Meghan Markle’s #tiaragate is in the news yet again.
While the Duchess of Sussex, 41, wore a stunning diamond headpiece for her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018, rumors have swirled through the years that Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau was not, in fact, her first choice — and Queen Elizabeth II had to nix her preferred sparkler in order to prevent controversy.
In the book “Battle of Brothers,” royal biographer Robert Lacey wrote that Markle’s selection had “scandal attached,” per the Express.
“Unconfirmed by the palace — but not denied — we were told that the Queen felt that she had to say ‘no’ to Meghan’s first choice,” the author said.
The tiara in question was “a beautiful emerald headdress that was said ‘to have come from Russia.’”
Markle’s tiara glittered in the sun during the couple’s carriage ride through the streets of Windsor.Getty Images
Adding that “this was code for a sensitive origin,” the author said the mystery tiara “was one of those that had found its way into Windsor hands through ‘undefined’ not to say dodgy channels — and for an undisclosed price — in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution.”
In 1918, the entire Russian Imperial Family — including Tsar Nicholas II, the lookalike cousin of England’s King George V — was murdered, and some of the jewels from the Romanovs eventually made their way to the UK.
“There was scandal attached,” Lacey said of the unknown Russian piece, continuing in the book that media speculation “about which Tsarist princess had worn the tiara and how she had been assassinated” wouldn’t have put the palace or Meghan in a positive light.
The history of the tiara Markle did wear for the wedding has sentimental ties to Queen Elizabeth and “is likely to be worth at least £2 million,” Max Stone of leading UK jeweler Steven Stone tells Page Six Style.
The bandeau-style headpiece “belonged to Queen Mary, who was married to King George V and is Queen Elizabeth’s grandmother,” Stone said, adding that “the center stone featured in the tiara is actually a brooch, comprised of 10 diamonds and which Mary of Teck received as a wedding gift from the County of Lincoln in 1893.”
The jewelry expert added that the tiara was created in 1937 to show off the sparkling brooch.
Queen Mary wore the diamond bandeau at a Christmas performance in December 1949.Getty Images
As for the drama, reporter Dan Wooton supported Lacey’s claims, writing for the Sun back in 2018 (two years before “Brothers” was published) that a source told him “Meghan had her heart set on this tiara with emeralds and Prince Harry hit the roof when they were told it was impossible for her to wear it.”
While Lacey agreed that Harry “flew into rage” when his future wife was told she couldn’t wear the tiara, it seems — as Queen Elizabeth once famously said in a statement about the Sussexes — that “recollections may vary.”
In a recording for a 2019 exhibit showing off her wedding dress and jewels, Markle herself said she “was very fortunate to be able to choose this gorgeous Art Deco-style bandeau tiara,” per Harper’s Bazaar, adding, “it was just perfect because it was so clean and simple.” Prince Harry also interjected that the piece “looked the best.”
Markle and Her Majesty shared a laugh at a June 2018 event.Getty Images
Summing up the alleged tiara tantrum, royal jewelry expert Lauren Kiehna of The Court Jeweller tells Page Six Style the public will “never really know exactly how the process of choosing the tiara played out, because so much of the information around the royal jewels is kept private.”
Contemplating the unknown green-hued piece in question, the royal blogger wrote in a 2020 article that “it’s ultimately quite possible that there’s an emerald tiara in the vaults that we don’t know about.”
At the end of the day, Kiehna tells us that “the exact contents of the late Queen’s personal collection, including the number of tiaras she owned and which stones, including emeralds and other green gems” is ultimately a mystery.
Even if it really wasn’t her first choice, royal fans can agree that Meghan’s wedding tiara was a stunning look for a spring bride.
The couple beamed as they exited the church following their May 2018 wedding.Getty Images