On this day in 1958, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom dazzled in diamonds and pearls at a state banquet in the Netherlands.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh made a state visit to the Netherlands in March 1958. There, they were greeted by Queen Juliana and the rest of the royal family, who hosted them for a grand state banquet at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam on March 25.
The British and Dutch royals wore their very finest clothes and jewels for the banquet. We’re going to look at Queen Elizabeth’s jewels in more detail throughout this post, but first, a quick rundown of the Dutch royal jewels shown here. Queen Juliana (fourth from the left) wears the tiara, necklace, and corsage ornament from the Stuart Parure, plus the complete Dutch East Indies Bracelet (now two separate bracelets). On the far left, Princess Beatrix wears the Dutch Laurel Wreath Tiara with pearls. And on the far right, Princess Irene wears the Dutch Ears of Wheat Tiara with additional diamond jewels.
For the banquet, Queen Elizabeth II wore the pearl setting of the Vladimir Tiara, which was made in Russia in the 1870s for Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, wife of Grand Duke Vladimir. The tiara was purchased by Queen Mary from Grand Duchess Vladimir’s descendants after the revolution. For this occasion, as she often does, the Queen wore the tiara with the Gloucester Pendant Earrings, nineteenth-century jewels which originally belonged to the Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, a daughter of King George III.
She also wore Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee Necklace, with its distinctive pearl and diamond trefoil and quatrefoil design. It was given to Queen Victoria in 1888, the year after her Golden Jubilee celebrations, by a group of aristocratic women—but only after a whole lot of fighting within the group over the present itself.
She secured the sash of her Dutch decoration, the Order of the Netherlands Lion, with the Kensington Bow Brooch, which was given to Queen Mary in 1893 as a wedding gift by the people of Kensington. She’s also wearing the star of the order, as well as the Royal Family Orders of her grandfather and her father. She finished the look with the Edinburgh Wedding Bracelet and a diamond evening watch.
The dress that the Queen wore for the banquet was a jewel of its own. The gown was a rather spectacular creation by Sir Norman Hartnell. The Illustrated London News described the dress as “a brilliant gown in sky-blue and primrose-yellow,” with “a swath of blue sweeping across the primrose of the skirt.”
The report added that both “skirt and bodice carried embroidery of ruched lace, re-embroidered with aquamarines and pale topazes.” Here’s a closer look at the sequin embellishments on the gown.
The dress remains in the Royal Collection today, and it has been displayed more than once in royal exhibitions. In 2010, it was included in “The Queen’s Year” exhibition at Buckingham Palace. It was also shown at the palace as part of the “Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe” exhibition in the summer of 2016.