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Hi.

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My Royal Tiara

My Royal Tiara

Anyone else have Royal Wedding fever like me? For the wedding of William and Kate, I stayed up all night watching every second of the festivities. I just love all this Royal Wedding excitement. Growing up with such a rich culture myself, I've always been obsessed with the details of different cultures from around the world. British culture is no exception, especially when it comes to the Monarchy. 

As the Royal Wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry quickly approaches this Saturday, May 19th and the Miss USA competition right after on Monday, May 21st, I couldn't help but wonder:

A. How in the world am I going to stay up to watch all the Royal Wedding coverage (coverage is scheduled to begin at 4am here in Los Angeles) when I have a flight to catch the next day?! I may not sleep.

B. Will Meghan be wearing a crown on her big day? I sure hope so! Keep reading to see which Windsor family tiara is my favorite for the bride-to-be!

C. Finally, I thought--how exceptionally cool is it that I have a royal tiara too?! My Miss USA sisters and I have joked over the years that since America doesn't have a Royal Family, Miss USA is like American Royalty : )

My Miss USA Mikimoto Tiara

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As Meghan Markle prepares to wear a royal tiara on her wedding day, presumably one borrowed from the Queen's collection, I began to think about my beautiful family heirloom. I was the first Miss USA to wear the Mikimoto Miss USA crown and matching tiara after winning the competition in 2003. Although there was only one crown made, Mikimoto made a smaller version, the tiara, which was mine to keep! As you can see by the photos, it's stunning and something that I'm so proud to have in my family.

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The crown was designed by Japanese artisan Tomohiro Yamaji and was created out of the sponsorship of the Mikimoto Pearl company in 2002. Along with Miss USA 2002 and a few other 2003 state titleholders, I was lucky enough to attend the unveiling of the new crown at Mikimoto's 5th Ave store in New York City. It was quite an exciting day and little did I know that I would be the lucky one to wear it just a few short month later.

The Miss USA Mikimoto Crown

The crown has a traditional Asian design ascribed to the seven auspicious feathers of the pheonix (the tiara has five) and features over 450 brilliant white diamonds and naturally white South Sea and Akoya pearls. It's stunning!

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My Crowning Moment

The crown represents so much for me.

As Miss USA, I wore it to galas and other official appearances. It was quite the year that truly helped my career in entertainment flourish. 14 years later, I'm still working as a host (have you checked out the new show I'm hosting for Nasdaq, Cultural Capital, yet?!), an actress, and also run a pageant consulting company with my Miss USA sister, Shandi Finnessey, called Pageantology.

Another thing I realized that Meghan Markle and I will have in common? My wedding took place at my in-laws beautiful yard and gardens where several family cats are buried while Meghan's wedding is taking place at St. Georges Chapel at Windsor Castle where the tombs of 10 monarchs lie, including Henry VIII and his third wife, Jane Seymour. Ok, so not exactly the same thing but still...LOL!

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My Miss USA Tiara features South Sea & Akoya pearls that are set in platinum.

All kidding aside, the stunning Windsor Castle happens to be largest and oldest occupied castle in the world. It's been the home of 39 monarchs including Queen Elizabeth who currently spends most of her weekends there. It was founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century.

Back to sparkly jewels! I just love the story behind the these royal tiaras:

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Fringe Tiara

In 1936, Queen Mary gave her fringe tiara to Queen Elizabeth, who wore it regularly during George VI's reign. Queen Elizabeth loaned the tiara to her daughter, Princess Elizabeth (now, of course, Queen Elizabeth II), to wear when she married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten on November 20, 1947.

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Spencer Tiara

The stunning tiara worn by Princess Diana on her wedding day to Prince Charles had been in the Spencer family for almost a century at the time. It was worn by Diana's mother and sisters on their wedding days as well. It still belongs to the Spencer family and they've offered it to Meghan to wear on her wedding day.

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Cartier Halo Tiara

Kate wore the Cartier Halo Tiara (also called the Cartier Scroll Tiara) for her wedding to Prince William in 2011. It was loaned to the Duchess by Queen Elizabeth. The tiara was purchased from Cartier by Elizabeth's father, King George VI, for his wife, the Queen Mother, as an anniversary gift in 1936. The Queen Mother then gave it to Elizabeth on her 18th birthday. 

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Lovers Knot Tiara

This is my favorite and the one I'm hoping Meghan wears on her big day. It is believed to have been Princess Diana's favorite crown as she wore it often and is the one that Kate has been seen wearing the most. I love that it's called "lovers knot!" The symbolism of Meghan and Harry's love being tied into a strong, beautiful knot is utterly romantic.

Princess Diana Wearing the Lover's Knot Tiara

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What do you think? Should Meghan wear the Lover's Knot Tiara or should she take up the Spencer family's offer and wear the Spencer Tiara? Comment below and let me know your thoughts!

Happy Royal Wedding watching!

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Lemon Elderflower Cake

Lemon Elderflower Cake

A Tribute To My Mom

A Tribute To My Mom