Queen Victoria added a whole treasure trove of important jewels to the royal vaults during her reign, including a magnificent pair of earrings set with diamonds and pearl drops.
The pearl and diamond earrings were a gift to Queen Victoria from her husband, Prince Albert, in 1847. Long after his death, she continued to wear the earrings for portraits, including this photograph taken much later in her reign. She pairs the earrings with other diamond and pearl jewels, including her small diamond crown, worn on this occasion without its arches.
Queen Victoria designated the earrings as heirlooms of the crown, meaning that they would pass from monarch to monarch for use by the monarch or consort. Queen Elizabeth II inherited the use of the earrings when her father died in February 1952, and over the years, she has worn them for some of the most formal occasions of her reign. Here, you’ll spot the earrings in a portrait taken not long after her coronation. She wears them with the Girls of Great Britain & Ireland Tiara, the Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace, and the Dorset Bow Brooch.
You’ll often see the Queen wearing the earrings for grand state occasions, like the openings of parliament, state banquets, and other events involving gowns, robes, and decorations. Here, she wears the earrings with her coronation gown in Ottawa for the opening of Canada’s parliament in 1957. She’s also wearing Queen Alexandra’s Kokoshnik, the Coronation Necklace, and the Edinburgh Wedding Bracelet.
The earrings can be viewed in excellent detail in this photograph, taken as the Queen arrives for the state opening of parliament in London in November 2004. She’s also wearing two other jewels that were worn by Queen Victoria: the Diamond Diadem and the Golden Jubilee Necklace.
In May 2011, she wore the earrings for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace during a visit from President Obama. She went with a diamond and pearl theme that evening, wearing the pearl setting of the Vladimir Tiara, Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee Necklace, the Teck Emperor of Austria Brooch, and a pearl bracelet and evening watch.
And here, she wears the earrings with the elaborate robes of the Order of the Garter for the annual Garter Day service at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor in June 2015.