For more than a thousand years, the Papal Tiara was as symbol of the authority of the papacy. But, when Pope Paul VI left his tiara on the altar of Saint Peter’s during the closing of the Second Vatican Council, no Pope has worn the 3 tiered crown. However, subsequent Popes have received tiaras, but have not worn them publicly (or likely at all.)
On May 16, during an audience with Trajko Veljanoski, The Speaker of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, The Holy Father was presented with a beautifully ornate, tiara handmade by the nuns of the Rajcica monastery, with pearls from the Ohrid Lake. Up until this point, Francis had not yet received a tiara.
It is doubtful, especially given Pope Francis’ liturgical style and simple preferences, that he will reinstate the usage of the Papal Tiara, but he did receive the gift graciously, giving in return copies of his apostolic exhortations Evangelii gaudium and Amoris laetitia, and his encyclical Laudato si’, and a medallion with an olive tree of peace.
Tiaras are generally received by Popes as gifts from a group of people; for example, Pope Saint John Paul II received a medieval style tiara on behalf of the people of Hungary.
The Vatican’s websites states that “The Tiara is a headdress ending in an ogive and made of silver, and during the times of Boniface VIII two crowns were added, and from 1314 three crowns (the reason it is called the triregnum), topped by a small globe with a golden cross. Among the various interpretations, we shall mention the one that says that the three crowns represent the militant, the suffering and the triumphant Church.”