The passing of Queen Elizabeth II brought about a period of somber, significant reflection in the United Kingdom. The months following, however, have also led to the dawn of a new era for the family—and some jewelry surprises from the two most senior Windsor women.
In November, the King and the Queen Consort hosted the first state banquet of his reign (and the first state banquet held in Britain in more than three years!). Many wondered whether Queen Camilla would wear one of the late Queen’s tiaras for the first time, and their hopes were confirmed when she arrived at Buckingham Palace for the dinner. Camilla selected Queen Elizabeth II’s Sapphires: the set of antique jewels given to Elizabeth by her father as a wedding present, plus the tiara that Elizabeth herself purchased to coordinate with the suite.
The banquet also offered the new Princess of Wales a chance to dress for her new elevated role as well. She wore Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara, a loan from the late Queen, with Diana’s horseshoe and laurel earrings, her newly-acquired Art Deco Diamond Brooch, and the late Queen’s Four-Row Pearl Bracelet.
The Countess of Wessex wore jewels for the state banquet fitting her role as one of the most important family representatives, too: her own convertible aquamarine and diamond tiara, plus earrings and a necklace that belonged to the late Queen.
The Duchess of Gloucester continued her representative role at the Guildhall banquet the following evening, wearing Queen Mary’s Honeysuckle Tiara with emeralds—all an inheritance from her mother-in-law, Princess Alice.
But where emeralds are concerned, how could there be a greater surprise than the reappearance of Queen Mary’s Emerald Choker? Catherine wore the century-old necklace for the first time at the Earthshot Prize awards ceremony in Boston in December. Until Kate’s first outing in the piece, we had not seen anyone wear the choker for 25 years—not since July 1997, when Diana, Princess of Wales wore it in public for the final time.
It was the second emerald surprise brought to us by the new Princess of Wales this autumn. She glittered in Queen Alexandra’s Three Feathers Brooch, which dates to 1863, for the welcome ceremonies during the South African state visit in November.
We had one final tiara treat from Britain this year when King Charles III hosted the annual diplomatic reception at Buckingham Palace in December. Queen Camilla again wore Queen Elizabeth II’s Sapphires, this time adding the pendant to the necklace.