The One Piece of Jewelry Princess Diana Wasn’t Allowed to Keep After Her Divorce

Princess Diana was allowed to keep the jewelry she had amassed during her marriage—just not this piece.

Princess Diana cambridge lover's knot tiaraSteve Wood/REX/Shutterstock

Princess Diana was a head-to-toe style icon. Everything from the little black dress dubbed as Princess Diana’s “revenge dress” to the sparkling tiaras she wore dazzled spectators from across the globe. Because what is a princess without her crown? The “People’s Princess” sparkled as she donned her two signature tiara looks: the delicate Spencer Tiara, her family heirloom, or the ornate Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara, reportedly loaned to her as a wedding gift for diplomatic functions from Queen Elizabeth II. Don’t miss the rules Princess Diana changed for good.

Unfortunately, Princess Diana didn’t get to wear her beloved Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara for too long. She and Prince Charles divorced in 1996 after more than 15 years of marriage, even though they were formally separated for three of those years. The divorce settlement allowed her to keep all of the jewelry she amassed during their marriage except for one piece—the Cambridge tiara. She had to return it to the queen because the tiara was from the royal family’s private collection and by British law, she was no longer a member of the royal family. These are the other 9 things Princess Diana lost after her divorce.

As much as Diana loved the elegance and glitz of the “Cambridge” tiara, it reportedly gave her headaches from bearing the weight of all the diamonds and pearls set in silver and gold. The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara is made of 19 arches and a whopping 38 teardrop-shaped pearls—19 hang suspended from pretzel-like twists known as lover’s knot bows while the other 19 serve as removable upright pearl spikes. Queen Mary appears to be the only royal who ever wore the tiara with the upright pearl drops attached.

But if it weren’t for Queen Mary, the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara wouldn’t even exist in the British royal family. In fact, it’s actually a replica of the original tiara design worn by Queen Mary’s grandmother, Princess Augusta of Hesse, the first Duchess of Cambridge. Since Queen Mary didn’t inherit the tiara herself, she commissioned the famous court jewelers Garrard in 1913 to make her her own, which she passed down to her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II.

The last time Diana wore the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara was in 1991, according to Harpers Bazaar. It wasn’t until 2015 that Kate Middleton dusted off the tiara and wore it for the first time to the annual Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace in addition to at least two other occasions. Next, check out the 9 Princess Diana secrets that no one knew about until after her death.


  • New York Times: “Charles and Diana Agree on Divorce Terms”
  • Harpers Bazaar: “Kate Middleton Is Wearing the Lover’s Knot Tiara at the State Banquet”

Ashley Lewis
Ashley is an Assistant Editor at Reader’s Digest. She received her Master’s Degree from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in 2015. Before joining Reader’s Digest, she was a Jason Sheftell Fellow at the New York Daily News and interned at Seventeen and FOX News. When Ashley is not diligently fact-checking the magazine or writing for, she enjoys cooking (butternut squash pizza is her signature dish), binge-watching teen rom-coms on Netflix that she’s way too old for, and hiking (and falling down) mountains.