Our Sparkling Spotlight on the jewels of the Duchess of Gloucester continues today with a look at her ensemble of diamonds and pink topazes from an important diplomatic banquet.
Birgitte arrived in an elegant teal gown with silver accessories for a banquet in honor of President Prathibha Patil of India at the Guildhall in London on October 27, 2009. The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester often represent the Queen at these Guildhall dinners, which are customarily held on the second evening of a state visit to the United Kingdom.
With her gala gown, the Duchess wore diamond and pink topaz jewelry inherited from her mother-in-law, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. She also wore several important diplomatic accessories, including the Queen’s Royal Family Order (on its distinctive yellow ribbon) and the sash and star of the Royal Victorian Order, which is also given by the Queen in recognition of personal services to the monarch.
For the gala, Birgitta wore Queen Mary’s Honeysuckle Tiara. The diamond diadem was made for Queen Mary in 1914, and it can be worn with a variety of interchangeable center stones and elements. This particular centerpiece, which features a pink gemstone set in an elaborate diamond frame, is usually identified as either a pink topaz or a kunzite. Queen Mary gave the tiara to Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester as a wedding present in 1935, and she later passed the tiara along to Birgitte.
The necklace worn by Birgitte is also a Gloucester heirloom. The pink gem and diamond center of the necklace was originally a brooch, also from Queen Mary’s collection. Princess Alice had the piece reset as part of the current necklace. Birgitte’s classic diamond earrings and the large diamond brooch used to secure her order sash also come from Princess Alice’s collection.
The Duchess also wore two more pink jewelry pieces on this occasion. On her right wrist, she wore a gold bangle set with a large pink gemstone (topaz or kunzite) bordered in diamonds. And at the center of her bodice, she pinned a diamond and pink gemstone brooch with a large pendant. Like the tiara and the necklace, the brooch also came to Birgitte via Princess Alice, who received it from Queen Mary.