A classic Art Deco tiara, Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau was the choice of Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex for her 2018 wedding – making it one of the most famous tiaras in modern times. Two years on, images of the royal on her wedding day with Prince Harry are still enjoyed around the world, with the glittering diamond diadem a centrepiece of Meghan’s bridal look.
Made in 1932 for Queen Mary, this tiara came in to existence thanks to the central flower brooch.
Mary had the piece made to accommodate the brooch, which was a wedding present she received from the County of Lincoln.
The royal chose this diadem for less formal events such as gala performances, and wore it right up to her death in 1953.
It then passed to Queen Elizabeth – but she has never been seen in it.
Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau: Meghan Markle chose the piece for her wedding day in 2018
In fact, the tiara sat in the vaults until it made an appearance at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018.
Speaking about choosing the piece, Meghan said at the time she liked the “clean and simple” look of the Art Deco diadem.
An exhibition at Windsor Castle after their wedding had audio recordings of the newlyweds explaining the choices they made for their day, including the tiara selection.
Meghan was heard saying: “When it came to the tiara on the day, I was very fortunate to be able to chose this gorgeous art deco style bandeau tiara.
“Harry and I had gone to Buckingham Palace to meet with her Majesty the Queen to select one of the options that were there which was an incredibly surreal day as you can imagine.
“That was the one that I think as we tried them on stood out. I think it was just perfect because it was so clean and simple – and also to that point, an extension of what Clare and I had been trying to do with the dress which was have something that could be so incredibly timeless but still feel modern.”
The Duke of Sussex was present during the tiara choosing, and said trying on the special pieces is “every girl’s dream”.
He gushed: “Funnily enough, it was the one that suited the best. The one that looked the best on you without question. I shouldn’t have really been there—but an incredible loan by my grandmother.”
Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau: Queen Mary wore the diadem for less formal events, such as premieres
It is not known which house made this tiara, with Kensington Palace only confirming that it is English on Meghan Markle’s wedding day.
Formed of eleven flexible sections which are pave set with large and small brilliant diamonds in a geometric design.
At the centre is a detachable brooch made of ten brilliant diamonds. Other brooches can be worn in its place – something Queen Mary did on occasion.
On the side of the tiara are clusters of seven diamonds in flowers which echo the central brooch.
How many tiaras are there in the royal collection?
There are dozens of priceless tiaras owned by the Queen and other members of the Royal Family. Many of the British aristocracy also own tiaras, wearing them at state banquets and on wedding days.
As well as tiaras currently in existence, there are a couple which have been dismantled to make other diadems. This includes The Surrey Fringe and The Nizam of Hyderabad.
Some tiaras have formed part of iconic moments in the history of the Royal Family. The Cartier Halo for instance, was worn by Kate Middleton on her wedding day to Prince William in 2011.
Similarly, the Meander tiara was admired around the world thanks to it being the choice of Zara Phillips for her wedding to Mike Tindall in 2011.
And it is the Lover’s Knot that is most often seen today, as it is a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge. It was closely associated with Diana, Princess of Wales during her marriage to Prince Charles, so holds special significance for Kate.