.

It's with this circumstance that we decided to talk about tiara history and its important role at royal weddings.

The Battle of Wedding Tiaras

Most royal brides donned tiaras on their wedding day, but most of it were not loaned from the queen.

Here are tiaras not borrowed from Her Majesty's collection.

Poltimore Tiara

The Queen's only sibling did not borrow a tiara from Her Majesty's collection, she chose to wear the Poltimore tiara she purchased in 1959, a year before her wedding.

Princess Margaret in 1960

This tiara was believed to have created in 1870 for Lady Poltimore. In 1959, her grandson, the 4th Baron Poltimore sold it in auction in 1959.

Princess Margaret purchased it and seen her wearing the tiara even before her wedding in May 1960.

In 2006, four years after her death, her two children struggled to pay estate taxes so they sold some of their mother's jewellery collection in an auction.

Poltimore tiara included. And was sold in auction at Chistie's London with a whopping £1.7 million to a private buyer.

Spencer Tiara

Lady Diana didn't wear a loaned tiara from the Queen when she wed Prince Charles in 1981.

She wore a family heirloom,  the Spencer tiara, made from platinum and diamond, loaned to her by her father, the 8th Earl Spencer of Althorp.

The tiara was also worn by Diana's mother, her two sisters, and sister-in-law, Victoria Lockwood, on their wedding day.

The Princess of Wales wearing her family's sparkler, the Spencer tiara

Diana wearing the Cambridge Lover's Knots tiara

However, the Queen gifted the Princess of Wales with the Cambridge Lover's Knots tiara previously owned by Queen Mary.

Since this piece is a royal family heirloom, after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996, it was returned to the Queen.

The York Diamond tiara

This tiara got its name from the geographical courtesy title of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.

It was purchased by the Queen and Prince Philip for Sarah Ferguson to be worn on her wedding day to Prince Andrew. 

Duchess of York wore The York diamond tiara 

The design featured scrollwork with a splendid 5-carat diamond perched above the jewel.

Since it was purchased for her, this sparkler became Sarah's property and remained in her possession even after her divorce from Prince Andrew.

Many have predicted that her daughters might wear the tiara on their wedding day, but none of them seen donning it because they wore a tiara loaned by their grandmother, the Queen.

Anthemion Tiara

Sophie Rhys-Jones also didn't wear a loaned tiara from the Queen when she married Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, in 1999.

The Countess of Wessex

Her Majesty and Prince Philip purchased one for her as a wedding gift. Many claimed it was custom-made and the piece was made out of the Queen's antique pieces of jewelry.

Though the Palace has not confirmed any speculation how the tiara was created, many claimed it is composed of several anthemion elements originally from Queen Victoria's regal circlet.

Festoon Tiara

Festoon tiara was given to Princess Anne by the World Wide Shipping Group, a Hongkong-based company, in 1973, but not as a wedding gift but due to the Princess Royal's christening one of its ships.

Autumn Kelly

Princess Anne loaned it to her daughter-in-law, Autumn Kelly, for her 2008 wedding to Peter Phillips. It's been one of Princess Anne's favorite tiaras in her possession.

Greek Meander Tiara

This tiara was custom-made for then Princess Elizabeth as a wedding gift from Prince Philip's mother, Princess Alice.

Zara Phillips

Princess Alice dismantled one of her family heirloom when her only son planned to propose to the future Queen of England.

A Greek tiara of Princess Alice was  then recreated into a custom-made diamond engagement ring and a Greek Meander tiara.

The Queen was not seen wearing the tiara, she gave it to her daughter in 1972. Princess Anne has worn the piece many times in her public appearances.

When her only daughter, Zara Phillips, married in 2011, Princess Anne loaned it to her.

Wedding Tiara Loaned from the Crown Jewelry Collection

Below are the tiara pieces loaned from the crown jewelry collection, either by the Queen Mother or Queen Elizabeth II, to royal brides.  

Queen Mary Diamond Fringe 

The only daughter of the Queen, Princess Anne, wed her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, on her parents' 26th wedding anniversary, November 14, 1973.

Princess Anne in 1973

Her grandmother, the Queen Mother, loaned her the Queen Mary Diamond Fringe Tiara for her  wedding.

The same tiara that Princess Anne's mother, the Queen who was still princess at that time, wore in her 1947 wedding to Prince Philip.

Princess Beatrice and the Queen, then  Princess Elizabeth in 1947

Queen Elizabeth II loaned it to her granddaughter, Princess Beatrice, on her wedding day last July 17.

Cartier Halo 

Before the royal wedding in April 2011, many predicted the Queen will pick her wedding tiara as an item to be loaned to the future Duchess of Cambridge, because, well, she is a future Queen Consort.

Kate Middleton wearing Cartier halo tiara on her wedding day

But the Queen decided to lend her a piece of less importance, the Cartier halo headpiece which cannot be qualified a real tiara due to its design but more like a bandeau used as a headpiece. 

The tiara was purchased by the Queen's father, then the Duke of York,  for his wife in 1936 months before they became King and Queen.

But the sparkler seemed was not on Duchess of York's liking. She hadn't seen wearing it, except one occasion. 

Im 1944, she gave it to her eldest daughter, Princess Elizabeth, on her 18th birthday.

When she ascended the throne as Elizabeth II, she herself was not seen wearing it and it rested in the royal jewellery collection.

Queen Mary's Bandeau

And the most controversial royal bride of all for stubbornly insisting she wanted to wear the Emerald tiara of the Queen.

Meghan Markle's entry to the royal family was quite a story. Prior to her 2018 wedding to Prince Harry she created a rancor within the royal staff when she insisted to wear the beautiful Greville Emerald Kokoshnik tiara. 

The episode was even intensified when Prince Harry stormed the staff with explosive words, "Whatever Meghan wants, Meghan gets"!

Boom!

It was a firestorm that portrayed the headstrong image of Meghan Markle until the Queen intervened and declared, the upcoming royal bride cannot just wear any tiara she likes.

Meghan wearing the Queen Mary Bandeau

The episode even led to Her Majesty's declaring Meghan could no longer wear any jewelry from the crown collection without her approval.

So the Queen lent her a not-so-fascinating head piece that, just like Cartier Halo, Her Majesty never wore. The Queen Mary's Bandeau.

As a consolation to Meghan's wishes, the bandeau has a similar design of the tiara she wished to wear.

This royal headpiece belonged to Queen Mary and was made to accommodate the brooch of diamonds she received as a wedding gift in 1893.

It was inherited by Queen Elizabeth II upon the death of her grandmother in 1953 but she was not seen wearing the bandeau and just rested in the crown jewellery collection vault.

Greville Emerald Kokoshnik

And here's the continuation of that Meghan's headstrong story over tiara. 

Five months later after becoming Duchess of Sussex, she would have been mortified to see Harry's cousin, Princess Eugenie, walked down the aisle with the tiara she desperately wanted to wear on her wedding day.

Princess Eugenie wearing the Emerald Kokoshnik tiara

Well, the difference is, Princess Eugenie is the Queen's granddaughter and she is entitled to wear any of her grandmother's tiara collections. 

The Queen loaned to her the type of tiara Meghan desperately wanted.

Greville Emerald Kokoshnik tiara is also called a Boucheron tiara. Originally owned by a wealthy socialite, Margaret Greville, a close friend of the Queen Mother, in 1919.

The tiara was fashioned like a "kokoshnik" headdress popular in the Russian imperial court.

It is made of rose-cut diamonds pave set in platinum with six diamonds on each side and a large 93-carat emerald stone in the center, which made the tiara looked very elegant.

The childless widow, Margaret Greville, made a last will bequeathing her jewelry collection to then Queen Elizabeth, the Queen consort, upon her death, which included  the Honeycomb tiara, the one often seen worn by the Duchess of Cornwall.

Both tiaras were never seen worn by Queen Elizabeth II, the honeycomb tiara was loaned to Camilla since her marriage to Prince Charles in 2005.

It might take decades before we could see another royal bride in the Queen's direct family.

Her two unmarried grandchildren, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and Viscount Severn, are still very young. The tiaras will rest longer in the royal vault before another royal wedding. 

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