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Somewhat unbelievably, almost 11 years have passed since the royal wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011. (Happy early anniversary, Cambridges!) So, in anticipation of this milestone, we wanted to look back at—as wedding tradition dictates—Kate’s something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. And, while you might not have a tiara from your new grandmother-in-law on hand or a spare sapphire engagement ring from your late mother-in-law, maybe, at least, even those of us who aren’t marrying a prince can adopt her something new and something blue.
Kate perhaps had the ultimate “something old”—and it’s an iconic piece she wore not just on her wedding day, but every day thereafter. William famously and romantically presented Kate with the sapphire engagement ring of his late mother, Princess Diana, who wore the ring from her own engagement in 1981 until she and Prince Charles’ divorce was finalized in 1996. According to The Daily Express, the ring “holds a stunning 12-carat oval blue sapphire, surrounded by 14 smaller solitaire diamonds,” said Lorna Haddon, head of diamonds and jewelry at Beaverbrooks. “The sapphire and diamonds are set in a slim 18-carat white gold band, which accentuates the central piece and draws the eye into those incredible stones.” The ring, Haddon said, has incredible sentimental value to William, and he “explained that by Kate wearing his mother’s engagement ring, he felt that Diana was with them on their wedding day.”
While William’s mother was represented in Kate’s “something old,” for her “something new” it was her parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, who were represented. The Middletons gifted their eldest daughter with a pair of diamond earrings by Robinson Pelham for her big day; the earrings featured an oak leaf and an acorn to pay homage to the Middleton family’s coat of arms.
“She kept her jewelry choices for the big day very simple—as simple as can be when you’re wearing a royal tiara,” Haddon told the Express. “She teamed the headpiece with a gorgeous pair of pear-cut diamond drop earrings gifted to her by her parents for her wedding day—an equally sentimental piece for her to walk down the aisle with.”
For her “something borrowed,” Kate dug into the Queen’s extensive jewelry collection and chose the Cartier Halo Tiara for her wedding day. According to the Royal Collection Trust, per the Express, the tiara is formed of a band with “16 graduated scrolls, set with 739 brilliants and 149 baton diamonds.”
“Kate wore an extraordinary halo tiara on her wedding day borrowed from none other than the Queen herself,” Haddon said. “Stooped in royal history, the piece was gifted to Her Majesty as an eighteenth birthday present by George VI.”
The Carter Halo Tiara is thought to be the first tiara the Queen ever owned. It has also been seen worn by Her Majesty’s only daughter Princess Anne but hadn’t been seen for many decades prior to Kate’s 2011 wedding.
Of course, we could double count the sapphire engagement ring as Kate’s “something blue,” too, but Kate’s renowned Alexander McQueen wedding dress, designed by Sarah Burton, featured a subtly stitched blue ribbon to check off this box as well. (Sister-in-law Meghan Markle, for her part, had a pretty fantastic “something blue” of her own that you can take as inspiration: Meghan apparently wore a blue dress to her first date with Prince Harry in 2016, and sewed fabric from that dress into her veil when she married him two years later. Adorable.)
Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.
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