The Royal Family Has Surprising Rules When It Comes to Tiaras

Tiaras have long been associated with royalty; the queen wears them for certain formal events. But the piece of jewelry is more than just a fashion statement worn without meaning. Rather, the royal tiaras have some intense rules behind them — including how and who can wear one, and which events require something so formal.

Kate Middleton wedding day
Kate Middleton stunned in a Cartier tiara on her wedding day. | Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

A royal bride must wear a tiara at her wedding

Traditionally, the first time a royal woman wears a tiara is on her wedding day. According to Forbes, wearing the tiara to walk down the aisle makes it a symbol of removing one’s “innocence” and trading it in for marriage. Kate Middleton wore a Cartier Halo Tiara, which was loaned to her by the queen, at her 2011 wedding to Prince William.

Meghan Markle stirred up controversy after her tiara choice was reportedly denied by the queen. The Duchess of Sussex allegedly wanted to wear a different tiara than the what the queen wanted, though Prince Harry and Meghan’s recent royal biography refutes those claims. Regardless, tiaras are a big deal for royal weddings; Princess Eugenie’s Greville Emerald Kokoshnik tiara turned heads on her wedding day.

Meghan Marke wedding day
Meghan Markle wore the Queen Mary Bandeau tiara on her wedding day. | Andrew Matthews/AFP/Getty Images

RELATED: Did Princess Beatrice’s Wedding Tiara Cost More Than Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton’s?

The tiaras have to be worn in a specific fashion

Over the years, the way in which a tiara is worn has changed a bit. It used to be that the pieces were worn far forward on the head so as to stand out. The tiara was supposed to be worn on the same plane as the face to allow the crystals to be noticed by guests as much as possible. However, in time, the role of the tiara has shifted.

The piece no longer requires as much focus on the front of the head. These days, many royal women are wearing them further back. “The modern fashion for wearing a tiara is that it should be worn quite far back on the head, normally running in a line from just behind the ears at an angle of about 45 degrees when viewed from the side,” Elizabeth Galton told Forbes. Galton is the brand director of Mappin & Webb, a jewelry firm that holds royal warrants — a major compliment from the queen.

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

RELATED: Princess Beatrice, Queen Elizabeth, and 2 Other Royals Wearing the Queen Mary Tiara

Greasy hair works best for tiaras

When tiaras were made popular hundreds of years ago, shampoo was not yet a typical household item. Most women wearing the tiara had greasy, unwashed hair, helping the tiara hold its place on the head. These days, that’s not the case, as it’s uncommon for a royal to attend a formal event with unwashed hair. Rather, the tiaras are now held in by a nickel frame bound in velvet, which is the same color as the royal’s hair; this way, it blends in. While gold can be used as well, silver is typically not, as it “is not rigid enough to hold everything in shape,” Galton said.