It seems surprising, but Kate Middleton, has only worn a tiara eight times. The first was the Cartier halo style the Duchess of Cambridge showed off on her wedding day. The second was a diamond-and-pearl creation originally worn frequently in the 1920s; it was loaned to Kate by the queen for the annual state reception in 2013, then she wore it again in honor of the U.K. visit from China’s president, Xi Jinping, and his wife Peng Liyuan. She’s borrowed the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara, loaned to Princess Diana as a wedding gift from the Queen, for diplomatic functions—most recently at a December reception for the Diplomatic Corps, held at Buckingham Palace. We were thrilled to see another sparkly princess moment, but it does make you wonder—why doesn’t Kate wear tiaras more often?
First, let’s discuss the tiaras Kate has worn…
Her wedding tiara has nearly 1,000 diamonds in total and was initially purchased from Cartier in 1936 as an anniversary gift from King George VI to his wife. Eight years later it was regifted to the current queen as an eighteenth-birthday gift (possibly becoming the best regift of all time).
Here’s a fascinating tiaras-worn-down-the-aisle fact for you: While it’s not typically observed anymore, a bride would historically have worn a tiara from her family’s collection on her wedding day before moving on to using her new husband’s family pieces afterward. Kate didn’t observe this, of course, but Princess Diana did, wearing a Spencer tiara when she married Prince Charles. Post-nuptials, it was all royal-family jewels for Di.
The second style, which you can see more clearly on the below shot of Princess Margaret, is commonly known as the Lotus Flower or Papyrus tiara. It originally belonged to the Queen Mother and lived life as a necklace before being turned into a tiara.
Duchess Catherine then paired the same Lotus Flower tiara with a red Jenny Packham gown and a stunning updo for for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.
Middleton repeated the same red gown with the iconic tiara known as the Cambridge Lover’s Knot, originally worn by Princess Diana.
In July 2017 the duchess attended a state banquet at Buckingham Palace on day one of the Spanish state visit, again wearing Princess Di’s Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara.
She once again wore the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara in December 2017 while attending the annual winter party at Buckingham Palace. This time Middleton paired the piece with matching diamond and pearl drop earrings and a diamond necklace.
In October 2018, the Duchess of Cambridge donned the Cambridge Lovers Knot tiara once more, for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in honor of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands’ visit to the U.K. She paired it with an Alexander McQueen gown.
Most recently, in December 2018, Kate Middleton wore the Cambridge Lovers Knot for the eighth time—for a reception honoring members of the Diplomatic Corps at Buckingham Palace. Her regal evening look was completed with a Jenny Packham gown.
So, why doesn’t Kate wear tiaras more often?
There’s no firm answer as to why Kate doesn’t wear the glamorous accessory more often. Official rules about when they’re to be worn don’t exist (though they’re common for white-tie events and state occasions held in the evening). Many have suggested that the duchess’s aversion to the bling might be another facet of her love for high-street style and dedication to making the monarchy feel modern and approachable. Others have speculated it’s a thoughtful choice in order to distinguish herself from Princess Diana, who was a controversial royal for the family and loved a tiara moment.
Need more Kate style? Check out how the Duchess copied Paris Hilton’s style for a red carpet event, plus, Kate Middleton’s tricks for making an old outfit look new.