Diana reputedly found the weight of it so heavy that it gave her headaches, but Kate Middleton is clearly made of sterner stuff. She looked more than happy bearing on her head the weight of one of the most famous royal tiaras last night.
Kate has only worn a tiara in public four times in her life, but last night’s display looks set to be one of the most memorable and significant, after she chose to attend as state reception for foreign diplomats in Buckingham Palace wearing the diamond and pearl Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara, once owned by William's late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
The tiara - one of the most celebrated in the royal collection - was given to Diana as a wedding present from the Queen in 1981, but would have reverted to the Queen’s collection on her death.
The Queen was left the tiara by her grandmother Queen Mary, who commissioned the piece from Garrard in 1913/1914. Mary, a well-known gem fanatic, modeled it on a tiara owned by her grandmother, Princess Augusta of Hesse, who was also the Duchess of Cambridge, hence the name.
It has pearls hanging from 19 diamond arches. Kate wore it with diamond earrings and a pale blue lace dress last night.
The piece is composed of existing jewels Queen Mary had in her collection: the dismantled Some Ladies of England Tiara plus the original pearl uprights from the Girls of Great Britain & Ireland Tiara and pearls from other brooches belonging to Mary.
Originally, the design included upright pearls on top of the arches, but Mary had them removed.
I know, keeping up with royal game of jewelry pick and mix is just exhausting, isn't it? The Queen gave the Cambridge Lover's Knot tiara to Diana as a wedding present in 1981. Diana however reputedly found the piece to be too heavy and headache-inducing, and often wore the lighter-weight Spencer tiara from her family instead.
It is just the fourth time the Duchess has worn a tiara. For her 2011 wedding she chose the Cartier Halo tiara. She has also worn the Lotus Flower tiara twice, at a diplomatic reception in 2013 and for the State Banquet when the Chinese President visited in October this year.
The diplomatic reception is held every year and around 1,500 diplomats attend along with senior members of the royal family.