29 April 2014

Royal Jewel Rewind: The Cambridge Wedding (2011)

Welcome to a brand-new feature here at The Court Jeweller: the Royal Jewel Rewind, in which we take a look back at major bejeweled royal events from the past. Today, we're helping the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge celebrate their third wedding anniversary with a look back at the baubles and bling that showed up at Westminster Abbey on their wedding day.

Kate Middleton arrived at the Abbey wearing two pieces of significant jewelry: a tiara and a pair of earrings. The tiara was the Cartier Halo Tiara, which royal watchers had until that morning called the "scroll" tiara. The sparkler was a nod to the Queen Mum, after whom Kate has carefully patterned her royal role in the years since.


Made by Cartier, the tiara was a gift from the Duke of York (later King George VI) to his wife in 1936. The Queen Mum gave the tiara to her elder daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth II, on her eighteenth birthday. Elizabeth later loaned it to her sister, Princess Margaret, and her daughter, Princess Anne. The tiara had gone unworn in public for years before it made a surprise appearance on April 29, 2011.

If the tiara was Kate's "something borrowed," her wedding earrings, which were a gift from her parents, certainly counted as her "something new." Designed by Robinson Pelham to echo the scrolling diamonds of the Cartier tiara, the earrings also featured a pendant with a small diamond acorn in its center. The acorn may seem like a strange motif for a bride to wear, but this symbol was a tribute to her own family.

A coat of arms was granted to the Middletons in the weeks before the wedding, and it featured three acorns, one for each of their three children. The earrings, then, marry design elements from both the Windsors and the Middletons in one small, elegant diamond package. (Kate also added another new piece of jewelry to her collection on the day: a slim wedding band made out of Welsh gold.)

For Queen Elizabeth II, the day must have been joyful not only because it represented the happiness of her grandson but also because it helped to ensure the continuation of her monarchy. She wore a large diamond brooch that represented the generations of the monarchy that had come before. The Lover's Knot Brooch, made of diamonds, was inherited by the Queen from her grandmother, Queen Mary, in 1953. Mary bought it from Garrard in 1932, though it was made during the previous century. And this wasn't the only major royal wedding to which Elizabeth wore the brooch; she also affixed it to her bright blue gown at Princess Margaret's wedding in 1960.

The bride's mother -- one of the most elegantly dressed women at the wedding, if you ask me -- added a silver pendant necklace to her outfit.

The Duchess of Cornwall wore one of the most voluminous hats to the wedding, but she kept her jewelry simple. The most dazzling pieces she wore were the pair of diamond brooches in the shape of four-leaf clovers.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, who (like many of the royal guests) is both a member of the family and a member of another royal house, wore one of her most sentimental pieces of jewelry on the day: the diamond daisy brooch given to her by her mother, the late Queen Ingrid. The brooch is also a remembrance of Margrethe's British-born grandmother -- see here for more on the history of the piece.

Queen Mathilde of the Belgians, then the Duchess of Brabant, wore a deep turquoise satin outfit and accessorized it with diamond jewelry. Her necklace in particular is of interest: it's her laurel wreath tiara, which was one of her wedding gifts, taken off its frame.

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, then still a princess, also went for major bling. Along with a diamond necklace and earrings, she wore a number of the family's diamond stars attached to her hat. It was a small tribute to her own royal wedding, where she wore diamond stars on her tiara.

The Spanish royals were three strong at the Abbey. While Queen Sofia wore a coordinated set of jewelry, and, in her usual way, Princess Letizia kept her accessories minimal, it was actually Prince Felipe who had the most bling pinned to his uniform. Clockwise from the top, I believe we've got the stars of the Royal Victorian Order, the Order of Aeronautical Merit, the Order of Charles III, and the Order of Naval Merit. He's also wearing the sash of the Royal Victorian Order and (I think) the Order of the Golden Fleece around his neck.

The Norwegian royals are some of the closest foreign cousins of the Windsors, with both families descending from King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. On the day, Queen Sonja wore a really interesting set of jewelry made from small pearls.

Princess Ameerah of Saudi Arabia, one of the most gorgeous royal ladies around, added large stud earrings to her pink lace dress and coordinating hat.

Lalla Salma of Morocco wore gold jewelry that perfectly complimented her beautifully embroidered kaftan gown.

Princess Marie Chantal's hat was the star of the show, but she accented it with sparkling earrings.

Representing Sweden, Crown Princess Victoria chose silver tones for her jewelry, which included a brooch studded with a large pearl.

Pearls were also the jewel of choice for Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg...

...and for Princess Charlene of Monaco, who was still a few months away from her own wedding.

The Kents also pulled out the pearls from their jewelry boxes. It's no surprise that so many royal ladies went in that direction; pearls are especially appropriate for a daytime wedding.

Princess Anne got the pearl memo, too.

Sophie Wessex eschewed a necklace at all, wearing only small earrings and her wedding/engagement ring set.

The junior members of the Windsor clan mostly kept their jewels limited to earrings, too. Autumn and Lady Fred both chose pearls...

...and Lady Gabriella went for a bit more sparkle...

...while Princess Eugenie chose a pair of earrings with pendant drops, although really, her outfit needed no extra accessories at all. (Same with her big sister's famous ensemble, of course.)

Which look from the 2011 royal wedding was your favorite? And if you could attend a royal wedding at Westminster Abbey, how would you accessorize?