Our Sparkling Spotlight on tiaras worn to the Royal Variety Performance continues today with a look at the royal jewels worn for the event back in 1954.
In the early years of her reign, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom often attended the Royal Variety Performance with her husband and her sister. For the performance in November 1954, which was held at the London Palladium, the Queen wore a dramatic ballgown. One reporter described the dress as “a full skirted evening gown of white silk draped at the shoulders with touches of Cambridge blue,” while another called it “a white satin gown with turquoise net drape.” She also wore a white ermine wrap and long white gloves.
Here’s another view of the construction of the gown, including the netting and the draping of the skirt, as the Queen chats with the performers after the show. Here, she chats with singer and comedian Joan Turner.
The Queen added major sparkle to the ensemble with diamonds and aquamarines. She had inherited Queen Alexandra’s Kokoshnik, a classic diamond fringe tiara, from Queen Mary in 1953. On this occasion, she paired it with additional jewels that were also new to her collection: the Brazilian Aquamarines. The necklace and earrings had been presented to her as a coronation gift in 1953 by the President of Brazil on behalf of the people of his country. And on her right wrist, the Queen placed two of her wedding gifts: Queen Mary’s Diamond Bangles.
And here’s a look at Princess Margaret’s ensemble for the performance. Newspapers variously described the color of her gown as “ivory” and “oyster.” She didn’t wear a tiara, but she did wear the necklace from a grand suite of royal jewels, the Persian Turquoise Parure. She also pinned a brooch to her bodice, but I’ve not been able to find a particularly clear view of it. It would make sense if it were the brooch from the turquoise parure, but the shape doesn’t look quite right to me. She’s also wearing a bracelet with alternating dark and light gems on her left wrist.
Here’s one more view of the Queen meeting with the entertainers from the performance. She’s shaking hands with the singer Frankie Laine, and next in line after him to meet her is the comedian Sir Norman Wisdom.