This week, the people of Belgium celebrate their country’s National Day, and we’re joining in the festivities with a week’s worth of glittering jewels worn by the ladies of the Belgian royal family. First up: a sparkling state visit appearance from Queen Fabiola, nearly 60 years ago!
King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola made a state visit to the United Kingdom in May 1963. The program included a trio of glittering gala events: a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, a concert at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, and a dinner at the Belgian Embassy. For that third event, Queen Fabiola sparkled in jewels set with luminous aquamarines.
The spotlight royal jewel of the ensemble was the Spanish Wedding Gift Tiara, which had been presented to the Spanish-born Fabiola by the then-leader of Spain, Generalissimo Franco, and his wife, Carmen. The versatile tiara could be worn in multiple settings, including the wreath format worn by Fabiola for the embassy dinner. The diamond tiara could also be worn with three different sets of accent gemstones. For this occasion, Fabiola wore the aquamarine version of the tiara. She also wore her aquamarine drop earrings and a fantastic diamond necklace with an enormous aquamarine pendant.
Her gown for the dinner picked up on the tiara’s leafy theme, with delicate floral embroidery in shades of pink, green, and blue. You can see the colors of the gown in this photo, though note that the image is mirrored. (Baudouin’s Garter sash is the biggest tell; it’s the wrong way around.)
Picking up on the pink colors from her gown, Fabiola also wore a bracelet set with diamonds and rubies. It’s an interesting combination with the rest of the diamond and aquamarine jewels. Today, the diamond and ruby bracelet is worn by Queen Mathilde of the Belgians.