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Royal Wedding Tiara Speculation: The Cartier Halo Tiara

The New Duchess of Cambridge on April 29, 2011

We’re wrapping up our Royal Wedding Tiara Speculation series with the tiara that gained instant worldwide recognition at the wedding of Miss Catherine Middleton and His Royal Highness Prince William, Duke of Cambridge - The Cartier Halo Tiara.

As tiaras go, the Halo is quite small and modest, crafted by Cartier of diamonds in platinum in 1936. It was purchased as an anniversary gift by His Royal Highness The Duke of York for his wife just three weeks before he became His Majesty King George VI and she Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. The Duchess of York was photographed only once wearing it before she became Queen; after her husband’s accession she gravitated toward larger, grander pieces. She gave the tiara to her eldest daughter The Princess Elizabeth (future Queen Elizabeth II) as an eighteenth birthday present, but apparently it wasn't quite to Princess Elizabeth’s taste, as she never wore it. However, she did lend it to her younger sister, The Princess Margaret, who actually wore it for Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953. After Margaret’s own tiara collection grew, she gradually stopped wearing it. Its next appearance was on The Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh’s only daughter, until she too retired it from her tiara rotation.

After resting for several decades in the Royal Family's jewel vault, The Cartier Halo Tiara spectacularly reappeared for the intensely-scrutinized 2011 nuptials of the now Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. As with Ms. Markle, there was intense speculation as to which tiara Catherine Middleton would wear, and the Halo was seen as the perfect choice. Considered rather a “starter” tiara, its relatively diminutive nature was appropriate for her first ever tiara event. The Duchess has not worn it since her wedding, even though she has dipped into the Royal Tiara vault on a few occasions.

As for Meghan Markle this Saturday, we understand that there is zero chance she’ll wear The Cartier Halo Tiara. Why? The tiara is simply not available, being currently in a Cartier exhibit at The National Gallery of Australia until July 22!

Now that we’ve ruled out which tiaras are and aren’t viable choices for May 19 – let the real speculation begin! We certainly have a favorite, not mentioned yet, that we plan to discuss before the weekend!

- Written by Heidi Retzer