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- The world debates whether Meghan Markle will wear a tiara during her wedding to Prince Harry.
- Queen Elizabeth II has one of the world’s best jewel collections from which to loan Markle a tiara.
- It’s speculated the future Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Wales could wear the Strathmore Rose Tiara or the Spencer Tiara.
- Markle could also wear a custom-designed tiara, which one expert says would cost about $687,360.
Will she or won’t she?
Besides the wedding dress, one of the biggest speculations regarding the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is whether the future Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Wales will walk down the aisle at Windsor Castle in true royal fashion – donning a dazzling tiara.
The Queen lent the Queen Mother’s Cartier Halo Tiara to Kate Middleton as a “something borrowed” for the Duchess’ wedding to Prince William. If tradition dictates anything, she’ll also loan a princess’ ultimate treasure to her future granddaughter-in-law.
While it’s not expected that Markle will wear the same tiara as the Duchess of Cambridge, rumors are circulating about what possible tiaras she could wear – such as the Strathmore Rose Tiara or Princess Diana’s Spencer Tiara. The latter would be fitting considering Markle’s engagement ring contains two diamond stones from Princess Diana’s collection, and that she and Harry plan to honor his mother on the big day.
Then again, she and Harry are a modern-day couple – she could also have her own tiara made for her.
Whether Markle goes for an heirloom tiara or a custom tiara, there’s no denying the jewels and metals that will sparkle atop her head go for a pretty penny.
We took a look at some of the most famous weddings in the British royal family and their equally famous tiaras – and just how much those tiaras might be worth.
Queen Elizabeth and Princess Anne — Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara
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When Queen Elizabeth II (then Princess Elizabeth) married Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1947, she sparkled underneath the Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara. It was gifted from Queen Mary to her daughter-in-law, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, who loaned it to Elizabeth as a “something borrowed.” In tune with tradition, the tiara was then loaned to Elizabeth’s daughter, Princess Anne, to wear as she tied the knot to Mark Phillips.
This dazzler is actually the product of dismantled jewelry – it’s comprised of 47 diamond bars using diamond stones taken from a necklace Queen Victoria gifted to Queen Mary. Jeweler Garrard & Co. set the stones in gold and silver and separated the bars with smaller diamond spikes.
There’s no word on its value, but a 0.5 carat diamond averages around $1,500 while a 2-carat diamond can range from $18,000 to $21,000, depending on cut and clarity.
Princess Margaret — Poltimore Tiara
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Princess Margaret departed from tradition and wore a tiara that wasn’t already part of the royal collection, acquiring it shortly before her wedding to Lord Snowdon in 1960. The Poltimore Tiara, another Garrard creation, boasts cushion-shaped and old-cut diamond clusters and diamond-set scroll motifs surmounted by old-cut diamond terminals, all mounted in silver and gold.
It was auctioned for £5,500 (roughly $7,570) at the time it fell into Princess Margaret’s hands, and was recently sold at a 2006 auction for £926,400 (around $1,275,154) – about four times its estimate.
Princess Diana — Spencer Tiara
When marrying Prince Charles in 1981, Princess Diana donned a tiara not from the royal treasure troves, but from her family’s own aristocratic archives – the Spencer Tiara. This diamond encrusted piece shaped into tulips, stars, and scrolls belonged to her father and was worn by her mother and sisters on their wedding days.
This dazzler is made of a variety of other jewelry – the central portion was part of a wedding present to Lady Cynthia Hamilton (Diana’s grandmother) when she married Albert, Viscount Althorp; the topper was given to Cynthia by Albert’s great aunt, Lady Sarah Isabella Spencer; and the ends come from a tiara once belonging to Frances Manby, the last known Viscountess of Montagu. The current version was reportedly finalized in the 1930s.
There is no estimate on how much it’s worth, but a similar headpiece with 800 cut diamonds and an estimated weight of 48 carats was recently sold by the Spencer family for $225,000.
Kate Middleton — Queen Mother’s Cartier Halo Tiara
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Even more stunning than the Duchess of Cambridge’s custom Alexander McQueen gown was the Queen Mother’s Cartier Halo Tiara that glittered against her veil. Featuring three bands of 739 brilliant-cut diamonds as a base, it’s topped with leaf-like scrolls and finished with larger round diamonds on top of 149 baguette-cut diamonds.
King George VI commissioned Cartier London to make this platinum tiara in 1936 as a gift to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. It was then re-gifted to the current queen on her 18th birthday, who loaned it to Kate Middleton for her wedding day.
While its value is unknown, a paved solitaire diamond platinum ring from Cartier runs anywhere from $6,350 for a 0.5 carat diamond to $161,000 for a 3.03 carat diamond – so you can only imagine how much a nearly 1,000-diamond Cartier tiara is worth.
Meghan Markle — tiara unknown
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Meghan Markle has several stunning tiara options for her fairytale wedding to Prince Harry – the Strathmore Rose Tiara, the Lotus Flower Tiara, the Cartier Bandeau Tiara, or the Cambridge Lover’s Knot, which features 19 arches and 38 drop-shaped pearls. It was sold at a Christie’s auction in 1981 for more than $747,000 in today’s dollars.
However, nothing is traditional about Markle and Harry’s relationship. She might stay in tune with their modern wedding and have a custom-made tiara created specifically for her.
Jerry Ehrenwald of the International Gemological Institute estimated for Business Insider a hypothetical custom tiara to cost approximately $687,360. It would be three by 18 centimeters, made of half a pound of platinum, and feature 800 brilliant-cut diamonds (approximately five 1-carat stones with a VVS 1 clarity and D color and 795 .25-carat stones with a VVS 2 clarity and F color) and 150 baguette diamonds (approximately .25-carat stones with a VVS 1 clarity and F color).
More on the royal wedding:
- Here’s what time Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding will start where you live – and how to watch it
- Meghan Markle’s wedding dress could cost more than $135,000 – and she’ll probably be the one paying for it
- Meghan Markle is about to leave behind a surprisingly relatable life to become Britain’s first-ever American princess – see her former house, car, and wardrobe
- Meghan Markle’s engagement ring has a diamond from the second biggest supplier of conflict-free diamonds – here are the best countries to buy diamonds from
- Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s big day will cost over 1,000 times more than the average wedding – here’s where it will all go
- Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s honeymoon could include a romantic stopover in another African country