When Princess Eugenie marries Jack Brooksbank on 12th October, it’ll mark the first time that we’ve seen the young royal wearing a tiara: it’s tradition, after all, that only married women can don an embellished headpiece. And when she walks down the aisle, it’s very likely that she will be wearing a special family heirloom – one which made its debut at the wedding of her parents, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, in 1986.
Unlike most pieces of jewellery worn by royal brides, the York tiara was an entirely new design. The platinum scroll style with floral embellishments was reportedly commissioned especially for the new Duchess of York by her future in-laws, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, from Garrard, the London jeweler also responsible for Sarah’s engagement ring, and for Princess Diana’s sapphire ring, too, the iconic style that is now worn by the Duchess of Cambridge. However, its provenance has never been fully confirmed by the palace: on Sarah and Andrew’s wedding day, the palace said that the tiara had been lent by ‘a family friend.’ Hmm.
The tiara features a number of diamond collets, with a larger five carat diamond as its centrepiece, and came as part of a demi-parure, a jewellery set including other three pieces: a necklace, earrings and bracelet.
The Duchess of York initially covered up her tiara with a crown of white gardenias, a favourite flower of her husband-to-be, when she walked down the aisle, but took off the garland after she had signed the marriage register and appeared wearing her new tiara on the balcony at Buckingham Palace. It’s thought that she wished to symbolize her transition from ‘commoner’ stock to royalty.
Look back at royal wedding tiaras through history in the gallery below...
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, 2011
On her wedding day, Kate Middleton wore the Cartier 'halo' tiara. It was lent to her by the Queen and was originally bought by The Duke of York for Th Queen Mother and handed down to the Queen for her 18th birthday.
Fergie wore the treasured piece for a number of occasions both during her marriage and after her divorce (it’s thought that her divorce settlement allowed her to keep the heirloom), but it has not been seen in public since the Duchess attended Elton John’s White Tie and Tiara Ball back in 2001. So, if Eugenie does choose to wear the piece as predicted, it’ll be the first time in over 15 years that the York tiara is given a public outing. And what better occasion than a royal wedding?
However, this certainly isn’t the only option for Eugenie when she walks down the aisle. It is traditional for the Queen to lend a piece from her personal collection to royal brides when they get married: most recently, the Duchess of Sussex borrowed Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara; before that, the Duchess of Cambridge famously wore the Cartier Halo scroll tiara on her wedding day. Other potential contenders include the Strathmore Rose tiara, a floral headpiece given to the Queen Mother as a wedding present and passed on to the Queen, or even the Queen Mary fringe tiara, the diamond-spiked design worn by the Queen herself on her wedding day and by Princess Anne on hers.