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Will Meghan Markle wear Princess Diana's tiara for the royal wedding?

Something borrowed, something sparkly?
by Lindsay Lowe / / Source: TODAY
Will the future royal wear a tiara on the big day?
Will the future royal wear a tiara on the big day?Charles McQuillan / Getty Images

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It’s one of the burning questions about the upcoming royal wedding: Will Meghan Markle wear a tiara when she says "I do"?

Many experts are betting that, yes, Markle will don a glittery headpiece on the big day. It’s a royal tradition, after all.

“Almost every British royal bride in recent memory has worn a tiara on her wedding day, so I do expect to see Meghan wear one,” Ella Kay, a royal jewelry expert and editor of The Court Jeweller blog, told TODAY Style in an email. “The queen may decide to lend her a tiara, perhaps one of the lesser-seen ones worn by the late Queen Mother.”

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Queen Elizabeth II certainly has plenty of priceless tiaras to lend out. She loaned the Duchess of Cambridge the Cartier Halo tiara for her wedding to Prince William in 2011.

The Cartier Halo tiara is made of diamonds and platinum.
The Cartier Halo tiara is made of diamonds and platinum.Getty Images

The Cartier Halo tiara is most likely out of the running for Markle — not just because her future sister-in-law recently wore it, but because it’s currently on loan to the National Gallery of Australia.

So, what other tiara might the future royal wear? There’s been some speculation that she could wear the Spencer family tiara, which the late Princess Diana wore for her wedding to Prince Charles.

Princess of Wales Wedding Portrait
Princess Diana chose to wear her own family’s tiara on her wedding day instead of borrowing one from the queen.Getty Images

Prince Harry will no doubt want to honor the memory of his mother during the ceremony, just as he did when he designed Markle’s engagement ring using diamonds from Diana’s personal collection.

The two outside diamonds come from Princess Diana’s personal collection, while the center stone is from Botswana, a place of “special significance” for Prince Harry and Markle.
The two outside diamonds come from Princess Diana’s personal collection, while the center stone is from Botswana, a place of “special significance” for Prince Harry and Markle.Matt Dunham / AP

Some say it’s unlikely that Markle will wear the Spencer tiara because of its complicated history, like royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams.

“I don't think she would wear Diana's family tiara, the Spencer tiara, as it was worn at her ill-fated marriage to Charles in 1981,” he told TODAY Style in an email.

Princess Diana wore the Spencer tiara to white-tie events throughout her marriage.
Princess Diana wore the Spencer tiara to white-tie events throughout her marriage. AP

Like Kay, Fitzwilliams predicts the queen will let Markle borrow a tiara from her personal collection.

“The stones or the tiara itself might well have a certain significance if the queen lends her one,” he told TODAY.

Traditionally, certain gemstones carry symbolic meanings.

Amethysts signify devotion, while pearls represent love, as jewelry historian Geoffrey Munn explains in his 2002 book, "Tiaras: Past and Present."

And diamonds, of course, mean “forever.”

The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara, made famous by Princess Diana and also worn by Duchess Kate, contains 19 pearls dangling from diamond arches.
The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara, made famous by Princess Diana and also worn by Duchess Kate, contains 19 pearls dangling from diamond arches.Getty Images

Floral designs in tiaras can also be symbolic. Daisies signify innocence, ivy represents marriage and forget-me-nots signify true love.

Roses are another popular choice to represent enduring love. Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (aka, the Queen Mother) received a tiara of wild roses set with rose-cut diamonds as a wedding gift from her father, the Earl of Strathmore, in 1923.

The Queen Mother wore the Strathmore Rose tiara low around forehead in true ‘20s flapper style.
The Queen Mother wore the Strathmore Rose tiara low around forehead in true ‘20s flapper style.Getty Images

“In the language of flowers, the wild rose represents love in all its aspects, whether joyful or painful,” Munn wrote. “In giving this jewel to a bride, the earl was following a very ancient tradition.”

Tiaras, Britain - 2000s
The flowers on the Strathmore Rose tiara (at bottom) can be removed and used as individual brooches. Rex

The unusual Strathmore Rose tiara isn’t often worn today, so choosing that one could be a way for Markle make a unique statement while still wearing a piece of royal family history.

Another possible candidate for Markle is the Russian Fringe tiara, which goes way back in the royal family. The striking diamond tiara was originally made for Queen Mary in 1919. Later on, the Queen Mother loaned the headpiece to both her daughter, Elizabeth, and her granddaughter, Princess Anne, for their wedding days.

Like mother, like daughter! Both Queen Elizabeth and her daughter, Princess Anne, borrowed the Russian fringe tiara for their wedding days.
Like mother, like daughter! Both Queen Elizabeth and her daughter, Princess Anne, borrowed the Russian fringe tiara for their wedding days.AP, Getty Images

There’s also the chance that Markle would have a tiara custom made for her wedding or receive a new tiara as a gift from her future father-in-law, according to Kay.

“It wouldn't surprise me if Prince Charles decides to purchase a tiara for his new daughter-in-law,” she told TODAY. “He loves jewelry and has bought lots of fantastic pieces for (his wife) Camilla, including some impressive antique jewels.”

Of course, the bride-to-be has been known to depart from royal style norms from time to time. While Kay thinks it’s likely Markle will wear a tiara, she could possibly skip it altogether.

“She might also wear another kind of jeweled ornament in her hair,” Kay said, “or completely break tradition and wear nothing in her hair at all!”

Will she or won’t she?
Will she or won’t she?AFP - Getty Images

Someone who will surely not wear a tiara on the day? The Duchess of Cambridge — or any other female guest. That would be a royal wedding faux pas.

“Nothing would be worn at a royal wedding to detract from the bride who is likely to wear a tiara,” Fitzwilliams said.

In general, tiaras are only ever worn for evening occasions, and even Kate only wears them very occasionally to diplomatic receptions and state dinners.

The Duchess of Cambridge wore the Lotus flower tiara, borrowed from Queen Elizabeth, to a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in 2015.
The Duchess of Cambridge wore the Lotus flower tiara, borrowed from Queen Elizabeth, to a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in 2015.AFP-Getty Images

Since British royal weddings are typically held in the daytime, they’re an exception, Kay says — but only for the bride.

“The bride is the only person who wears a tiara,” she said. “Other women wear hats or fascinators.”

Royal watchers will have to wait and see whether Markle wears a tiara, but if tradition is anything to go by, chances are she will rock a seriously sparkly headpiece on the big day.

15 photos
Getty Images
A fascinator is no mere hat. It's an ornate headpiece — often decorated with flowers or feathers — and popular among royals. Take a look!

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