UK Markets closed

Meghan Markle's wedding tiara is Queen Mary's diamond bandeau tiara, lent to her by the Queen

Sarah Royce-Greensill
Meghan Markle wearing the Queen Mary diamond bandeau tiara and Cartier earrings - PA

Meghan Markle arrived at St George's Chapel wearing a five-metre long veil held in place by a tiara owned by Prince Harry’s great-great grandmother, Queen Mary. Known as the Queen Mary diamond bandeau tiara, the delicate diamond headpiece was lent to Ms Markle by the Queen.

Meghan Markle wearing the Queen Mary diamond bandeau tiara and Cartier earrings as she makes her way to Windsor Castle Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The diamond and platinum tiara was made in 1932 and is formed as a flexible band of 11 sections, pierced with interlaced ovals and pavé set with large and small brilliant diamonds, according to a statement released by Kensington Palace. The centre is set with a detachable brooch of ten brilliant diamonds. 

Queen Mary's Diamond Bandeau, which is being worn by Meghan Markle for her wedding to Prince Harry Credit:  PA/Royal Collection Trust

The diamond bandeau was made for Queen Mary and specifically designed to accommodate the centre brooch, which had been given to the Princess by the County of Lincoln in 1893 when she married Prince George, Duke of York.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the altar Credit:  Jonathan Brady - WPA Pool/Getty Images

When Queen Mary died in 1953, both the tiara and the brooch were passed on to her granddaughter, the Queen.

Queen Mary wearing the diamond bandeau tiara Credit: Pinterest

Ms Markle is also wearing diamond earrings and a bracelet made by Cartier. She chose not to wear a necklace, which would have interfered with the off-the-shoulder neckline of her Givenchy haute couture by Claire Waight Keller gown.

Ms Markle also wears Cartier diamond earrings and a bracelet by Cartier Credit: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

By borrowing a tiara that belonged to Queen Mary, Ms Markle follows in the footsteps of the Queen herself, who wore Mary’s kokoshnik-style diamond Fringe tiara at her own wedding in 1947. The tiara had been made in 1919 for Queen Mary, was passed on to her daughter, the Queen Mother, and lent to the bride for her wedding day.

Royal wedding day pictures: Best photos from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's ceremony and reception

It famously snapped hours before the ceremony and had to be taken to the court jeweller for repair. Princess Elizabeth also wore a double-strand pearl necklace. Decades later, Princess Anne would borrow Queen Mary’s fringe tiara for her own wedding to Mark Phillips in 1973.

The Queen on her wedding day in 1947 wearing the diamond Fringe tiara and a double-strand pearl necklace Credit: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Historic protocol dictates that only married women can wear tiaras, so a bride’s wedding day is typically the first time she will wear such a piece.

The most stylish guests from Prince Harry's wedding to Meghan Markle

Traditionally, aristocratic brides will wear their family’s tiara for the wedding day, before switching to use their new husband’s family jewels after she is married: as Diana Spencer did when she wore the Spencer tiara for her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981.

Lady Diana Spencer wearing the Spencer tiara on her wedding day in 1981 Credit: Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Kate Middleton wore the Cartier Halo tiara for her wedding to Prince William in 2011. Originally made in 1936 for the Queen Mother, it was given to the Queen on her 18th birthday and lent to Catherine for her big day. It has now been returned to the Queen’s collection - although it is currently part of a Cartier exhibition in Australia.

Kate Middleton on her wedding day wearing the Cartier scroll tiara, borrowed from the Queen, and a pair of Robinson Pelham diamond earrings Credit: Paul Hackett/PA Wire

The Duchess paired the tiara with Robinson Pelham earrings that were commissioned for the occasion and featured a diamond oak-leaf motif with an acorn dangling inside, both symbols part of the Middleton family coat of arms. Like Ms Markle, she chose not to wear a necklace for the occasion.

Royal wedding | Fashion and Beauty