On Tuesday evening, the British royals hosted their annual reception for member of the Diplomatic Corps, and there were a pair of tiaras from Queen Mary’s dazzling jewelry collection on display.
King Charles III and Queen Camilla were joined by the Prince and Princess of Wales for the annual Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace. Queen Camilla made her second appearance in an important royal jewel at the reception: the Girls of Great Britain & Ireland Tiara.
The diamond tiara, with its elegant fleur-de-lis and festoon designs, was given to Queen Mary as a wedding present in 1893. The gift came from a committee of young women, the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland. (Hence the usual name for the jewel.) Originally the tiara had a row of pear-shaped pearl toppers, but Mary later had those removed and repurposed.
Here’s Mary wearing the tiara with those original pearls in an elegant portrait dating to around 1912. She had the pearls used when she commissioned her new Lover’s Knot Tiara a year later—but more on that jewel in a minute!
Queen Mary gave the tiara to her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II, as a wedding present in 1947. She wore the tiara for the next seven decades.
Queen Camilla made her debut in the tiara at a dinner at Mansion House in London in October, thrilling and shocking many of us who had guessed that the jewel might hang out a bit longer in the vaults. (For the record: I’m always an advocate of wearing jewelry instead of letting it gather dust.)
The most exciting aspect of Camilla’s jewelry this time around, however, is the corsage ornament that she pinned to the front of her evening dress. The diamond stomacher looks to me like a late nineteenth-century piece, with its interesting diamond tassel design elements. In their briefing to royal reporters, Buckingham Palace noted that the diamond stomacher belonged to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
This piece isn’t one that I can ever recall seeing the late Queen Mother wear, even in portraits from the days when she was Duchess of York. I don’t believe it matches any of the pieces described in the official lists of her wedding gifts from 1923. Could it possibly be part of the Greville Bequest? (It looks so familiar, but I can’t place it!)
The palace also shared via reporters that Queen Camilla’s diamond bracelet comes from the collection of Queen Elizabeth II. I believe it’s the same one worn by the late monarch during her landmark state visit to Ireland in 2011. And Camilla finished off the look with the sparkling earrings from her own demi-parure of jewels set with pear-shaped diamonds.
The Prince and Princess of Wales were dapper and dazzling, respectively, as they arrived at the palace for the annual reception. But if there’s something very familiar about the outfit chosen by Catherine for the event, there’s a good reason for that!
The entire look worn by Kate for the reception—the Jenny Packham gown, decorations, and jewels—is an exact repeat of the one she wore in June for the wedding banquet celebrating the marriage of Crown Prince Hussein and Princess Rajwa of Jordan.
Here’s a closer look at the same jewels—Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara, the Greville Chandelier Earrings, and her diamond and platinum brooch securing the sash of the Royal Victorian Order—and gown worn this evening at Buckingham Palace. The only difference is that the yellow ribbon of Queen Elizabeth II’s Royal Family Order has been now been shortened, perhaps to make way for the coming King Charles III Royal Family Order. (Word on the street is that the new RFO is indeed in the works, but it’s not yet finished.)
And here’s another look at the same jewels from the royal wedding in Jordan. If it ain’t broke…?
A scheduling note: I’ll be back here on Thursday morning with more sparkle for you to enjoy!