16 August 2015

Sundays With the Queen: The King Khalid Necklace

As we slowly work our way through the Queen's massive jewel collection, it's time to talk about one of my favorite pieces from her jewelry box: the King Khalid Necklace.

Like another piece we've previously discussed, the King Faisal Necklace, this one was also a gift from a Saudi king. As the name suggests, the giver was King Khalid, who reigned from Faisal's death in 1975 to his own death in 1982. Khalid gave the necklace to the Queen in 1979, when she made a state visit to Saudi Arabia. In February 1982, the Queen wore the Khalid necklace to the premiere of the film Absence of Malice, though the necklace was slightly obscured by a rather '80s bow at the neckline of her dress.

As is often the case with Saudi jewels of this era, the necklace was designed by Harry Winston. (The Saudi kings became important Winston clients starting in the 1960s.) In The Queen's Diamonds, Hugh Roberts dates the piece's creation to around 1977-78. Made of diamonds set in platinum, the fringe necklace features 20 pear-shaped diamond pendants radiating out from the central band of diamonds. On more than one occasion, the Queen has paired the necklace with the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara and her modern diamond chandelier earrings.

Many of you will recognize the Khalid necklace because it was worn several times in the early 1980s by Princess Diana. In March 1982, Diana borrowed the necklace for an engagement at the Barbican, pairing it with a red maternity gown, as she was pregnant with Prince William.

In recent years, the Queen has increasingly turned to her modern diamond fringe necklace for white tie-events, but the Khalid necklace still makes fairly regular appearances. And I'm glad -- it's so beautiful, and it's a wonderful piece of royal jewelry that will look lovely on Windsor women for generations to come.