Why Princess Anne got to wear a tiara before her wedding day

The Princess Royal has been wearing the jewels since her 17th birthday

It's always exciting when members of the royal family step out wearing tiaras, but the occasions are very rare.

Typically, the likes of the Queen, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge wear them for state banquets or the annual Diplomatic Corps reception at Buckingham Palace. Her Majesty also sports a diadem when attending the State Opening of Parliament, if ceremonial dress is required.

It's rare to see the royals wear a tiara before their wedding day, particularly brides marrying into the family, such as Kate and Meghan Markle.

But the Queen's daughter, the Princess Royal, often wore tiaras before her first marriage to Captain Mark Phillips in 1973.

READ: Why bride Lady Kitty Spencer didn't wear Princess Diana's wedding tiara

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Princess Anne, who turns 71 on Sunday 15 August, first wore a tiara at the age of 17 in an official portrait but she also frequently wore sparkling headpieces for evening events such as film premieres, charity dinners and balls. 

This is likely because the occasions at the time called for a white tie dress code, where men wear an evening tailcoat and women wear floor-length evening gowns, white gloves and a tiara. 

In 1969, Anne wore the Cartier Halo tiara for a night at the cinema with Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone. The diamond headpiece, made up of a band of scrolls, was famously worn by Kate Middleton on her wedding day to Prince William in 2011.

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Anne wearing the Cartier Halo tiara in 1969

The Princess Royal was also regularly pictured in the Meander tiara which once belonged to Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark. Anne's daughter, Zara Phillips, borrowed the jewels for her wedding day to Mike Tindall in 2011.

Anne wasn't the only British-born Princess to wear a tiara before marriage – the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret, also wore headpieces before her wedding to Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960. Her favourites included the Lotus Flower and the Cartier Halo tiaras, both worn by the Duchess of Cambridge.

While there is a possibility that we may see William and Kate's daughter, Princess Charlotte, wear a tiara before her wedding day, if she attends a state banquet, the royals no longer tend to wear jewels for film premieres or evening charity dinners.

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