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Meghan Markle, Princess Diana, and Princess Kate on their wedding days© Getty

Why Princess Kate and Meghan Markle didn't wear Princess Diana's wedding tiara

Prince William and Prince Harry's wives wore royal tiaras on their wedding days

Katie Daly
Lifestyle Writer
June 1, 2024
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Royal weddings are events that will go down in sartorial history, especially the stunning looks of the late Princess Diana, Princess Kate, and Meghan Markle.

The late Princess of Wales, who tragically passed away in 1997, was a radiant beauty on her wedding day in 1981 to King Charles. She wore a bespoke frothy gown made by David Emanuel and his now ex-wife Elizabeth. 

King Charles and Princess Diana's wedding portrait© Getty
David Emanuel and his ex-wife Elizabeth made Princess Diana's 1981 wedding dress

But the rule-breaking bride moved away from tradition when she opted to wear a tiara from her family's personal collection as opposed to one gifted to her by the royal family. 

Diana's wedding tiara

The Spencer Tiara was styled into Diana's voluminous 80s locks. The stunning piece has been in her family for decades and was used to secure her 14-metre-long veil. 

The Prince and Princess of Wales on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on their wedding day, 29th July 1981. © Getty
Princess Diana wore the Spencer tiara

Her tiara was worn by her mother Frances and sisters Sarah and Jane on their own wedding days and featured a central heart-shaped motif set with diamonds flanked by scrolls and star and trumpet-shaped flowers.

The piece was even worn by Diana’s grandmother when she was a lady-in-waiting to the Queen Mother. Most recently, the tiara was added to the bridal look of Diana's niece Lady Celia McCorquodale when she married George Woodhouse in 2018.

Princess Diana walking down the aisle with Earl Spencer© Getty
Diana was walked down the aisle by her father

Why couldn't Kate and Meghan wear Diana's tiara?

The real reason that Kate and Meghan couldn't pay tribute to their late mother-in-law by wearing her bridal tiara on their own big days is simple. According to Lauren Kiehna of The Court Jeweller, it is because the Spencer Tiara is not part of the official royal collection.

princess diana spencer tiara 1z© Getty
Kate and Meghan were not to wear the Spencer tiara

According to Prince Harry in his book Spare, his wife-to-be was offered the Spencer tiara by his aunts. "We were both touched. Meg then spent hours and hours with her dress designer, getting the veil to match the tiara, giving it a similar scalloped edge," Harry wrote. 

Princess Kate's wedding tiara of choice

When Princess Kate married Prince William she was seen wearing Queen Elizabeth II's Cartier Halo Tiara which is made up of 739 brilliant-cut diamonds and 149 baguette diamonds.

Kate Middleton and Prince William wave from State Landau horse drawn carriage© Getty
Princess Kate wore a tiara on loan from the Queen

Tatler reported that the tiara was considered a good 'beginner' tiara as its smaller-than-average size wouldn’t induce headaches. Her wedding day was the first time Kate was seen wearing a tiara.

Kate on her wedding day waving© Getty
Kate wore her hair in a softer half-up do to accommodate her tiara

The piece is highly sentimental as it was gifted to the late Queen on her 18th birthday in 1944, though she never wore it publicly. 

Meghan Markle's bridal diadem

The Duchess of Sussex wore an altogether different tiara on her wedding day in 2018. Meghan married Prince Harry in Queen Mary's Diamond Bandeau Tiara.

Meghan Markle covering her mouth as she laughs on her wedding day© Getty
Meghan wore Queen Mary's tiara

The art-deco style tiara dates back to 1932 and features a detachable floral brooch at its centre that was given to the late Queen's grandmother, Queen Mary, as a wedding present in 1893.

Meghan Markle wearing tiara and veil© Getty
Meghan's tiara suited her perfectly

The diamond sparkler came into the late Queen's collection when her grandmother died in 1953.

Prince Harry recalled the time Meghan went to Buckingham Palace by invitation from Her Majesty to try on tiaras ahead of the wedding in his autobiography, Spare. He revealed his grandmother had chosen five tiaras from the vault - "One was all emeralds. One was aquamarines. Each was more dazzlingly stunning than the last".

Meghan Markle's freckles were on show on her wedding day© Getty
The Queen invited Meghan to Buckingham Palace to try on tiaras

DISCOVER: Princess Kate's royal tiara rule that has flown under the radar 

Queen Mary's Diamond Bandeau Tiara topped them all.


Princess Kate wearing black and white polka dots and a hat

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