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Why Princess Kate was loaned Princess Diana's sparkling royal tiara as a wedding gift

Queen Mary's Lover's Knot tiara was reportedly a wedding gift to Kate

Kate Middleton and Princess Diana wearing the Lover's Knot tiara
Nichola Murphy
Nichola MurphyWeddings Editor
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The Princess of Wales has had some stunning tiara moments since joining the royal family, but some of the most memorable have been her appearances in her late mother-in-law Princess Diana's jewels.

One of the People's Princess' most-worn headpieces was Queen Mary's Lover's Knot tiara, which features diamonds and pearls with lover’s knot motifs. 

Princess Diana Adjusting Her Tiara During Banquet In New Zealand© Tim Graham
It's been reported the tiara was so heavy it gave Princess Diana a headache

The late Queen Elizabeth II reportedly loaned it to Diana as a wedding gift when she married her eldest son, then-Prince Charles, in 1981. While she chose to wear a family heirloom known as the Spencer Tiara on her big day, Diana did rock the Lover's Knot to notable events such as the opening of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in 1989 and a banquet at the Itamaraty Palace before it was returned to the Queen following Diana and Charles' divorce in 1996.

On some of those occasions, Diana was pictured fiddling with the tiara which could be due to reports that the heavy headpiece induced headaches.

Princess Diana waves after wedding ceremony© Getty
Princess Diana wore the Spencer tiara on her wedding day

It is thought that Prince William's wife Princess Kate has since been loaned the Cambridge Lover's Knot due to its history. It was based on a tiara owned by Princess Augusta of Hesse, the Duchess of Cambridge, which was Kate's title following her royal wedding in 2011.

The original Cambridge Lover's Knot was given to King George III's son the Duke of Cambridge's wife Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel as a wedding gift from her family in 1818.

Passed down the generations for years, it later caught the attention of Queen Mary who asked the House of Garrard to make a copy in 1913 – the same one she passed down to her granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II following her death in 1953. 

The Princess of Wales in a pearl tiara and white dress© Shutterstock
The Princess of Wales has been seen wearing the Lover's Knot tiara on several occasions

Kate debuted the radiant headpiece in 2015 at a reception at Buckingham Palace. Since then, she has also worn it during President Trump’s State Visit in 2019 and the first state visit King Charles III hosted as monarch.

This is not the only tiara the Queen loaned to the Princess. On her wedding day, Kate wore the Cartier Halo Scroll Tiara alongside her Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen lace bridal gown.

Kate Middleton wearing Cartier Halo tiara on her wedding day© Getty
Kate wore the Cartier Halo tiara on her wedding day

It was originally commissioned by George VI as a gift for his wife in 1936, and she passed the platinum and diamond tiara down to her daughter, then-Princess Elizabeth, on her 18th birthday.

Geoffrey Munn, author of Tiaras - A History of Splendour, shed light on some little-known tiara rules. According to Forbes, he said the base metal – which tends to be made of nickel and hard-gold plated – are bound in velvet. "This must be the color of the wearer’s hair and the hairdresser needs to hide it in the coiffure. Those that look like brown pipe cleaners are a no-no."

He added: "Silver is rarely used as it is not rigid enough to hold everything in shape."

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