Among our many burning royal wedding questions is how Meghan Markle will look as she walks down the aisle on May 19. It's of course a given that whatever the bride-to-be sports, she'll resemble something out of a modern-day fairytale. But we still can't help but wonder what style wedding dress she'll choose and what accessories she'll deem fit to match such a potentially iconic gown. Will she follow in her future sister-in-law Kate Middleton's footsteps and opt for a long-sleeved lace number? While time will tell in less than 24 hours, Markle will probably mimic Middleton in one wedding-day aspect—by wearing a tiara.
According to Ella Kay, royal jewelry expert and founder of the Court Jeweller blog, the chances of Markle wearing such a hairpiece are high. "Almost every royal bride who has married in Britain since the 1930s has worn a tiara on her wedding day, so it's a good bet that Meghan will too," Kay told Town and Country. "But she could choose to go without a tiara, or she could wear another kind of jeweled ornament in her hair."
Tanya Dukes, jewelry editor and stylist, expects to see the bride walk down the aisle in a headpiece that's true to her signature style. "Meghan will adopt all the elements we expect to see from a royal bride—diamond tiara, couture gown—and I imagine she’ll tap into Windsors’ hoard of spectacular jewels, but I also expect that she will wear an element of more recent vintage that transmits something about her own sensibility or her relationship with Harry," says Dukes. "Many of her choices since announcing her engagement—especially with respect to her style of dress—seem to signify that Meghan Markle is determined to walk the line between sticking to royal traditions and maintaining a modern point of view."
If Markle does decide to sport a tiara, she'll have plenty of options to choose from, rooted deep in royal family history. While it's too soon to tell which one she has her eye on, Dukes delved into the family tree of five royal tiaras and the history behind them. While not all of these are contenders that Markle may wear on the big day, they're all still just dazzling and wedding-worthy as the next.
1. Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara
The Cambridge Lover's Knot was a favorite of Princess Diana's (and has since been re-worn by Kate Middleton). Queen Mary commissioned the accessory in 1914, which was modeled after a similar Gothic Revival tiara that belonged to Princess Augusta of Hesse. Princess Di received the Cambridge Lover's Knot as a wedding gift when she married Prince Charles in 1981. The pretty piece features 19 arches, 38 pearls, and diamonds from the royal family's collection. Traditionally, the tiara has been reserved for special occasions, making it perfect for the royal wedding.
2. Diamond Halo Tiara
Kate Middleton donned the Diamond Halo Tiara by Cartier, but the dazzling piece currently resides within the Cartier exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, meaning it won't be available for the future bride. However, it's highly unlikely Markle will want to wear this accessory to the wedding so as to separate herself from her future sister-in-law. King George VI had this jeweled accessory designed for his wife, the Queen Mother, in 1936. Complete with 1,000 diamonds, it's truly worthy of royalty.
3. Spencer Tiara
Markle could turn to the famous Spencer Tiara, which Princess Diana wore on her wedding day in 1981. Although Princess Diana's relatives, the Spencer family, own the headpiece, as opposed to the royal family, royal expert Ingrid Seward told US Weekly that Markle can still wear the Spencer Tiara if she wishes, especially since Diana's family is invited to the wedding.
"Diana was very proud of her Spencer heritage, and I think Harry will like his future bride to carry this tradition on," says Seward. "She will not own the tiara but will have the choice to wear it if she wants to."
Markle currently holds ties to her fiancé's late mother through the engagement ring that Prince Harry proposed with, which features a center stone from Botswana and two side stones from Princess Diana's collection.
4. Diamond Fringe Tiara
God save the Queen—and her wedding day tiara! Queen Elizabeth II wore the Russian Fringe Tiara down the aisle when she wed Prince Philip, which includes 47 diamond bars. The headpiece doubles as a necklace, and it was originally created for Queen Mary. Although it broke the morning of QE2's nuptials and had to undergo a quick emergency fix, we hope Markle has better luck on her big day if she chooses to sport this beauty.
5. Strathmore Rose Tiara
"If she goes for an heirloom tiara, a strong contender is the Strathmore Rose Tiara," says Dukes. "It’s both spectacular-looking and historic. The tiara features curving floral garlands and is set with rose cut diamonds mounted in silver and gold. The soft radiance of the diamonds have a boho elegance that might appeal to a California girl turned Brit princess." The Queen Mother wore this 19th-century floral headpiece with rose-cut diamonds for her wedding to King George VI in 1923. Queen Elizabeth's father gifted her with the accessory, and she styled it by wearing it low on her head.
Or, as a completely separate option, Markle could design her own tiara to commemorate her wedding day. Through her wedding planning, the bride-to-be has proved that she's playing by her own rules, so it wouldn't come as much of a surprise if she bucked royal tradition and created something entirely new to match her style. The fashion-forward future bride could create her own wedding-day hairpiece from scratch, or she could incorporate jewels from the royal family's collection. "Something appropriately diamond-studded and romantic, but with motifs of her choosing (or from a newly bestowed coat of arms…if she’s getting one) would be her defining jewel," Dukes surmised of Markle's potential custom piece.
Although royal rule forbids brides from wearing tiaras until their wedding days, we did get a sneak peek of Markle donning one from her high school homecoming photos. And, we must say, tiaras do suit her well.
Regardless of whether she accessorizes with a tiara or not, Meghan Markle is bound to be one beautiful bride tomorrow!