13 October 2020

Joyas de Pasar: The Diamond Bracelets

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Our week-long series on the joyas de pasar, the jewels passed down from monarch to monarch in Spain, continues today with a closer look at Queen Letizia's favorite part of the set: the diamond bracelets.


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Like the rest of the joyas de pasar (which essentially means "jewels that are passed down"), the diamond bracelets originally belonged to Queen Ena of Spain. When Ena made her will in 1963, she included a codicil specifically designating the bracelets as part of a collection of jewels that would be passed from monarch to monarch. In the text, these bracelets are described as "dos pulseras iguales de brillantes" (two matching diamond bracelets). In the image above, you'll note that the bracelets are indeed matched and feature ribbon-like designs.


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When Queen Ena died in 1969, the bracelets (and the rest of the joyas) were passed to her son, the Count of Barcelona. He never became king -- it's complicated -- but his son became King Juan Carlos I in 1975. The Count of Barcelona renounced his right to the throne two years later, and only then did the joyas de pasar appear on Juan Carlos's wife, Queen Sofia. She generally wore the bracelets together, with one on each wrist. Above, she wears them with Queen Ena's Pearl and Diamond Tiara (plus the joyas de pasar diamond necklace and earrings) at the Danish royal wedding in May 2004.


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She wore the bracelets again (with one on each wrist) at the Swedish royal wedding in June 2010, pairing them this time with pearls and the Mellerio Shell Tiara.


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Queen Sofia's final appearance in the bracelets (again, worn one on each wrist) came at the Mexican state banquet in Madrid in June 2014, the final gala celebration of her husband's reign. She wore numerous pieces from the joyas collection on that occasion, including the Fleur-de-Lis Tiara and the diamond necklace and earrings.


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King Juan Carlos abdicated in favor of his son, King Felipe VI, later the same month. The joyas bracelets subsequently became part of the new monarch's collection, worn by his wife, Queen Letizia. She took her time with the jewels, not debuting them in public for several years after becoming queen. Her first appearance in the bracelets, I believe, came in February 2017, at a state banquet in Madrid in honor of the President of Argentina. She also wore the Fleur-de-Lis Tiara and the diamond earrings for the first time on this occasion.


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Since then, the bracelets have become some of Queen Letizia's most frequently worn royal jewels. She's chosen them for numerous gala occasions. In Tokyo in April 2017, she wore the bracelets stacked together on her left wrist for a banquet at the Imperial Palace, pairing them with the Spanish Floral Tiara and diamond and sapphire earrings.


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In July 2017, Queen Letizia wore the bracelets twice during the couple's state visit to the United Kingdom. She wore one of the bracelets on her left wrist with the Fleur-de-Lis Tiara and the joyas diamond earrings for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace...


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...and the following evening, she wore them stacked together on her left wrist with the Spanish Floral Tiara and diamond and sapphire statement earrings for a banquet at the Guildhall in London. (The small fleur-de-lis brooch on her sash, which appears in several of these images, comes from her own tiara.)


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She wore the bracelets stacked together on her left wrist once again (with the Spanish Floral Tiara and Queen Sofia's long pearl drop earrings) in Madrid in November 2017, when the royals hosted a banquet for the President of Israel.


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In November 2018, she used the bracelets twice during the Chinese state visit to Madrid. For the gala banquet, she wore them stacked on her right wrist, pairing them with the joyas diamond earrings and Queen Maria Cristina's Diamond Loop Tiara.


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For dinner the next day, she wore one of the bracelets on her left wrist with less formal attire (and her Bulgari aquamarine earrings).


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In February 2019, she wore one of the bracelets on her right wrist (plus the Spanish Floral Tiara and her diamond wedding earrings) during a banquet in Madrid in honor of the President of Peru.


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Though Queen Sofia tended to reserve the bracelets only for formal occasions, Queen Letizia has worn them for other evening events as well. In November 2017, she wore them with the joyas diamond earrings for a meeting with the President of Mexico in Mexico City.


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They've also made appearances at the annual Princess of Asturias Awards celebrations. In October 2017, she wore them with her blue topaz girandole earrings...


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...and in October 2018, she paired them with the joyas diamond earrings for the same event.


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The bracelets have also added a bit of dramatic bling to Queen Letizia's evening ensembles on other occasions. In November 2018, she wore them for an event at the Palau de Les Arts in Valencia, pairing them with black diamond earrings.


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She also wore them with the same earrings for a night at the opera in Madrid in September 2019.


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Most recently, we saw the bracelets on Queen Letizia in a series of formal portraits published in February 2020. In these images, she wears the bracelets stacked on her left wrist, plus the Fleur-de-Lis Tiara and the joyas diamond earrings.