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The nine most famous British royal tiaras, and their fascinating histories

Worn on extravagant occasions from weddings to banquets, these are the most iconic British royal tiaras owned by the royals.
By Dani Maher 

Princess Kate wore the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara for her first state dinner since receiving the title of Princess of Wales | CHRIS JACKSON / GETTY IMAGES

PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC SYMBOLS OF MONARCHY, tiaras represent far more than just opulence. They tell stories of love and painstaking craftsmanship; with each dazzling piece being the key to decades, if not centuries of fascinating history.

From the late Queen Mary’s fondness for up-cycling to elaborate gifting traditions, there’s a plethora of details to draw out from each diadem, and below, we’ve uncovered a few of our favourites.

The most famous British royal tiaras

Princess Diana, a woman with coiffed blonde hair, wears an intricate diamond and pearl tiara at a banquet. One of the more intricately designed British royal tiaras.


Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara

Another diadem created for Queen Mary, this time in 1914, the Cambridge Lover’s Knot was crafted from pearls and diamonds already owned by her family, and modeled after a tiara owned by Mary’s grandmother, Princess Augusta of Hesse’s.

After being passed down to Queen Elizabeth II, the tiara was loaned to Princess Diana as a wedding gift in 1981 and went on to become one of the people’s princess’ favourite pieces.

After her divorce, Diana returned the crown to Queen Elizabeth II, and it wasn’t seen again publicly until Duchess Kate wore it to a reception at Buckingham Palace.

British Royal Queen Elizabeth II, wearing the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland diamond tiara, attend a State Banquet during the Queen's visit to Singapore, 10th October 1989


Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara

The tiara worn most frequently by Queen Elizabeth II – Brits may recognise it from her portrait on their own currency – the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara is a dazzling piece featuring fleurs-de-lis designs and diamonds set in silver and gold.

Originally a wedding gift for Queen Mary when she married the Duke of York (who became George V) in 1893, the tiara was commissioned by a committee lead by Lady Eve Greville. Queen Mary passed it down to her granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II for her wedding day, in a fitting full-circle familial moment.

The Duke of York dons a brilliant tiara gifted from King George VI to Queen Mother in 1936.


Cartier Halo Scroll Tiara

A band of 16 graduated scrolls set with 739 brilliant and 149 baton diamonds makes up the intricate and opulent Cartier Halo Scroll Tiara.

Made by the French jewellery house, and acquired by the then Duke of York in 1936, the piece was gifted from King George VI to the Queen Mother in 1936, and subsequently gifted to Queen Elizabeth II on her 18th birthday.

It is perhaps most famously known as the tiara worn by the beloved Duchess of Cambridge on her wedding day – the perfect piece to accompany her elegant and equally intricate gown.

Black and white photo of bride and groom Queen Elizabeth II and Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh on their wedding day. Queen Elizabeth wears the Queen Mary British Royal Tiara.


Queen Mary Fringe Tiara

Worn by Queen Elizabeth II on her wedding day, and subsequently by her daughter Princess Anne and granddaughter Princess Beatrice of York on their wedding days, the Queen Mary Fringe began its life as a diamond necklace owned by Queen Victoria.

She gifted the necklace to Queen Mary as a wedding gift, who 26 years later asked for it to be transformed into a Russian kokoshnik style piece – fond as she was of breathing new life into historic pieces through customisation.

Close up of bride wearing a diamond-encrusted tiara with veil


Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau Tiara

What can we say – Mary clearly loved her jewels. Her sparkling Bandeau tiara is formed as a flexible band of eleven sections pavé set with large and small brilliant diamonds, and with a detachable brooch of ten brilliant diamonds at its centre.

Made in 1932 for Queen Mary, and specifically designed to accommodate the brooch – which was a gift from the County of Lincoln for her wedding – the bandeau and brooch were bequeathed to Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Her Majesty lent the tiara to Duchess Meghan of Sussex for her wedding day, where its radiant jewels shone brilliantly in contrast to her minimalist gown.

Black and white photo of woman looking at camera wearing wedding gown and elaborate tiara


The Spencer Tiara

In a breaking of tradition, Princess Diana of Wales wore a tiara from her own family’s collection on her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981.

Like the royal version of a patchwork quilt, the Spencer tiara was crafted from a number of precious family heirlooms into a singular piece by Garrard & Co in the 1930s. The main part was a wedding gift to Diana’s grandmother in 1919, and the other elements came from Lady Sarah Spencer, who is said to have acquired them in the 1870s.

Portrait painting of Queen Elizabeth II in a gold gown with blue sash and elaborate crown


The George IV State Diadem

Perhaps one of the most opulent pieces owned by the British royal family, the George IV State Diadem was made for the eponymous King’s famously flamboyant coronation in 1821.

An openwork silver frame lined with gold and pearls, and featuring four diamond-studded crosses-patée and four sprays representing the national emblems of the United Kingdom, the regal headpiece has been regularly worn by queens from Queen Adelaide onwards.

Passed down through many generations, it was worn by Queen Elizabeth II on her coronation, and every year since for the State Opening of Parliament.

Bride with brown hair holds bouquet of white flowers, wearing a white gown and a silver tiara set with a large emerald


Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara

This elegant diamond and emerald tiara was made by French jewellery house Boucheron in 1919, and was originally owned by British society hostess and philanthropist Dame Margaret Greville. Upon her death, she bequeathed her jewels to the Queen Mother, who in turn passed the Kokoshnik tiara to Queen Elizabeth II.

It became Princess Eugenie’s “something borrowed” for her wedding in 2018, where it sparkled opulently with its rose-cut pavé diamonds set in platinum alongside six emeralds.

Black and White photo of the Queen Elizabeth II mother. Wearing the Lotus Flower British royal tiara.


The George IV State Diadem

Pictured here on the Queen’s Mother (also called Elizabeth), the Lotus Flower tiara was made in the 1920s from a Garrard necklace she was gifted by her husband King George VI.

She gifted it to her daughter Princess Margaret ahead of her wedding to the Earl of Snowdon in 1959, and after Margaret’s death, it was inherited by the Queen. Since then, it has been occasionally worn by the Duchess of Cambridge.

How many tiaras does the British royal family have?

It is unknown precisely how many tiaras are owned by the British royal family as a whole, but reports estimate that the Queen alone owns somewhere around four dozen tiaras.

What is the oldest surviving tiara?

As far we know, the oldest surviving royal tiara of England is the Crown of Princess Blanche, otherwise known as the Palatine Crown. Made of gold and set with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, enamel and pearls; it is thought to date back to 1370 to 1380. It left England with the titular Princess Blanche, daughter of Henry IV, when she married Louis III, Elector Palatine and joined him in his home country of Germany. It has been kept in the Munich Residenz since 1782, and still resides there today.

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