Kate Middleton's Tiara: Something Borrowed, Something Old—Really Old

Get all the details on the blushing bride's jewelry—from her Queen Elizabeth-loaned headpiece to her coat-of-arms-reflecting earrings

By Gina Serpe Apr 29, 2011 8:28 PMTags
Kate MiddletonChris Jackson/Getty Images

A lot has been made about Kate Middleton's wedding dress—and with a creation like Sarah Burton's Alexander McQueen number, rightfully so. But any princess (or duchess) worth her salt knows that it's the cherry on top that really sets you apart, and Prince William's bride made one bloody hell of a statement with the diamonds perched atop her curly crown.

Namely, that understatement is definitely her thing. And yes, that is about as subtle and understated as a diamond tiara belonging to the royal family gets.

Not a bad way to make good on that something borrowed requirement, huh? To say nothing of something quite old indeed. Here's the deal…

First of all, the tiara was not, despite reports to the contrary, a gift for the newly titled Duchess of Cambridge, but rather a loaner, lent to Kate by the queen for today's regal occasion.

We can't blame HRH for not wanting to part ways with it permanently—after all, much like everything royal family-related, it's got history.

The so-dubbed Cartier "Halo" tiara was first forged in 1936 for the Queen Mother, purchased by King George VI (pardon the crass American reference, but yeah, The King's Speech guy) for his wife just three weeks before he took over the throne from his brother. Later on, it was given to then-Princess (now Queen) Elizabeth on the occasion of her 18th birthday. No monetary value has been given to the tiara, but what with its history and all, we're guessing the figure would hover somewhere around "priceless." Give or take a farthing.

Incidentally, that it was hers for the wearing at all is being seen among those who look for such things as quite a promising sign of things to come, at least in terms of Kate's relationship with the senior members of the royal family. In contrast, when Prince Andrew tied the knot with Sarah Ferguson, the royal family kept their jewelry collection on lockdown and instead of reaching into the vast recesses of their jewels purchased a tiara for the bride from Garrard. Can you imagine? Like she was some sort of commoner! Granted, one with quite deep pockets, but still. And we all know how that turned out.

As for Kate's something new, her diamond earrings were designed especially to complement the tiara (so the decision to wear it must have been made some time ago) by jeweler Robinson Pelham.

The earrings were a personal wedding gift to Kate from her parents, and in addition to taking inspiration from the tiara, did so from the Middleton family's newly revealed coat of arms. The diamond set includes stylized oak leaves, a pear-shaped diamond set drop and a pave-set diamond acorn suspended in the center. (The Middleton coat of arms features both acorns and oak leaves.)

Needless to say, no monetary value has been declared for those custom baubles, either. That, after all, would be most improper.