The Real Reason Princess Anne Was Able To Wear A Tiara Before Her Wedding Day

Protocol and tradition are part of being royal, including when and how you're allowed to wear a tiara. Like with everything else, too, the protocol for tiara-wearing is strict and exception-heavy. 

For instance, when a tiara is "loaned" out, Marie Claire explains, the piece isn't being borrowed for just one occasion. The person wearing the borrowed tiara keeps it for their lifetime. Whether or not they wear it is up to them. The Duchess of Cambridge, for instance, currently has three tiaras borrowed from the Queen, meaning if we see the Cartier Scroll, Cambridge Lover's Knot, or Lotus Flower tiaras anytime soon, Kate will be the one wearing them. 

When a tiara is loaned out, it's for a specific reason. For example, the Queen gave Kate Middleton the Cambridge Lover's Knot to borrow. This particular tiara's design had was based on of a tiara Princess Augusta of Hesse had owned, who had also been the Duchess of Cambridge. The Queen typically will pick what pieces are being loaned out, though sometimes she has been known to present a few pieces the royal can choose from. 

Other rules about tiara-wearing are more about presentation than tradition. For instance, royals don't wear tiaras before 5 p.m. unless it's a royal wedding. Even then, there are also specific occasions tiaras are appropriate for, like state visits, royal dinners, and coronations. When you're wearing a tiara, you also have to do it in a way where the band is hidden.

Did Princess Anne go against protocol when she wore a tiara before she was married?

Princesses also aren't seen wearing tiaras before they're married. It wasn't surprising not to see Kate Middleton or Meghan Markle sporting sparkle before they became official royals. Even Princess Eugene, a royal by blood, was never seen in public in a tiara before her wedding day. Unofficially, tiaras also aren't worn but royals until they turn eighteen. According to Marie Claire, tiaras are often a gift for the woman's eighteenth birthday.

So did Princess Anne really break protocol when she wore tiaras before she got married?

Yes and no. Protocol about how and when a tiara is worn has changed over the years. Marie Claire pointed out how tiaras weren't worn before the royal turned eighteen, with a traditional eighteenth birthday gift being a tiara. Princess Anne was first seen publicly in a tiara when she was seventeen in an official royal portrait, Hello Magazine reports. Trendy as her aunt Margaret, Princess Anne was also often seen at movie premieres, charity events, and balls looking dazzling. However, the tiaras were worn only for white tie events, where all women wore tiaras if available.

Additionally, she had the Queen's blessing. Since the Queen would've loaned Anne her tiaras, no royal protocol would've been broken. Since they're the Queen's to loan to whom she wishes, it's safe to say she gets the final say in when the tiara can start to be worn too.