Kate Middleton Effortlessly Revived A Vintage 1930s Tiara With This Modern Look

In late November 2023, King Charles welcomed the President of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol, and First Lady Kim Keon Hee, to Buckingham Palace for a State Banquet. Of course, prominent senior working members of the royal family were also in attendance, including Catherine, Princess of Wales. The reason for the occasion, a move by King Charles to strengthen the two countries' ties as they discuss a new trade agreement, was much less glamourous than Kate's fashion moment. 

The royal was outfitted with her customary blue and red sash, formally identifying the position bestowed upon her by the late queen, the Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order. White opera gloves, dazzling diamond drop earrings, and the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II , a yellow bow with a small portrait of the queen, completed her ensemble. However, none of those were considered the pièce de résistance. Similarly, Kate Middleton's floor-length white gown with an elegantly embellished cape was nothing novel — it was her headwear choice that turned heads. 

The Princess of Wales arrived wearing the Strathmore Rose tiara. Not only was it new for Kate but much of the public, too, as this diadem had been tucked away in the royal vault for almost a century: the Strathmore Rose Tiara.

It's a versatile and cherished headtopper

When the Strathmore Rose Tiara was first given to the Queen Mother in 1923 in honor of her wedding, the aristocratic lady was known as Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon and wasn't even in line to become Queen Consort. However, her father, the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, wasn't about to have his daughter head to the altar without a tiara. She was marrying royalty (the second son of King George V, the Duke of York) after all. In line with the flapper style of the era, the Queen Mother opted to place the floral topper across her forehead, much like a headband. 

The Queen Mother stepped out in the diadem on occasion throughout the '20s, but it is thought to have been last seen publicly in the '30s. Queen Elizabeth II inherited the tiara, which features diamond-encrusted flowers and leaves, after her mother's death in 2002 but chose never to wear it to any royal events. So, upon reviving the vintage piece, Kate Middleton thought it was time for a modern twist.

She chose to wear it upright, on top of her head, as is common with her other toppers. According to The Court Jeweller, not only was the headpiece made to be versatile in its positioning, but the exquisite diamond flowers can be worn as brooches or replaced with sapphires. Kate looked gorgeous with the tiara in its simplest and possibly most stunning form, proving that this fashionable piece was ready for a comeback.

Kate may be fond of florals

Kate Middleton has only worn four different tiaras publicly, the latest being the Strathmore Rose Tiara. But she does seem fond of floral headtoppers. According to Vogue, the Strathmore Rose Tiara designer created it to appear as "a garland of wild roses." Similarly, Kate chose another flower-themed motif with the Lotus Flower Tiara in December 2013.

The fronds under each diamond arc resemble an Egyptian lotus flower, more commonly known as a papyrus leaf. The Lotus Flower Tiara also shares other similarities with the Strathmore Rose Tiara. It also can be worn low across the wearer's forehead, as the Queen Mother did after receiving it as a wedding present in 1923. However, it wasn't hidden away as long as Kate's latest accessory. The Lotus Flower Tiara was worn by Princess Margaret in the '60s and Serena Stanhope in 1993 when she married Margaret's son, Viscount Linley.

Though Kate's coronation headpiece wasn't technically a tiara, it still featured a nature-inspired design. A sort of extremely fancy flower crown, it was painstakingly made with crystals and silver thread. A knowledgeable royal source, Lauren Kiehna, told PEOPLE, "Kate has always signaled that she'd like to emulate the Queen Mother's royal role, and wearing her jewels is an important symbol of that continuity." As both the Strathmore Rose Tiara and the Lotus Flower Tiara were both part of the Queen Mother's collection, it's possible Kate's passion for floral headpieces is in homage to her royal role model.