The time has come (a.k.a. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding) to stop everything and acquaint yourself with the British Royal Family's veritable army of tiaras: a group of jewels that are so precious you can't put a price tag on them, and so old they were around before the days of photography. We've all seen Kate Middleton, Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth and now Meghan Markle decked out in bejeweled headgear, but the origin stories behind these tiaras are truly fascinating.
Meghan Markle wore the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau on her wedding day. According to Kensington Palace, the diamond bandeau is English and made in 1932, but the centre brooch dates back to 1893. The diamond bandeau was literally made for Queen Mary to accommodate the centre brooch. It was placed in the Queen's vault in 1953 and has also been seen on Princess Margaret, Harry's late great aunt.
Originally a wedding gift to Queen Mary (then a princess) in 1893, the tiara gets its name because it was given by the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland committee for her wedding. Queen Mary gave it to Queen Elizabeth II as a wedding present in 1947, and it's extremely recognizable thanks to its frequent appearance on banknotes and stamps.
This crown was made for King George IV for his 1821 coronation, was worn by Queen Victoria and Queen Mary, and has stayed in the family since. Queen Elizabeth II wore it to her coronation, and still wears it while traveling to and from the State Opening of Parliament. FYI, it has a modest 1,333 diamonds and cost just £8,216 to make. But again, this was the 1800s.
The queen was given almost 100 Burmese rubies for her wedding day, and had them made into a tiara in 1973. She combined the rubies with diamonds made from a different dismantled tiara. #TooManyTiaras
This tiara was made by Cartier in 1936, and given to the Queen Mother by her husband before their wedding. The Queen Mother gifted Queen Elizabeth II the tiara on her 18th birthday, and its since been worn by Princess Margaret (left) and Kate Middleton—who famously wore it during her wedding to Prince William. The tiara is said to feature "739 brilliants and 149 baton diamonds."
This delicate tiara was designed by Prince Albert for his one true love Queen Victoria. It was a favorite of the Queen Mother's (right), who gave it to her daughter Queen Elizabeth II (left).
Brazil gifted Queen Elizabeth II a bunch of aquamarine jewelry for her coronation (casual)—so she commissioned a tiara to match. The piece is said to have grown in size as the Queen was gifted more jewels, so go ahead and file under: "I have so much aquamarine that it literally won't fit on my crown" problems.
This piece was made in 1919 for Queen Mary, but it's probably most famous for being worn by both Queen Elizabeth and her daughter Princess Anne on their wedding days. Fun fact: it can also be worn as the most epic necklace ever.
This tiara belonged to Russian Grand Duchess Vladimir and was purchased by Queen Mary. She passed it on to her granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II. At this point your mind should be pretty much blown by just how many tiaras she owns.
This stunning piece was a gift from the Ladies of Society on the wedding anniversary of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1888. It was eventually passed to Queen Elizabeth II, who can be seen wearing it here.
Most commonly associated with Princess Diana, the tiara was made for Queen Mary in the early 1900s before being passed to Queen Elizabeth. She gave it to Princess Diana as a wedding gift, and it's also been seen on Kate Middleton.
Kate Middleton has also been seen wearing this tiara, which originally belonged to the Queen Mother, and was made from a necklace her husband gave her. The piece was frequently worn by Queen Elizabeth II's sister Princess Margaret, and was loaned to her daughter-in-law Serena Stanhope on her wedding day.
This tiara belonged to Dame Margaret Helen Greville, who gave it to The Queen Mother. It was loaned to the Duchess of Cornwall following her marriage to Prince Charles, and she wears it quite often.
This tiara was made for Queen Mary in 1911 and has since been altered. It was passed on to Queen Elizabeth II, who's loaned the tiara to the Duchess of Cornwall. As you can tell, it's among the biggest crowns in the family. Like, it's basically the size of a head.
This tiara was originally given to Queen Elizabeth II as a gift from her mother-in-law. Elizabeth then gave it to her daughter Princess Anne, who let her daughter Zara Phillips wear it on her wedding day.
One of Princess Diana's most frequently worn tiaras came straight from her family. Diana wore the piece during her wedding to Prince Charles, but it was also worn by both her sisters on their wedding days (peep Lady Sarah Spencer on the left), as well as by her sister-in-law Victoria Lockwood (right) on her wedding day.
Queen Elizabeth's father gave her sapphire jewels (originally purchased by George VI ) as a wedding gift in 1947, and she had a matching tiara made in the 60s. Because clearly she simply didn't have enough tiaras and needed another, don't question it.