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Why Princess Charlene didn't wear custom-made bridal tiara from Prince Albert

The rarely-pictured Van Cleef & Arpels tiara featured diamonds and sapphires

Princess Charlene of Monaco smiling in her wedding dress
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
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Princess Charlene of Monaco was one of the few royal brides who chose to forego a bridal tiara on her wedding day.

The accessory is deemed one of the most important for a royal wedding, as it often marks the first time the bride models a tiara. Prince Albert had a headpiece custom-made for Charlene ahead of their big day, complete with nods to her Olympic swimming career – so why didn't she wear it?

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene's wedding celebrations took place over three days© VALERY HACHE
The former Olympic swimmer swapped a traditional tiara for sparkly hair accessories

Charlene (nee Wittstock) looked resplendent in an Armani crystal-embellished wedding dress featuring a five-meter-long train, with her blonde hair twisted into an elegant chignon and finished with a trailing veil. 

Explaining her minimal accessories to Vogue, she said:  "I’m not wearing a tiara. Instead, Princess Caroline has lent me some beautiful diamond hair clips which belonged to her grandmother. I did have a tiara made by Van Cleef & Arpels but I decided to put it on display at the Oceanographic Museum, and I will wear it for my first official engagement."

Princess Charlene with her hand through Prince Albert's arm as they're showered with petals following their wedding© Getty
Princess Charlene and Prince Albert of Monaco got married in 2011

The diamond and sapphire Ocean tiara featured 1,200 precious stones arranged in wave-like symbols, in what was said to be a sweet nod to Charlene's love of water and pre-royal swimming career. It was accompanied by a matching set of drop earrings, which Charlene has been pictured wearing, but the tiara has been seen more regularly in necklace form.

"There are more than 850 diamonds," explained Van Cleef & Arpels CEO Stanislas Quercize. 

"The idea of the necklace is to represent sea spume. And so we included 359 sapphires. We chose three shades of blue, evoking the world's different seas from the waters of the coast of Monaco to the ocean around Africa. To crown the work 11 pearl-cut diamonds evoke droplets of water."

WATCH: Unlike Princess Charlene, these royal brides had striking tiara moments on their wedding days

Charlene and Albert first crossed paths in 2000 at the Mare Nostrum swimming meet, but they didn't make their public debut as a couple until six years later at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics.

The couple announced their engagement in 2010, posing for photos in the gardens of the Prince's Palace in Monaco, where they returned for their three-day wedding in July 2011.

Celebrations kicked off with an Eagles concert – where Charlene surprised in a blue Karl Lagerfeld strapless top and palazzo trousers – followed by a civil ceremony and a religious wedding attended by the likes of Prince Edward, Duchess Sophie and Naomi Campbell.

Following their ceremony, Charlene changed into her second wedding dress for the evening reception, which was another stunning Armani Privé creation. 

charlene in white and albert on wedding day© Getty
Princess Charlene rocked a tiered second wedding dress

Speaking of the sleeveless gown with a tiered skirt, Charlene told Vogue: "The wedding dress is pretty heavy so I wanted to change into something light, soft and easy to move in for the evening."

She accessorised with another unique headpiece gifted to her by her husband. Created by Lorenz Baumer, the mini tiara featured pear-shaped diamonds that snaked across her head in thin bands, which, much like the Van Cleef & Arpels creation, were reportedly intended to mimic the spray rising off a cresting wave.

DON'T MISS: Princess Charlene recalls father's reaction to Prince Albert's secret royal proposal

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