Kate Middleton bucks tradition with a new kind of 'tiara' - this is the story behind it

There's no doubt Kate Middleton wowed crowds with her statement look

Catherine, Princess of Wales departs the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla on May 06, 2023 in London, England.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Kate Middleton wowed onlookers for the Coronation of King Charles III today (Saturday 6th May, 2023) wearing a statement headpiece that deviates from usual royal protocol. 

It's customary for women within the Royal Family to wear diamond tiaras for such momentous occasions, but the Princess of Wales' statement piece was actually fashioned from crystal and silver bullion, finished with silver thread works.

Catherine, Princess of Wales arrives ahead of the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla on May 6, 2023 in London, England

(Image credit: Getty Images)

While there were earlier reports that suggested the Princess of Wales would opt for a 'flower crown' rather than a tiara, we didn't predict that the departure from tradition would be quite so striking.

As a sweet touch, Catherine's daughter Princess Charlotte wore a similar crystal headpiece designed by the same milliner, as well as a matching white gown designed by Alexander McQueen.

Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis hold hands following the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla at Westminster Abbey on May 6, 2023 in London, England

(Image credit: Getty Images)

So why did Catherine make the departure from the traditional tiaras we've seen her sporting many times before? How much is it worth? And what's the story behind the designers? Here's everything you need to know about Kate Middleton's Coronation headpiece.

Who designed Kate Middleton's Coronation headpiece?

The stunning three-dimensional leaf embroidery headpiece is the product of a special collaboration for the event between London-based Milliner and Alexander McQueen, who was the designer for Catherine's wedding dress back in 2011.

Whose tiara did Kate Middleton wear?

It's not unusual for members of the Royal Family to wear items from the royals who came before them - with Kate Middleton paying tribute to the late Princess Diana with her diamond-encrusted pearl-drop earrings and Queen Consort Camilla honouring Queen Elizabeth II by wearing the same necklace that the late Queen wore to her own Coronation in 1953.

But on this occasion, the Princess of Wales wore a headpiece that was specifically designed for the event, rather than wearing the Crown jewels we've seen her in many times before.

Why didn't Kate Middleton wear a traditional tiara?

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, Princess Charlotte of Wales, Anne, Princess Royal, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince Louis of Wales, Prince William, Prince of Wales during the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla on May 06, 2023 in London, England

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rumours circulated before the event that Catherine, Princess of Wales, would likely wear a 'floral headpiece' instead of a tiara to match the 'scaled-back' approach to the Coronation (via The Times).

Sustainability has been a theme for King Charles' Coronation, with he and Camilla wearing existing crowns, rather than having new pieces designed for the event, and many items, such as the historic chairs used at the event, being upcycled for the event, according to a release from the Royal Family

It could also be assumed that Catherine's choice not to wear a crown or tiara is a nod to the hierarchy within the Royal Family, as the King and Queen Consort were the only members that wore crowns or tiaras on the big day. 

How much is Kate Middleton's Coronation headpiece worth?

At the time of writing, it's not known how much the Princess of Wales' Coronation crown is worth - though we're imagining the collaboration between two such prestigious creators - Jess Collett and Alexander McQueen - will have a high value. 

Who is Jess Collett?

Jess Collett attends the annual London Luxe Christmas Cocktail at Belgraves Hotel on November 17, 2015 in London, England

(Image credit: Getty Images)

While Alexander McQueen is one of the most iconic fashion designers of our time, enjoying a pre-existing relationship with the former Duchess of Cambridge, designing her wedding dress in 2011, Jess Collett may be a new name for those outside the millinery world.

However, it comes as no surprise that Catherine decided to collaborate with the London-based millinery giant, as she's worked with some of the Princess' favourite brands including Jaeger, Jigsaw, Emilia Wickstead, Anna Mason and Mimi Holliday.

Jess has been working as a couture milliner for the past 25 years creating high-end and expertly crafted hats. She says of her work, "I believe hats have the power to transform your style and mood.”

Jess has worked with a whole host of celebrities, including Madonna, Rita Ora, Pippa Middleton Helena Bonham Carter and Thandie Newton, as well as fellow royal Princess Eugenie

Watch this space for more updates on guests at the Coronation of King Charles III and the latest news on this historical moment.

Lauren is the former Deputy Digital Editor at woman&home and became a journalist mainly because she enjoys being nosy. With a background in features journalism, Lauren has bylines in publications such as Marie Claire UK, Red Magazine, House of Coco, women&home, GoodTo, Woman's Own and Woman magazine.

She started writing for national papers and magazines at Medavia news agency, before landing a job in London working as a lifestyle assistant and covers everything from fashion and celebrity style to beauty and careers.