Though it feels like just yesterday that we were tuning in for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the palace is gearing up for yet another royal wedding this week. Princess Eugenie of York (daughter of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York) and Jack Brooksbank are preparing to tie the knot in what’s bound to be an equally enchanting royal event. One of the most magical moments of a royal ceremony is the unveiling of the bride’s tiara — it would hardly be a royal wedding without one! But what is it about tiaras that makes them so intriguing? Have you ever wondered why we rarely see royals in tiaras before their wedding day? How are modern-day tiaras different? With Eugenie’s nuptials just around the corner, here’s a complete guide to tiaras.
The Imperial State Crown.
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What’s the difference between a crown and a tiara?
Though fairly similar in appearance, tiaras and crowns are decidedly different. Crowns are worn by both men and women and historically represent legitimacy and power over a land and its people. They form a full circle around the head and are typically heavier and more elaborate than tiaras. Tiaras are thought to be a more comfortable ornament, worn primarily by women and forming a partial circle around the head.
Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Imperial State Crown on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, after her coronation.
Why do we rarely see royals in tiaras before they’re married?
Tiaras have roots in classical antiquity and were primarily seen as an emblem of the loss of innocence to the crowning of love. This grounds the idea that whoever wears a tiara should be a bride or already married; a royal bride traditionally wears a tiara that belongs to her family, but thereafter, wears the groom’s jewelry to denote that she has moved from her own family to another.
What does the tiara symbolize outside of weddings?
To many, tiaras represent glamour and affluence, adding sparkle to a wedding-day look or black-tie ensemble. However, tiaras have carried great meaning, adorning the heads of opulent families and influential figures around the world. From the ancient Greeks to families of Northern and Southern dynasties, the tiara signified sovereignty, respect, wealth, beauty and even a likeness to god as a tiara’s pointed peaks were thought to position its wearer that much closer to the heavens.
I was recently approached by a representative for an international royal family to recreate Meghan Markle’s wedding tiara. This particular tiara incorporates anywhere from 800 to 1,000 small diamonds and 8 to 10-carat central diamonds, totaling a value of over two million dollars.
Can tiaras be worn after the wedding?
For centuries, aside from the royal bride’s wedding, it was only the attendance of a white-tie event that inspired the wearing of a tiara. Today, such formal events are not necessarily a prerequisite. Both Queen Elizabeth II and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, have been known to wear tiaras to state banquets at Buckingham Palace and other royal events.
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How do modern-day tiaras differ from those of the past?
Just as the occasion for wearing a tiara has changed, so has the style of wearing one. The current trend is to wear the tiara far back on the head, tilting it to create a 45-degree angle when viewed from the side. In the past, the wearer positioned it much further forward. Modern-day tiaras are available in many different styles and can be made of metals like silver and platinum or materials such as quartz, coral, or leaves.
Can I wear a tiara?
Absolutely! There are no rules when it comes to folks like you and me. Wearing a tiara to your birthday celebration or while strolling down Fifth Avenue like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is perfectly acceptable by today’s societal standards. And there are infinite styles to choose from. That being said, the typical price of a customized tiara can range from under $1,000 to about $2 million.
What’s your tiara prediction for Princess Eugenie of York?
It’s likely that Princess Eugenie will choose to wear an ancestral tiara that represents her family on her wedding day. As her style is contemporary yet timeless, I have a feeling she will opt for a tiara that’s clean, yet undeniably regal — perhaps the Greville Tiara worn by her aunt Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Queen Elizabeth. While it dates from the early ‘20s, this honeycomb design still holds up and reflects the Princess’s modern style and grandeur.
The Greville Tiara. (Queen Mother Elizabeth on the left, Camilla The Duchess of Cornwall on the right)
Another suitable and stunning choice is the York Diamond Tiara worn by her mother Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, on her own wedding day and many times over. Regardless of the tiara she chooses, Princess Eugenie will be honoring a tradition and celebrating the sovereignty, beauty, love and glamour all associated with these special headpieces and the royal family.
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