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The story of how the Queen's wedding tiara broke back in 1947 revealed

The Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara snapped on the day of the ceremony

Bridie Wilkins

The Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) wore a tiara for the first time on her wedding day to Prince Phillip in 1947 –  the Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara. It is widely known that the tiara broke ahead of the ceremony, but what fans probably won't know is exactly how. The Queen told the story to the Duchess of Cambridge in 2018 while attending an exhibition of Kate's wedding dress: "The catch, which I didn't know existed, it suddenly went. And I didn’t know it was a necklace, you see… I thought I'd broken it… We stuck it all together again, but I was rather alarmed."

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Given that she was about to walk down the aisle with an estimated audience of 200 million people in one of the world's most public weddings, it's no wonder that she was worried. But rather than opt for another tiara, which the Telegraph reports that the Queen Mother suggested, the Queen was adamant that she would wear the Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara, which was on loan as the 'something borrowed' from her mother.

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The Queen wore Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara for her wedding in 1947

Luckily, the royal jewellery house, Garrard, was on standby to help repair the broken tiara, and it was taken to the workshop under police escort to be welded back together in time for the Queen and Phillip's nuptials.

The Queen Mary Fringe Tiara was originally a fringe necklace that belonged to the Queen Mother's husband's mother, Queen Mary. Apparently, Mary liked to customise her jewellery and 26 years after her wedding in 1893, she called upon Garrard to recreate it as a tiara.

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Princess Anne wore Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara for her wedding in 1973

It was also worn by the Queen's daughter Princess Anne on her wedding day in 1973. Now, it remains under the Queen's ownership, though she rarely wears it. 

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