You know the old wedding saying, “Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue“? For most royal brides, the “something borrowed” is a stunning tiara. Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton both wore tiaras borrowed from Queen Elizabeth on their wedding days. Even Diana wore a tiara —although hers was a Spencer family heirloom. But one royal broke tradition by ditching the crown entirely — well, sort of.
Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, walked down the aisle wearing a floral crown, rather than one made of diamonds. But Fergie’s unconventional choice was actually a sweet tribute to her then-husband, Prince Andrew. Not only were gardenias the prince’s favorite flower, they also matched her bouquet — which, in another non-traditional move, was smaller than usual arrangements.
After the ceremony, Fergie removed the floral crown to reveal a stunning diamond-encrusted tiara — the York Diamond Tiara — which the queen had specifically commissioned for the nuptials. The center stone was a breathtaking five-carat diamond, flanked by delicate floral scrollwork. Gemologist Grant Mobley estimated its worth to be at least $300,000.
Even though Fergie didn’t really break royal tradition (she ended up wearing a tiara, after all), she did manage to make a powerful statement. When she entered the church, she adorned her head with white flowers, a symbol of purity and hope. Upon her exit, Fergie wore a tiara commissioned by the queen — a sign that she was now a committed member of the royal family, both legally and spiritually.
Always the rule-breaker (like her sister-in-law Diana), Fergie managed to rebel a little bit at her 1986 wedding. For the reception, Andrew and his bride served their guests a rum cake, rather than the traditional fruit cake. Meghan’s lemon and elderflower cake was considered unorthodox, but it seems tame in comparison to a rum cake, doesn’t it?