The new bride’s problems start with the headgear. To wear, or not to wear, a tiara? Ever since Courtney Love and hip party people resuscitated the tiara and made it fun, a sparkly headband has become a fashion item. Generations of pink-clad little girls have topped their heads with sparkles, and Kate and her sister Pippa probably pranced around the family Christmas tree with tiaras in their well-brushed hair.
But the problem for Kate is the public’s great expectations: that she will have the fashion savvy, the grace and the charm to be another “people’s princess,” as Diana was called. All this in an age of celebrity when every bride from Victoria Beckham to Jennifer Lopez has dressed like a queen for a day.
Forget the dress — whatever puff of silk or column of white satin Kate Middleton decides to wear on the day of her wedding to Prince William in April. The real drama for this conventional but modern-minded queen-to-be is what to do about the royal jewels.
Like the sapphire engagement ring that inexorably links Kate with Princess Diana, most of those jewels bring with them a lot of baggage. There is another mighty sapphire: a brooch framed in diamonds. In fact, there are several of them; Prince Albert took “Albert’s brooch Coach Bags,” which he gave Victoria as a wedding gift, and made copies of it for their daughters. Then there is a cabochon emerald collar that the stately Queen Mary (Queen Elizabeth’s grandmother) made from her family emeralds, originally won in a lottery in Germany. Diana took the stuffing out of that piece by wearing it around her head like a squaw on a tour of Australia in 1985.
Since generations of little British girls have asked their mums why their queen is wearing an Hermès head scarf instead of a crown, the public will surely prefer a bit of glitter on Kate’s wedding day. If Middleton is finding the tiara thing a headache, she won’t be consoled by recent royal marriages. When Victoria of Sweden married her personal trainer last year, she wore a crown-size tiara with bold cameos circling her head. The remaining crowned heads of Europe all wore their royal bling for her grand ball.
My fashion advice to Kate would be to pick a gemstone that appeals to her — Queen Elizabeth has a penchant for diamonds and sapphires, while the queen mum liked rubies and especially pearls. And once the wedding is over, perhaps William could do something really daring: go with his young bride to a contemporary jeweler and have him design pieces just for Kate. No back story, no family inheritance, just a 21st-century talisman of modern love.
There are hundreds if not thousands of them: brooches, necklaces Coach Bags, tiaras, diadems in every color as long as it is not black. Although, come to think of it Coach Bags, with Queen Victoria’s legacy of 40 years in mourning, there are probably a ton of jet black (but definitely not jet-set) baubles.
But if Diana’s experience is any indication (as Lady Diana Spencer she wore the Spencer family tiara), heavyweight diamonds lead to a bad hair day. Kate’s glossy mane is her crowning glory, but will she have to sweep it up into a horsy chignon to anchor the jewels? And what tiara should she choose? Diana’s favorite, with diamonds and pearls, which can be traced back to the era of the Russian czars? Or should she hope that Queen Elizabeth will offer her another rock of family history? Perhaps the spiky, geometric diamond-fringe tiara that was a favorite of William’s great-granny, the queen mother.
Or should Kate junk the jewels in favor of a circlet of flowers? The queen mum did just that when she married the future George VI, he of the stutter now immortalized in the film “The King’s Speech.” She wore a circlet of orange blossoms with a symbolic rose of York on either side. There was a precedent for that: the young Victoria also had orange blossoms instead of diamonds as her bridal diadem.Related：