30 March 2021

95 Years, 95 Jewels: Part 4 (November 1947)

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King George VI and Queen Elizabeth weren't the only royals who gave Princess Elizabeth lavish wedding gifts in November 1947! Our survey continues with a look at some of the bejeweled gifts offered to the future queen by her grandmother, Queen Mary—all of which came from Mary's own wedding gift collection.

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The grandest wedding gift that Princess Elizabeth received from her grandmother was this diamond, silver, and gold diadem. Made in 1893, it was a wedding gift to Queen Mary from a committee of British women (the "Girls of Great Britain and Ireland"). Mary had previously had the tiara and its bandeau base separated, and she gifted the two pieces separately to Elizabeth. (She later had them reunited.) The Queen has acquired numerous other tiaras during her ninety years, but this one has always remained a favorite, and today it's easily her most-worn tiara.

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17. Queen Mary's Bangles

These traditional Indian bangle bracelets were Queen Mary's wedding gift from the Bombay Presidency in 1893. Made of diamonds set in gold and silver, they are described by Hugh Roberts as "traditional Indian ornaments, usually worn one on each wrist to signify matrimony." Elizabeth wore them often in the years after her wedding, sometimes stacking them together on one wrist. She wore them this way in the photograph above, taken in 1956 during a ball in Stockholm.

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This large, weighty bow brooch was made of diamonds, gold, and silver by Carrington in 1893. It was also one of Queen Mary's wedding presents, a gift from the county of Dorset. The pieces is one of the largest of the diamond bow brooches in Elizabeth's current collection, and she's worn it regularly since her wedding. Above, she wears the brooch for the wedding of Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott at Westminster Abbey in July 1951.


19. The Rose of York Bracelet

This distinctive bracelet, featuring a rose made of diamonds and rubies, was Queen Mary's wedding present from the people of Cornwall. (You'll sometimes see it called the County of Cornwall Bracelet for this reason.) The central rose element on the bracelet is detachable, able to be worn as a brooch or a pendant. The piece is one of the most statement-making bracelets in the royal collection, and the Queen still wears it occasionally today.

20. Queen Mary's Diamond Stomacher

This intricate, romantic diamond stomacher can be divided into three, with the separate sections able to be worn as brooches. Queen Mary commissioned it in 1920, using diamonds sourced from two of her dismantled wedding presents (the Kapurthala Stomacher and the Swansea Crescent Brooch). Elizabeth has worn the entire piece on occasion (notably at a dinner party in 2002 to celebrate her Golden Jubilee), but she has more often worn parts of the piece separately as brooches. In the moving image above, from the 1947 display of Princess Elizabeth's wedding gifts, you'll see the stomacher displayed beside several other pieces also featured in this post.

Another pair of sparkling earrings is coming your way next!