The President of Italy began a state visit to Madrid yesterday, and you know what that means: it’s tiara time in Spain!
King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain hosted President Sergio Mattarella of Italy for a gala dinner at the Royal Palace in Madrid on Tuesday evening. Mattarella is a widower, and his daughter, Laura Mattarella, generally accompanies him on diplomatic occasions. Both of the Mattarellas were presented with the Order of Isabella the Catholic during this visit.
Queen Letizia was elegant in a chic black evening gown for the gala, accessorized with diamonds and pearls.
Both Letizia and Felipe wore the sash and star of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. Because Felipe is a head of state, he also has the collar of the order. He’s also wearing the necklet of the Order of the Golden Fleece.
Letizia wore major diamonds from the Spanish royal vaults for this state visit, piling on the jewels as she hasn’t done for years. (She also wore a piece we see on an almost daily basis: her gold Karen Hallam ring, worn on the index finger of her left hand.)
The star of the show was the Diamond and Pearl Loop Tiara. The sparkler was made in the nineteenth century for Queen Maria Cristina of Spain, the wife of King Alfonso XII and the mother of King Alfonso XIII (who was King Felipe’s great-grandfather). The tiara was later worn by Felipe’s grandmother, the Countess of Barcelona, and his mother, Queen Sofia.
Here’s a view of the back of the tiara (and Letizia’s hairstyle) from Tuesday night’s dinner. Letizia wore the tiara for the first time in public three years ago, during a state dinner in honor of the President of China in November 2018.
With the tiara, Letizia wore petite diamond stud earrings. More substantial were two other jewels, which come from the famed joyas de pasar collection. In her will, Queen Ena of Spain designated several pieces of her jewelry as part of this collection, which she wanted to pass from monarch to monarch. Among these were an impressive diamond riviere necklace and a gorgeous gray pearl and diamond brooch. Letizia wore both the necklace and the brooch for this state dinner.
Here’s a side view of her jewels, showing just how substantial the gray pearl and diamond brooch is. One of the gray pearls is set in a double cluster of diamonds, while the second is suspended from the brooch as a pendant.
Letizia finished off the look with a diamond bracelet. Most jewelry watchers, including me, believe that this bracelet is actually a portion of Queen Ena’s original necklace. (She first wore the bracelet at the imperial enthronement in Japan two years ago.) Letizia wears a shortened version of the diamond necklace, and it appears that she has had part of the remainder refashioned to be worn as a bracelet. Or perhaps the necklace was always designed to be able to be taken apart and worn at various lengths?
Here’s one more look at the entire ensemble, as well as the lovely gown and diamond jewels worn by Laura Mattarella. It’s so good to have the sparkle coming back again, isn’t it?