03 June 2019

The Queen's American State Visit Tiaras

Ricardo Thomas/Ford Presidential Library/NARA/Wikimedia Commons

Today, the Queen welcomes the American President and First Lady for the eighth formal British-US state visit of her lengthy reign. Ahead of this evening's state banquet, here's a look at the tiaras she has worn for state dinners over the years.




Everett Collection/Alamy

In October 1957, the Queen made her first state visit to the United States. (She'd visited previously, including significant visits during her father's reign, but this was the first official state visit of her own reign.) Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower hosted a state dinner at the White House in her honor on October 17. For the dinner, the Queen wore the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara with an unusual combination of jewels, including the Gloucester Pendant Earrings and Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Necklace. The Associated Press reported that Elizabeth wore Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik for the occasion, which makes me wonder if there was a last-minute jewel switch, after the palace had already provided notes to the press. (Alexandra's tiara was indeed in her luggage -- she wore it in Canada during an earlier leg of the same overseas trip.)


NARA/Wikimedia Commons

The Queen really did wear Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik at the next US-UK state dinner, which took place in July 1976 in Washington. Gerald and Betty Ford hosted the Queen for dinner at the White House on July 7, and she wore the tiara with the Greville Chandelier Earrings and her own Diamond Festoon Necklace. (This visit was coordinated with the celebration of the US Bicentennial, and the Queen gave Betty Ford a fascinating brooch to mark the occasion. Learn more about it here!)


Department of Defense/Wikimedia Commons

In 1983, the Queen made a state visit to another part of the US: California. Ronald and Nancy Reagan hosted a state dinner for her on March 3 at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. For the occasion, the Queen wore the pearl setting of the Vladimir Tiara, as well as two jewels she'd worn in America previously: the Gloucester Pendant Earrings and Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Necklace.


Bush Presidential Library/NARA/Wikimedia Commons

Almost a decade later, in 1991, the Queen made her way back to Washington for a state visit. George H.W. and Barbara Bush hosted a state dinner for her on May 14 at the White House. For the occasion, the Queen selected a sentimental set of jewelry: the King George VI Sapphire Suite. She paired the set with the Belgian Sapphire Tiara.


JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images

The Queen hosted an American president in London for an official state visit for the first time in November 2003. A state banquet was given at Buckingham Palace in honor of George W. and Laura Bush on November 19. The Queen wore Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik with Queen Mary's Diamond Drop Earrings, her Modern Diamond Fringe Necklace, and her Diamond Wedding Gift Bracelet.


Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Queen's most recent state visit to the United States happened in May 2007. On May 7, she was feted at a state dinner at the White House, hosted by George W. and Laura Bush. She wore the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara with Queen Mary's Diamond Drop Earrings, her own Diamond Festoon Necklace, and Queen Mary's Lover's Knot Brooch for the dinner.


AFP/Getty Images

The most recent UK-US state visit happened in May 2011, when Barack and Michelle Obama traveled to London. She hosted a state banquet in their honor at Buckingham Palace on May 24. She wore the pearl setting of the Vladimir Tiara with Queen Victoria's Pearl Drop Earrings and Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Necklace for the occasion, as well as her Pearl Evening Watch and Queen Mary's Five-Stranded Pearl Bracelet. You'll also spot an important brooch securing her sash: the Teck Emperor of Austria Brooch.


Please note: As always, this website is not a place for discussion of contemporary American politics. Please respect my wishes and restrict your comments to the jewels pictured in this post.