This is one of the most iconic royal tiaras ever but only four people have worn it publicly - and Queen Elizabeth wasn’t one of them!

This is one of the most iconic royal tiaras that many fans will instantly recognise but only a few people have been seen in it over the years

One of the most iconic royal tiaras wasn't worn publicly by Queen Elizabeth. Seen here she attends day 1 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show
(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

This is one of the most iconic royal tiaras ever but only four people have ever worn it publicly - and Queen Elizabeth wasn’t one of them! 

Over the years the royals have worn some breath-taking earrings and necklaces but it’s hard to beat the magnificence of the tiaras. Many have been Queen Elizabeth’s tiaras, including the Emerald Greville Kokoshnik Tiara worn by Princess Eugenie for her wedding. Certain tiaras have been more regularly worn than others and arguably one of the most iconic royal tiaras of all has only ever been worn publicly by four royals. And Queen Elizabeth wasn’t one of them - even though it was her present!    

The Cartier Halo Tiara was given to Queen Elizabeth as an 18th birthday present in 1944 but it previously belonged to the Queen Mother. As per The Royal Collection Trust, the tiara, which is formed of 16 graduated scrolls, is set with 739 brilliant-cut diamonds and 149 baton diamonds.

The Cartier "Halo" tiara

(Image credit: Photo by LEWIS WHYLD/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

According to reports the tiara was a gift to the Queen Mother from King George VI, before being passed down to their eldest daughter. However, whilst it might have belonged to her, Queen Elizabeth is understood to have never worn it publicly throughout her 70-year reign. 

The reason for this isn’t entirely clear, though it’s been speculated that it could’ve either been viewed as too much in Second World War-era Britain when rationing was still ongoing, or that it wasn’t quite grand enough for the heir to the throne. 

Whatever the reason, Queen Elizabeth was never seen publicly wearing one of the most iconic royal tiaras in her collection. Her sister Princess Margaret wore it on several occasions, including to Her Majesty’s coronation in 1953. 

Queen Mother and Princess Margaret in the horse-drawn carriage for the coronation

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The Queen’s daughter Princess Anne then became the third royal to wear this gorgeous piece. She was photographed wearing it on various high-profile occasions too - including during a visit to New Zealand in 1970 and for the State Opening of Parliament in 1967. Although the Cartier Halo Tiara has always been a beautiful piece of jewellery, it perhaps became one of the most iconic tiaras after it was worn by the fourth British royal to ever be seen in it.

Princess Anne attends a formal event during a visit to New Zealand

(Image credit: Photo by William Lovelace/Daily Express/Getty Images)

For Prince William and Kate’s wedding in 2011, the Princess of Wales wore the tiara and it marked the first time it had been seen for a while. It’s believed Queen Elizabeth loaned it to her and it looked stunning paired with her Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen lace-sleeved gown.

The tiara sat atop her loose brunette waves and was secured underneath the veil when Kate walked down the aisle, before being seen in its full glory when the veil was thrown back. This was the only time we’ve seen the future Queen Consort wearing this special tiara.

Princess of Wales on her wedding day

(Image credit: Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

In recent years she’s opted for the Lotus Flower Tiara or Lover’s Knot Tiara whenever an occasion has called for one but since the Cartier Halo Tiara remains intrinsically linked with the Princess of Wales in the minds of many it seems likely that if anyone is going to wear it again it would be her. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!