Surprise! In honor of the Queen’s major milestone achievement this weekend—70 years on the British throne—we’re continuing our bejeweled survey of her dazzling decades this weekend with bonus Sparkling Spotlight posts. Today, we’ve arrived in the 2000s, with a grand appearance of the Queen’s Brazilian Aquamarines.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh hosted President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva of Brazil and his wife, Marisa Leticia Lula de Silva, for a state visit to Britain in March 2006. On the first evening of the visit, they held a state banquet for the presidential couple at Buckingham Palace in London.
By this time, the Queen had really solidified her gala uniform: dress, jewels, and decorations. She has generally preferred white evening gowns with various embellishments for these occasions. For this state banquet, she wore a white gown with floral and ribbon embroidery, with silver accessories. She wore the Royal Family Orders of her father and grandfather, plus the collar and star of her highest Brazilian decoration, the Order of the Southern Cross.
When the Queen receives a visit from the President of Brazil, of course she has to bring out the Brazilian Aquamarines. The suite of jewels is composed of gemstones given to her by the people of Brazil. The necklace and earrings were a coronation gift in 1953. Four years later, the Queen commissioned Garrard to make a tiara to match. In 1958, the Brazilian government presented her with two more pieces for the set: a bracelet and a brooch.
The set has been upgraded and renovated over the years. Most notably, the original bandeau was transformed in the early 1970s to create the large tiara worn by the Queen today.