Since the abdication in Spain, we've been talking a lot here about the jewels that the new Queen Letizia will be able to wear at major events now that she's the nation's queen consort. Today, let's have a look back at the jewelry she's worn at gala and white-tie events since becoming a member of the Spanish royal family in 2004. Enjoy this first post, which covers Letizia's first five years of gala jewels, and then head back later today for a second post covering her more recent gala jewels!
Letizia's first major gala event as a royal-to-be took place shortly before her own wedding. She attended the wedding celebrations for Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark in 2004 just a week before she married Prince Felipe in Madrid. At the gala theater performance the night before the wedding, she was one of the only ladies who did not wear a tiara. You don't have to be a royal wife to be eligible to wear a tiara; both Crown Princess Mary and Queen Maxima, for example, wore tiaras before their weddings. But for this event, Letizia wore only a pair of delicate diamond chandelier earrings (here's a better view of them from a different occasion) and a bracelet.
Letizia also went sans tiara at the wedding the next afternoon. Her red dress, made by Lorenzo Caprile, is one of her most memorable gowns, including the sparkling clips on either side of the neckline. The ruby and diamond earrings, borrowed from Queen Sofia's collection, are absolute stand-outs here as well.
Next up for Letizia was her own wedding. The night before, a gala dinner was held at El Pardo for the couple, and Letizia (pictured here with her parents), wore a special set of jewelry. The earrings and necklace shown here are set with pearls and sapphires. The jewels once belonged to the late Countess of Barcelona, Prince Felipe's grandmother. The pearl and sapphire set was one of Letizia's engagement gifts (along with her engagement ring, which she no longer wears because of its connection to the the Iñaki scandal).
For her wedding, Letizia wore a combination of heirloom and new jewels. She wore the Prussian tiara with her veil, an century-old sparkler made by Koch for Queen Sofia's grandmother, Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia. Queen Sofia wore the same tiara on her wedding day in 1962. Letizia's diamond and platinum earrings were a gift from King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. Like many Spaniards, she wears her wedding ring on her right hand.
After returning from her honeymoon, the new Princess of Asturias attended her first state banquet, held during a state visit from the president of Peru. She wore the Prussian tiara again, as well as her diamond wedding earrings. She's also wearing the sash and the star of the Order of the Sun of Peru.
Another appearance for Letizia's wedding earrings, this time at the wedding of Infanta Pilar's son, Beltran Gómez-Acebo y de Borbón.
The Prussian tiara got a third outing at the banquet during the state visit of the president of the Czech Republic, as did the diamond wedding earrings. Because Letizia does not have a Czech order, she's wearing the sash and star of her highest Spanish order: the Order of Charles III.
Letizia appeared in her second tiara during a state visit from the Latvian president a month later. She's wearing her wedding earrings with the diamond floral tiara, which was made by J.P. Collins in 1879. The princess is also wearing an intriguing modern bracelet, plus the sash and star of her Latvian order, the Order of the Three Stars.
Back to the Prussian tiara for a state banquet for the president of Hungary, but paired with an intricate diamond necklace and earrings. This diamond suite also includes a bracelet; there's been some unconfirmed speculation that the suite was a gift from Middle Eastern royals. She's also wearing the star and sash of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of King Juan Carlos's accession to the Spanish throne, Letizia again wore her diamond chandelier earrings, seen earlier at the pre-wedding gala in Copenhagen.
Letizia's first state visit after the birth of Infanta Leonor was the one that welcomed Vladimir Putin and the Russians to Spain. She paired the floral tiara with a demi-parure of diamond and emerald jewelry from Queen Sofia's collection. The emerald jewels were an anniversary gift to Queen Sofia from King Juan Carlos. At the time of this state visit, French magazine Point de Vue speculated that perhaps Sofia had given the jewels to Letizia as a present after Leonor's birth, but I don't think that has ever been substantiated. Letizia's wearing the Order of Charles III here as well.
Letizia again borrowed pieces from Queen Sofia's ruby set (which apparently once belonged to the Countess of Barcelona) for the state banquet for the Slovakian president, which was held a few months after the birth of Infanta Sofia. Letizia previously wore pieces from this ruby set at the Danish royal wedding in 2004 (see above). She's also borrowed the Prussian tiara again, and she's wearing the Order of Charles III.
Diamond earrings (which appear to be these earrings, owned by Queen Sofia) and a diamond necklace (also borrowed from Sofia) were Letizia's choice for a black-tie gala event for the opening of an extension at the Prado museum.
At a state banquet for the president of Romania, Letizia repeated the same jewels she'd worn at the Russian state banquet in 2006: the floral tiara with Queen Sofia's diamond and emerald earrings and necklace. She's also wearing the sash and star of a Romanian order: the Order of Faithful Service.
Letizia appeared for the first time in a third tiara, the Mellerio Shell Tiara, made in 1867, at a dinner for the president of the Philippines. She's also wearing a pair of earrings featuring diamonds and Australian pearls set in white gold. Her red sash and colorful star are from her Filipino order, the Order of the Golden Heart.
A gala dinner to mark the 90th anniversary of the American Chamber of Commerce in Spain was an opportunity for Letizia to bring out her modern diamond earrings from Cartier. According to Hola, her gold bracelets were presents from Queen Sofia to mark the birth of Letizia's daughters; one has charms that spell out Leonor's name, while the other spells out Sofia's. I've also read that Letizia eventually expanded the collection of bracelets to include one for her niece, Carla.
The Spanish royals celebrated Juan Carlos's seventieth birthday with a gala dinner, where Letizia wore a striking pair of earrings with large cross pendants. The diamond bracelet is apparently by Cartier.
Hoop earrings and her usual bracelets (gold name bracelets, diamond Cartier bracelet) were Letizia's accessories at an anniversary event for Actualidad Economica in Madrid.
Letizia wore her wedding jewels again -- the Prussian tiara and her diamond wedding earrings -- for a state banquet for the Mexican president, along with the Cartier diamond bracelet and the golden bracelets with her daughters' names. Her sash and star are from her Mexican order, the Order of the Aztec Eagle.
Dramatic diamond hoop earrings, the Cartier bracelet, and her Bulgari diamond ring (on the left hand) helped Letizia glitter at the Mingote Awards in Madrid.
At a rather casual dinner for the Saudi king (where Juan Carlos and Felipe wore business attire, suits and ties), Letizia wore her wedding earrings, plus her gold and Cartier diamond bracelets.
Another more casual gala dinner, this time for the Costa Rican president, saw Letizia bring out a pair of diamond and white/yellow gold earrings by Yanes, which feature butterfly and circle designs. She's also wearing the golden name bracelets and Perodri's "Salvaje" bracelet, which is made of yellow/white gold and diamonds.
At a state dinner for the president of Argentina, Letizia wore two familiar pieces, the Prussian tiara and Queen Sofia's diamond and emerald earrings. She's also wearing the sash and star of an Argentine order, the Order of the Liberator General San Martin.
The Prussian tiara was Letizia's choice yet again at the banquet for the president of India, but she added a second pair of diamond chandelier earrings (not the small ones worn pre-engagement) to the look. As she has no Indian order, she's wearing the sash and star of the Order of Charles III.
At yet another state banquet held not even a week later, Letizia recycled the same jewels -- the Prussian tiara and the chandelier earrings made another appearance. She's also wearing her usual diamond Cartier bracelet. There was one new addition, however: the small diamond and white gold fleur-de-lys brooch by Ansorena. This is said to be the central element of a tiara we've never seen, but that reportedly is in Letizia's collection. She has used the brooch to secure the sash of her French order, the National Order of Merit.
The Spaniards held another more casual gala dinner for the president of the Dominican Republic. Letizia wore her Cartier diamond bracelet, plus yet another pair of chandelier earrings. This set appears to include another pale stone -- perhaps a topaz or quartz?
At this gala dinner, held for the president of Bolivia, Letizia wore almost no jewelry -- only the chandelier earrings she'd previously worn for the Indian and French state visits.
Minimalism was the name of the game for Letizia's jewels at the state visit from the president of Lebanon. Letizia wore no bracelets and no necklace -- only simple diamond stud earrings and the Prussian tiara. Her sash and star are from Lebanon's Order of Merit.
One more gala event from the first five years of Letizia's life as a royal. She went super minimal again at the state banquet for the Vietnamese president, wearing only the Prussian tiara, her Cartier bracelet, and the sash and star of the Order of Charles III. Her hair hides her earrings, but I believe she's wearing one of her pairs of diamond chandelier earrings.
Stay tuned later today for a second post on Letizia's gala jewels!