09 April 2014

Jewels for an Historic State Visit

Household Cavalry at Windsor Castle during a 2012 state visit from Kuwait [1]
This week, an Irish president travels to Britain for an official state visit between the two countries for the very first time. Given the fraught and tragic historical relationship between the two nations, it's a special and important occasion. You might have imagined that Queen Elizabeth II would bring out appropriately gorgeous jewels for the visit from President Higgins, and you'd be right!

To welcome President Higgins to Windsor Castle, HM debuted a brand new brooch! It's a lovely and delicate piece that's made in part of Waterford crystal. She received the piece as one of the gifts marking the 60th anniversary of her coronation last year. Here's how the Irish Times describes it: "She is wearing an orchid brooch on her coat, a gift from Mappin Webb and Waterford for the 60th anniversary of coronation. The flowers are hand cut Waterford crystal, the brooch contains 66 diamonds and rose gold stamens." [2]

The real glitter, though, came during the state banquet yesterday evening. The Queen wore the Vladimir Tiara with the Cambridge emerald pendant drops, a pairing that she doesn't often sport these days. She continued the emerald theme (for the visitors from the emerald isle) by donning pieces from the Delhi Durbar parure. Her necklace is the Delhi Durbar necklace, worn with the Cullinan VII pendant [3]. The emerald earrings are also from the parure. The diamond and emerald brooch she wears is a part of the Delhi Durbar stomacher. There's also a second brooch pinned to her Garter sash; it's difficult to say exactly what it is, though I think I see a version of a Celtic knot in its design.

HM wasn't the only Windsor who was decked in jewels for the event. The Duchess of Cornwall chose a familiar tiara, but one that's among my favorites: the Boucheron Honeycomb Tiara that comes from the Greville bequest. It's the tiara Camilla wears most often, but that's probably because it suits her so well.

And another surprise -- the Princess Royal wore her Aquamarine Pineflower Tiara for the banquet! This one is not seen that frequently in public, so it's always exciting to see this slightly-strange heirloom piece on an outing.

No tiara for the Irish First Lady (not really a surprise -- you rarely see them on wives of non-royal heads of state), but a lovely dress choice, and a suitably glittering necklace.

1. Cropped version of a photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
2. The Irish Times has a great live blog of the events of this visit; check it out here.
3. More on the necklace from the Royal Collection here.