The Queen’s jewelry box is packed with pieces gifted to her by foreign dignitaries, and many believe that this necklace and its matching earrings belong to that category. Here’s a closer look at the jewels worn by the Queen (and several other British royal ladies) for a dinner at Claridge’s in 1987.
The banquet was a return dinner during a state visit from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia in March 1987. The king was the host of the traditional “return” event, which was held at Claridge’s Hotel in London on the third evening of the state visit.
The Queen was a ray of sunshine in a yellow gown for the evening. She wore metallic accessories: shoes and a matching evening bag, plus the golden collar of her Saudi decoration, the Order of King Abdulaziz. The Duke of Edinburgh is also wearing the insignia of the same order, including its distinctive green and gold sash.
The Queen quite literally dripped with diamonds for the dinner. She chose one of her most classic, streamlined tiaras, Queen Alexandra’s Kokoshnik, which is easy to pair with a range of other jewels. Her necklace and earrings feature small pear-shaped diamond drops set in clusters. They almost resemble raindrops!
We don’t know the provenance of the necklace and earrings, but many have guessed that they were gifts from King Fahd during this state visit. The Queen does often wear bejeweled gifts as quickly as possible in the presence of their giver, and this was the first known appearance of the set.
Several other ladies from the royal family were naturally also present for the dinner, and I thought I’d highlight some of their jewels as well. The Princess of Wales, as Diana was then, wore Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara with the Collingwood Pearl Drop Earrings and her three-stranded pearl choker necklace.
The Duchess of York, as Sarah was then, wore her diamond wedding tiara with the earrings from her diamond floral suite. As you can see in the photo above with Diana, Sarah’s hairdresser placed the bracelet from the floral set in her hair for the evening as well.
And Princess Anne—who would be made the Princess Royal in just a few months’ time—wore a pearl ornament in her updo instead of a tiara for the return dinner. She also wore a suite of modern diamond and ruby jewels, which are also a suspected Saudi gift, and a spectacular bejeweled buckle brooch, used to secure her Royal Victorian Order sash.