Princess Diana became one of the world’s most iconic brides when she married Prince Charles, and now another member of the family has donned her famous wedding day tiara for her own walk down the aisle on Saturday.
Celia McCorquodale — the daughter of Diana’s oldest sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale — completed her bridal look for her nuptials to George Woodhouse with the Spencer Tiara, the same stunning headpiece worn by Diana at her and Charles’ royal wedding in 1981.
The sparkler belongs to the Spencer family, which can trace their aristocratic lineage back to the Tudor period. Although the Spencer Tiara has been shown to the public through various museum exhibitions over the past few decades, it had not been publicly worn since Princess Diana’s death in 1997.
The central part of the tiara was given as a wedding present to Lady Cynthia Hamilton (Diana’s grandmother) when she married Albert, Viscount Althorp, the future 7th Earl Spencer, in 1919. The topper was given to Cynthia by Albert’s great aunt, Lady Sarah Isabella Spencer, who died later that year.
The ends of the tiara are said to have come from a sparkler once belonging to Frances Manby, the last known Viscountess of Montagu. (The line died when her husband, Mark Browne, the then-9th Viscount Montagu, died nine months after their wedding in 1797.) Somehow these pieces ended up in Sarah’s possession and those got passed down to Cynthia and Albert. The current version — which is constructed with diamonds shaped into tulips and stars surrounded by attractive scrolls — was likely finalized sometime in the ’30s.
Celia is in good company: Diana’s sisters — Lady Sarah and Jane, Baroness Fellowes — both wore the family heirloom for their wedding days and Victoria Lockwood, who was the first wife of Diana’s brother Charles, the current Earl of Spencer, wore it when she married into the famed aristocratic family in 1989.
Most memorably, the Spencer Tiara adorned Diana’s head when she married Prince Charles. Although her future mother-in-law Queen Elizabeth II loaned Diana the Queen Mary Lover’s Knot Tiara for the wedding, the princess-to-be passed on the royal jewels and went with her family’s topper for the big day.
While Diana went on to borrow tiaras from the royal family’s vault throughout her life, she frequently wore the Spencer Tiara as it was said to be lighter and easier to wear than the other royal items.
The Queen Mary Lover’s Knot Tiara did, however, become one of Diana’s favorites to wear to various royal engagements, and the glittering diamond-and-pearl design has since been worn by Kate Middleton to royal diplomatic receptions.
Just four weeks after their own wedding, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (showing the British influence on her fashion by sporting an elegant fascinator!) attended his cousin’s nuptials to George Woodhouse.
Although Meghan followed in Kate’s footsteps by wearing a tiara straight from the Queen’s jewelry vault, the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau, some speculated that she would chose to don the Spencer Tiara to honor her late mother-in-law on her wedding day. However, the tiara belongs to the Spencers, so it is highly unlikely that Meghan or Kate would ever wear it unless Diana’s family decided to loan it out to them.