On December 11, the Duchess of Cambridge attended the Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace, an annual event thrown by Her Majesty for ambassadors and other governmental officials. She wore a navy Alexander McQueen gown, dangling diamond earrings, and a tiara upon her head.
Most royal watchers instantly recognized the glittering diadem as Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara, often shortened to the Lover’s Knot. It’s the eighth time she’s worn it—cementing its position as her “favorite” (or at least most frequently donned) tiara. It’s a fantastical headpiece, one that can still be distinctly glimpsed through a car window on the drive to Buckingham Palace.
The Lover’s Knot Tiara was commissioned for Queen Mary in 1913 from Britain’s House of Garrard. It consists of diamonds and a collection of 19 hanging pearls, all set in silver and gold. Later it was handed down to Queen Elizabeth. She then eventually gave it to her daughter-in-law, Princess Diana.
It was through Diana that Lover’s Knot became one of the most recognizable pieces of jewelry belonging to the British royal family. (Allegedly, the piece was so heavy that she used to get headaches after wearing it.) She famously paired it with a white, pearl-encrusted Catherine Walker ensemble while visiting Hong Kong in 1989. Upon her divorce from Prince Charles, the tiara was returned to Queen Elizabeth.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, didn’t wear the Lover’s Knot Tiara for the first few years of her royal tenure. On her wedding day, she wore the Cartier Halo Tiara. Then, for other formal occasions—most notably at the state dinner for Chinese president Xi Jinping—she donned the Lotus Flower Tiara. However, in December 2015, she wore the Lover’s Knot for that year’s Diplomatic Reception. Immediately, comparisons to Diana were made.
Since then, it’s become the Duchess’s formal headwear of choice. Below, all the times the duchess has worn the Lover’s Knot Tiara.