Though her evening gowns today are largely made in shades of white, ivory, silver, and gold, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom has worn a rainbow’s worth of colors for gala occasions over the course of her reign. This week, we’ll be looking at some of her colorful gowns and the jewels accompanying them, beginning with this appearance in Prague in 1996.
In March 1996, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh made state visits to Poland and the Czech Republic. During the second day of their stay in the Czech Republic, they attended a concert of English baroque music at the Rudolfinum in Prague with Czech President Václav Havel.
For the concert, the Queen wore an evening gown in a bright shade of red with a ribbon stripe detail and ruffled cuffs. She accessorized with a silver handbag and shoes, plus major diamonds from her collection. She arrived wearing an ivory-colored wrap, but she set that aside for the concert.
The Queen chose her favorite tiara, the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, for the concert. The piece is reportedly one of the lightest and most comfortable tiaras in her collection. It was a wedding gift to Queen Mary in 1893 by a group of young women from Britain and Ireland, who all donated small sums toward the purchase of the present. The Queen has had the tiara in her jewelry box since 1947, when Queen Mary gave it to her as a wedding gift.
She paired the tiara with a newer set of diamond jewels. This necklace and its coordinating earrings, which are set with pear-shaped diamond drops, may have been a gift to the Queen from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia in the 1980s. The jewels, which have also been loaned to the Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex, coordinate nicely with the antique tiara.