Beauty & Fashion

The Greatest Royal Tiaras in History

The tradition of tiaras began during the Greek and Roman empires, when high-ranking men and women wore headpieces as symbols of their status. But it was Napoleon who made them truly en vogue: with the aim of presenting his court as the most magnificent in 19th-century Europe—and to associate himself with the ancient emperors of the past—he commissioned a number of fantastical headpieces for his wife, Josephine. Soon enough, all the noblewomen of their court began to follow her fashionable neoclassical suit, as did the rest of the grand houses of Europe.

Today, a number of royal women wear the precious diamond diadems on grand state occasions or for their weddings. Queen Elizabeth, for example, appeared on her banknotes in the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara once owned by her great-grandmother Queen Mary, while Princess Eugenie’s 2018 wedding saw her don the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik tiara, rumored to cost a whopping 17 million dollars due to its 93.7-carat center emerald. Meanwhile, the internet was abuzz when the Princess of Wales wore the forgotten Strathmore Rose Tiara for a 2023 banquet in honor of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and First Lady Kim Keon Hee. Often, the pieces are products of the exquisite and grand work of great jewelry houses such as Garrard, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Boucheron.

Below, find some of the greatest royal tiaras in history.

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