Our Platinum Jubilee-themed countdown of ten of the Queen’s best platinum jewels continues today with an iconic royal gift from her beloved husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.
When Prince Philip proposed to Princess Elizabeth, he presented her with a classic diamond and platinum engagement ring. The jewel, made by Philip Antrobus in London, features a round three-carat brilliant stone flanked by smaller pavé-set diamonds.
The diamonds used to make Elizabeth’s engagement ring came from a tiara that belonged to Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg. The diamond and aquamarine tiara had been one of her wedding presents, given to her by her uncle and aunt, Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra of Russia, when she married Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark in 1903. She gave the tiara to Philip in 1947 so that it could be dismantled to make engagement and wedding gifts for her new daughter-in-law.
Only three diamonds from the tiara were needed to make the engagement ring, so there were plenty left over to make a magnificent wedding present for Philip to give to his royal bride. In The Queen’s Diamonds, Sir Hugh Roberts describes the bracelet as having “the form of three stepped millegrain and pavé-set links, each centered by an old brilliant in rub-over setting.”
The design of the bracelet is brash, imposing, and more than a little bit masculine—not unlike the Duke of Edinburgh himself. Philip Antrobus Ltd, who had also made Elizabeth’s engagement ring, made the bracelet as well, setting diamonds from Princess Alice’s tiara in platinum.
The bracelet could be spotted on the Queen’s right wrist for formal occasions for decades after the wedding. Here, in October 1957, she wears the bracelet for the opening of Canada’s parliament in Ottawa. She’s also wearing Queen Alexandra’s Kokoshnik, Queen Victoria’s Pearl Drop Earrings, the Coronation Necklace, and her Coronation Gown (which will soon go on public display to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee).
Here, decades later, she wears the bracelet on her right wrist for the State Opening of Parliament in London in November 1999. She’s also wearing the Imperial State Crown (of course) and Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee Necklace.
In more recent years, the Queen has loaned the Edinburgh Wedding Bracelet to her granddaughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge. Kate has worn the bracelet frequently for important evening occasions. The bracelet sparkles on her right wrist here as she and William attend the BAFTAs in London in February 2017.