All eyes were on Princess Eugenie as she arrived at Windsor Castle to marry Jack Brooksbank in October 2018. But it was the royal’s tiara that particularly stood out. And now, the fascinating history behind the headpiece has been revealed.
Eugenie is the youngest daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York. Andrew is the second-born son and third eldest child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Eugenie is ninth in line to the throne, after her older sister Beatrice.
Eugenie does not receive money from the Privy Purse. She is also not required to carry out duties on behalf of the monarchy. Instead, she’s a director of Hauser & Wirth art gallery in London. Eugenie also works with several charity projects.
In January 2018 the Duke of York’s Office announced Eugenie’s engagement to Jack Brooksbank. The couple had first met while he was working in Verbier, Switzerland, and she was on a ski trip there. They dated for seven years before he proposed during a vacation in Nicaragua.
Jack is employed as a brand ambassador for tequila company Casamigos. He and Eugenie tied the knot in October 2018 in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. It was at that same spot that her cousin Prince Harry had married Meghan Markle a few months earlier.
Around 850 people were at the celebrations, including celebrities. Demi Moore, Naomi Campbell, Stephen Fry and Liv Tyler were among the guests. And 1,200 people from across the U.K were also invited into the castle grounds for the big day.
Eugenie worked with designers Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos to design her dress. She had previously met them and often wore their clothing. They created a white long-sleeved gown with a low back and folded shoulders.
Eugenie also wore Charlotte Olympia satin shoes, along with diamond and emerald earrings donated from Jack. But it was her tiara that captured the attention of fans. And the accessory was not only striking. It also has an incredible story behind it.
The Queen famously lends her tiaras to royal brides on their wedding day. When Kate Middleton married Prince William in 2011, she wore the Queen Mother’s Cartier Halo Tiara. It was encrusted with 888 diamonds.
Meanwhile, Meghan Markle teamed her dress with the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau Tiara. Created in 1932 using a brooch that dates back nearly four decades before that, Queen Mary donated it to the Queen in 1953. However, not all tiaras worn at royal weddings come from the monarch’s collection.
When Princess Diana wed Prince Charles in 1981, she sported a tiara from her Spencer family. And although it’s unconfirmed, it is thought that Sarah Ferguson’s wedding tiara was commissioned for her as a gift from the Queen and Prince Philip rather than being loaned to her. In fact, it was speculated that Eugenie would wear her mother’s tiara when she got married.
But Eugenie chose the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara instead. Indeed, her grandmother the Queen lent the piece to her. And the remarkable and rarely seen tiara is nearly a century old.
The tiara was made in 1919 by Boucheron, a renowned French jeweler, for British socialite Margaret Greville. Today, the headdress stands out for its unique style. But back then it was considered the height of fashion.
The royal family’s official website describes the tiara. It was designed and created “in the fashionable ‘kokoshnik’ style popularized in the Russian Imperial Court.” It features six emeralds, including a large 93.70-carat one in the center. The tiara is set in platinum and made from rose-cut diamonds pavé.
In 1942 the tiara was given to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen’s mother. It was part of a selection of jewelry left to her, known as the “Greville bequest.” So when the wife of King George VI died in 2002, her daughter inherited it.
The Queen also gave her granddaughter a piece of gold from Wales. And the precious metal was used to make Eugenie’s wedding band. But it was the tiara that generated a lot of public interest.
Wedding planning website Bridebook.co.uk founder Hamish Shephard explained that Eugenie may have started a new craze with her bold choice. “The formality of the tiara is offset by the open shoulders of the dress, creating a beautiful balance between the two,” he told The Independent in October 2018. “The green jewels are especially striking, given that it’s a trend the wedding industry hasn’t seen for some time.”
Shephard added that other brides will probably now follow the princess’ lead. They too will include colorful gemstones in their wedding look. “The way the green complements the Princess’s eyes and hair is sure to set the trend of incorporating more colored jewels in your wedding outfit,” he said. And social media users were big fans of the look.
Twitter users admitted they loved the tiara, with one calling it a “surprising” choice. Others also declared that Eugenie looked “stunning.” The newlyweds – who moved from their home at St. James’s Palace to Ivy Cottage at Kensington Palace earlier this year – went on honeymoon following the nuptials.
But despite the grand wedding, the couple still enjoy the simpler things in life. “The Sunday after the wedding, I said to Eugenie and Jack: ‘Do you want to stay somewhere special?’” the princess’s mother told the Daily Mail in November 2018. “No. They wanted to stay at Royal Lodge. So the night before their honeymoon, the whole family were eating pizza together in the kitchen.”