If we're being honest, we probably wouldn't be too keen on being a member of the royal family. So many rules! So many things you can't do! All the smiling and being proper and whatnot. That's a lot of pressure. We're used to seeing the royals-by-blood do the thing. After all, they were born into the lifestyle, so it's sort of ingrained in their nature. But watching Meghan Markle get acclimated to the royal life has been eye-opening. What would make someone want to take on that massive responsibility? Besides true love, of course. There are probably some perks, for sure. And if we're being real, we would be all in just for the jewels. Imagine being able to slip one of those amazing royal tiaras on your head! It's pretty enticing.
The bling that the royals rock is really exquisite. Huge necklaces, stunning earrings, bracelets so loaded with gems that it's probably hard to lift your arm. But the royal tiaras are the real crown jewel here (see what we did there?). There are people who have dedicated their loves to "tiara watching"! Trying to guess which headpiece would make an appearance at a specific occasion. There's so much history behind all of those priceless family heirlooms. We couldn't imagine being inside the vault where they're all stored. But luckily, we can take a virtual stroll through some of the most amazing royal tiaras of all time.
Everyone was anxious to find out which tiara Kate Middleton would wear when she walked down the aisle at her wedding to Prince William. And we were not disappointed! Duchess Kate wore the Cartier Halo Scroll tiara, created by the jeweler in 1936. It was originally commissioned by George VI to give to the Queen Mother three weeks before he ascended to the throne. She passed it down to her daughter, Queen Elizabeth, who has lent it out on several occasions. The tiara is made up of 739 brilliant-cut diamonds and 148 baguette-cut diamonds. Talk about a statement wedding tiara!
The royal wedding between Meghan and Prince Harry was big news. But not as big as the rocks Meghan wore down the aisle! While most of us will only have to decide on dresses and shoes, royals have to decide on some pretty big jewels. Meghan settled on Queen Mary's bandeau tiara with the help of Queen Elizabeth for her wedding day. The tiara was made for Queen Mary in 1932, and given to Queen Elizabeth in 1953. It's made up of several detachable pieces, and the center stone is a brooch consisting of 10 diamonds. So it's basically the Transformer of royal tiaras! Good choice, Meghan.
Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but emeralds sure do pop. Princess Eugenie went with color for her wedding to Jack Brooksbank in 2018. The Greville Emerald Kokoshnik tiara was lent to Eugenie by her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth. Boucheron made the tiara in 1919 for Margaret Greville, then a philanthropist and fixture of British high society. Greville bequeathed the tiara to the Queen Mother in following her death in 1942. The center emerald is 93.7 carats! Cute wedding fact: Eugenie wore matching emerald drop earrings on her wedding day, which were a gift from her future husband.
The Cambridge Lovers' Knot tiara has been worn 13 times by various members of the royal family, and this iconic piece is absolutely gorgeous. Commissioned by Queen Mary in 1913, designer Garrard based the design of the tiara on one worn by Princess Augusta of Hess, the Queen's grandmother. The tiara consists of 19 diamond arches, each with a pearl dangling from the center. It gets its name from the lovers' knot bows that are included in the design. This tiara has been worn by Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana, and most recently, Duchess Kate. Diana once said that the tiara gave her a headache!
Sometimes you feel like pearls, sometimes you feel like emeralds! We totally get that. Luckily, when you're the damn Queen of England, you get to match your jewels to your mood. The Grand Duchess Vladimir tiara has a pretty rich (ha!) history. Made by Bolin for the Grand Duchess Vladimir, and it sat on her head frequently until the revolution. The family fled Russia, leaving it behind, but it was smuggled out of the country by a British agent and returned to the exiled Duchess. The tiara was bought by Queen Mary in 1921 from the Duchess's daughter, Grand Duchess Elena. The Queen exchanged the pearls for emeralds, and it was passed onto Queen Elizabeth in 1953. It can be worn with the original pearls, the emeralds, or without any accompanying jewels.
Oooooh, we love us a good tiara mystery! Queen Mary's Sapphire Bandeau, also known as Marie Feodorovna's Sapphire Bandeau, hasn't been seen on a royal head in decades. And its origins are a bit of a mystery. Believed to have been owned by the Empress of Russia Marie Feodorovna, the piece somehow made its way to Queen Mary (possibly in an estate sale following the revolution?). The Queen reportedly bought the piece at a sale in Paris in 1921. The center stone was a detachable brooch, and was worn often by the Queen. Upon her death, it was left to Queen Elizabeth, but she's never worn it in public. Princess Margaret wore it often in the 1950's and 1960's, but it hasn't been seen since. It likely sits in a vault somewhere, waiting for the next royal head to adorn.
In 1888, the Prince and Princess of Wales (future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, natch) were celebrating their silver anniversary. Such a momentous occasion calls for a very special gift! A group of aristocratic women pooled their resources and formed a committee known as the Ladies of Society, and asked Alexandra for her input on selecting a stunning piece to gift the future queen. Alexandra, as it turns out, had impeccable taste, and selected a tiara shaped like a kokoshnik (a halo-type headdress worn by Russian women). The Ladies of Society commissioned Garrard to create the stunning piece, and it was presented to Alexandra. The tiara is now a favorite of Queen Elizabeth who's worn it approximately 42 times since 1954.
The Burmese Ruby tiara is another piece in the royal tiaras collection made by Garrard. It's sort of a mishmash of precious gems, which makes it even more interesting. The diamonds came from a floral tiara and necklace made by Cartier in the 1930's. The rubies were a gift to Queen Elizabeth from the people of Burma, given to her in honor of her wedding in 1947. The Queen had the diamonds and rubies made into this stunning tiara in 1973, and it was a favorite of hers for many, many years, but was last seen in 2009 at a state dinner.
Not all royal tiaras are still in the royal family, but that doesn't mean we can salivate over them still. The Poltimore tiara was made by Garrard for Lady Poltimore around 1870. It's very versatile, and can be worn as a tiara, a grand necklace, or broken up into eleven different brooches. Princess Margaret purchased the tiara at auction in 1959, and wore it on her wedding day a year later. When Margaret died in 2002, her children were left with a massive tax bill and in 2006 they sold some of her items at an auction at Christie's, including the Poltimore tiara. It was purchased by a private buyer for $1.7 million.
The Imperial State Crown is, arguably, the most iconic and recognizable piece of the royal jewel collection. The crown is one of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, and is worn by monarchs after their coronation and is used during the Opening of Parliament. The current crown was made in 1937, and has a whopping 2,901 precious stones. The Cullinan II diamond, the St. Edward's Sapphire, the Stuart Sapphire, and the Black Prince's Ruby all adorn the ornate crown. The last Opening of Parliament took place in 2017, so we haven't seen the crown out and about in almost two years. But because it's part of the collection of crown jewels, the crown is on display at the Tower of London.
During the speech given at the Opening of Parliament, the ruling monarch will wear the Imperial State Crown. But heading to and from the ceremony, Queen Elizabeth usually rocks this stunning piece from her collection of royal tiaras. The King George IV Diamond Diadem was made in 1820 by Rundell, Bridge, and Rundell. Today, the crown is only worn by British queens, but it was actually made for a king. It's made of silver, gold, diamonds, and pearls, amd features four crosses pattée alternating with four bouquets of roses, shamrocks, and thistles. It's been worn be every modern queen, and can be worn for official state events as well as "non-state" events.
This is one of our favorites, and as it turns out, it's one of Queen Elizabeth's favorites, as well! Named The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara after the committee of women who raised funds for its creation, this diadem has been passed down for generations. Queen Victoria wore it. Queen Mary wore it in one of her first official portraits as queen. And when Princess Elizabeth married Prince Phillip, the Queen gave the tiara to the future queen as a wedding gift. Queen Elizabeth reportedly calls it "Granny's tiara", and has worn it approximately 123 times! This is definitely the queen's signature tiara. We wonder who will continue the tradition?!
The royal tiaras we've featured so far have (for the most part) been passed down and remain within the royal family. But this special piece never belonged to them, and they don't have possession of it now. Known as the Spencer tiara, Princess Diana wore it on her wedding day to Prince Charles, and was fond of wearing it to official royal events. She said it was lighter and more comfortable. The tiara has been in the Spencer family for more than a century, and was loaned to Diana by her father. It was featured in a traveling exhibit on Diana's life for a time, but is now presumably back in the Spencer vault in Althorp.
It's sort of amazing to think that there is probably an entire vault of royal jewels that haven't been seen in decades (outside of exhibitions). The Strathmore Rose tiara is one of those pieces. This tiara is named after the Queen Mother's family - she was born to the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. It's unusual flowery for a royal tiara. But it's also unusual in another way! The tiara can be worn as a proper tiara on top of the head and can also be worn low across the forehead. It belongs to Queen Elizabeth now, but she hasn't worn it since her younger days, perhaps because of the style. Many people hoped it would be chosen by Meghan or Kate, or even Eugenie, but it's still waiting to be brought back out.
The Queen Mother was given this dazzler in 1942, when Dame Margaret Helen Greville bequeathed to her all of her jewelry. The Greville tiara was a favorite of the Queen Mum, and was eventually given to Queen Elizabeth, but she never wore it in public. However, when Camilla and Charles wed in 2005, the Queen loaned it to the Duchess of Cornwall for long-term use. The Duchess of Cornwall wears it often, and it has become her signature tiara. Not a bad wedding gift, considering the beginning of that particular mother-in-law relationship! It's a really stunning piece, and it really does suit Camilla.
This is a really special and stunning piece of the royal tiaras collection. It's not your typical tiara - the large emeralds and symmetric design aren't seen in many of the pieces worn by modern royals. But it's very reminiscent of the style of jewelry worn by Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria's emerald tiara was designed for her by her husband, Prince Albert. It was made by Joseph Kitching, and 19 pear-shaped emeralds, the largest of which weighs a whopping 15 carats. It's not clear how long the Queen owned the piece or what she did with it, but it was included in an exhibition held at Kensington Palace called "Victoria Revealed".
Every single tiara on this list is stunning, BUT THIS ONE IS THE BEST. The Fife tiara is a masterpiece, and we are drooling. Please, Meghan or Kate, bust this one out! This stunner was given to Princess Louise as a wedding gift in 1889 bu her husband, the Duke of Fife. The maker is still unknown, but it's rumored to have been based on a design by Oscar Massin. Louise's oldest daughter, Lady Alexandra, wore the tiara at the coronations of King George VI in 1937 and Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. In 2017, a report by the Arts Council England listed the Fife tiara as a culturally-significant piece of art that now belonged to the British people, and it is on permanent display at Kensington Palace.
When you're the damn Queen of England and you have a gorgeous set of aquamarine jewels but no tiara to match, what are you going to do? Well, you're going to commission a jeweler to make you a matching tiara, of course! The Brazilian Aquamarine tiara is one of the most beautiful pieces in the Queen's collection. It's also one of the few royal tiaras ordered by the Queen herself. In 1953, Queen Elizabeth was given a set of aquamarine earrings with a matching necklace by the President and people of Brazil. In 1958, Brazil threw in a gorgeous bracelet and brooch to match. And in 1957, the Queen commissioned Garrard to make a matching tiara. When you're the Queen, you get to do that, apparently.