A Look Back at Kate Middleton’s Cartier Wedding Day Tiara on Her 13th Wedding Anniversary: A Brief History of the Royal Family’s Tradition

Among Kate Middleton’s most remarkable fashion moments during her years as part of the royal family, her wedding day look stands out for many as the Princess of Wales leaned into the elegant, lady-like style she’s become known for. 

Middleton and Prince William, who are celebrating their 13th wedding anniversary on Monday, had one of the most highly anticipated royal weddings of the century, with much attention on what Middleton would wear for her big day. 

While royal spectators were keen to see which fashion designer the princess would go with for her wedding dress, other eagle-eyed fans were attuned to Middleton’s accessories for the wedding day, particularly which wedding day tiara she would sport from the late Queen Elizabeth’s II’s lavish collection.

Middleton ultimately went with Queen Elizabeth’s Cartier Halo Tiara, which had been a part of the late queen’s tiara collection since she was 18 years old. 

Kate Middleton and Prince Williams at their Royal Wedding in April, 2011.

Kate Middleton and Prince Williams at their Royal Wedding in April 2011.

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Middleton’s wedding day tiara was initially commissioned in 1936 by Queen Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, who created the accessory for his wife shortly before he took on the throne. 

The opulent accessory has an intricate design — the tiara is set with 739 brilliant and 149 baton diamonds, according to the Royal Collection Trust. 

The royal family continued the tradition of women borrowing their wedding day tiara from Queen Elizabeth’s extensive collection after Middleton’s royal wedding. Following Princess Kate’s wedding, Meghan Markle wore the Queen Mary Bandeau Tiara for her royal wedding in 2017. 

Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughters Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice also wore tiaras from her collection for their royal weddings, with the former opting for the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara and the latter wearing the Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara. Princess Beatrice’s tiara was the same one that Queen Elizabeth II wore for her own wedding to the late Prince Philip in 1947. 

Middleton paired the Cartier Halo Tiara with a custom Alexander McQueen gown made by former designer Sarah Burton. The Victorian-inspired dress was designed with an ivory lace bodice paired with a high lace collar, long lace sleeves and a satin skirt featuring a nine-foot train. 

Kate Middleton and Prince Williams at their Royal Wedding in April, 2011.

Kate Middleton and Prince Williams at their Royal Wedding in April 2011.

Getty Images

Although a part of the queen’s collection, Queen Elizabeth was never publicly seen wearing Middleton’s wedding day tiara. She instead lent out the Cartier Halo Tiara to her sister, Princess Margaret, and her daughter, Princess Anne, before Middleton wore the headpiece.

While Middleton’s wedding day Cartier Halo Tiara is among the most lavish headpieces she’s worn over the years, the princess has also regularly been seen wearing the Lover’s Knot Tiara, another piece from Queen Elizabeth II’s collection. 

In 1913, Queen Mary commissioned the tiara from the House of Garrard and was created with 19 baroque pearls and rose-cut diamonds set in a series of heart-shaped knots. The tiara was also regularly worn by Princess Diana. 

Middleton’s wedding day look has stood the test of time as one of the princess’ most memorable fashion moments over the last two decades, and will surely remain as a hallmark of her revered style. 

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