Ten years ago today, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom arrived at a state dinner held during a momentous diplomatic occasion: the first visit of a reigning British monarch to Ireland in a century. Here’s a closer look at the jewels (and the symbol-packed dress!) that the Queen wore for the dinner at Dublin Castle.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were hosted for dinner at St. Patrick’s Hall in Dublin Castle by Irish President Mary McAleese and her husband, Martin. The visit between these heads of state was a remarkable one, given the centuries of conflict between the two nations. In the speech she delivered during the dinner, the Queen made several gestures of reconciliation, including delivering a small part of her remarks in Irish and expressing “deep sympathy” for those who have suffered because of the colonial conflict.
The Queen’s gown for the dinner was also designed as a nod to her Irish hosts. The top of her dress was adorned with silk shamrocks. Instead of a brooch, the dress featured its own sparkling embellishment: a Celtic harp made of crystals.
With the gown, the Queen wore the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, so named because young women from Ireland (as well as England, Scotland, and Wales) contributed small sums toward its purchase as a wedding gift for Queen Mary in 1893. The Diamond Floret Earrings that the Queen wore for the dinner also belonged to Queen Mary.
The Queen added some newer pieces of jewelry to her ensemble, too, including her modern diamond fringe necklace and her three-row diamond bracelet, with its distinctive bejeweled twist design.
On her left wrist, the Queen wore one of her sparkling evening watches. This one’s band features diamond dots hugged by two parallel rows of diamonds. The face of the watch is also ringed in diamonds.
When the Queen removed her evening gloves, we were also able to see multiple rings on her left hand. These included her wedding and engagement rings, as well as a ring that I believe is Queen Mary’s Town of Windsor Ring, another royal wedding gift that dates to 1893. She also wore a pair of rings on her right hand; you can see them in a photograph in this post.