Thursday 12th December 2013

Kate Middleton's Wedding Tiara Goes on Display

BY RUTH DUNLEY, CANADA.COM DECEMBER 11, 2013

It was the finishing touch that turned Kate Middleton into a fairytale princess on her wedding day, and now the stunning diamond tiara she wore to Westminster Abbey is going on display in Paris.

“The halo tiara, which was designed by Cartier, will take pride of place at an exhibition celebrating the style and history of the iconic jewelers,” reports the Daily Mail. “The head piece, composed of stylized petals and paved with 739 brilliant diamonds and 149 baguette-cut diamonds, takes its name from its halo shape and was made in 1936.”

According to the Royal Collection website, the tiara was a 18th birthday gift for Queen Elizabeth (then Princess Elizabeth) from her mother, the late Queen Mother.

Tiaras are not a trivial matter. As Roisin Kelly notes in parade.com, “Its history alone demonstrates the importance that is attached to royal tiaras: it was given to England’s future monarch on the occasion of her coming of age, and she later further imbued the piece with significance when she approved its use in the joining together of her grandson and his wife.”

Kate borrowed the tiara for her wedding to Prince William in April 2011 as she did not have a family tiara of her own to wear.

Prince William’s mother, the late Princess Diana, wore her family’s Spencer tiara when she married Prince Charles in 1981. Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, has said the dazzling diamond head piece gave his older sister, who was unaccustomed to wearing tiaras all day, “a cracking headache.”

The halo tiara is just one of several diamond-encrusted pieces that are part of the Cartier display at Paris’s Grand Palais.

The Guardian notes that Cartier was known as “the jeweler of kings, and the king of jewelers” creating historic pieces for not only British royals, but also American royalty — Elizabeth Taylor and also Grace Kelly, who went on, of course, to become Princess Grace of Monaco.

“Undaunted by wars, economic depression and upheaval, the exhibition revelas that when the going gets tough, the world’s royals, heiresses, socialites, bankers’ wives, celebrities and even maharajas get shopping for sparklers.”

The exhibition continues until Feb. 16.

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