Our series on the jewels worn by the late Queen Elizabeth II for South African state visits continues today with a look at the jewels she wore for President Zuma’s visit to London in March 2010.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh hosted a grand state banquet at Buckingham Palace for President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and his then-wife, Thobeka Madiba, during their state visit to the United Kingdom in 2010. This was the final South African state visit of the late Queen’s reign.
Queen Elizabeth II wore a shimmering white evening gown with diamonds and a new South African decoration for the banquet. She was made a Supreme Companion in Gold of the Order of the Companions of O. R. Tambo during this visit. She also wore her Garter star and the Royal Family Orders of her father and grandfather. President Zuma wore the insignia of the Order of the Bath.
With her gown and orders, the Queen wore a tiara that has been with the royal family for several generations. Queen Alexandra’s Kokoshnik was a silver wedding anniversary gift to Alexandra (who was then Princess of Wales) from a group of aristocratic women in 1888. At Alexandra’s request, the tiara was modeled after a diamond kokoshnik that belonged to her sister, Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia.
With the tiara, the Queen wore the South African Diamonds, which were given to her as a 21st birthday present during the royal tour of South Africa in April 1947. She also wore the smaller pear-shaped diamond drop earrings that she often pairs with the necklace and earrings.
The most exciting jewel from her ensemble, however, was the enormous brooch she pinned to her right shoulder. This is the Queen Mother’s Cartier Lily Brooch, which Queen Elizabeth II only wore on a few select occasions after inheriting it in 2002. The brooch was made in 1939 by Cartier and was worn often by the Queen Mother throughout the 1940s and early 1950s.