Our countdown of the best royal jewelry moments of 2023 arrives at number four, where we’re exploring the heirloom British jewelry surprises unearthed by King Charles III and Queen Camilla this year.
During 2023, Queen Camilla wore several pieces of jewelry that were familiar, favorite pieces of the late Queen Elizabeth II. But she also debuted some never-before-seen (or rarely seen) jewelry pieces that came from the late monarch’s collection as well. Among the most worn were these pearl drop earrings, which have a lovely stud featuring a sapphire surrounded by diamonds and rubies. Camilla wore them for the first time on Commonwealth Day and used them regularly throughout the year. In April, British Vogue revealed that the earrings belonged “to the late Queen.”
For the welcome ceremony during the state visit to Germany in March, Queen Camilla arrived wearing a petite diamond and turquoise flower brooch. Buckingham Palace shared that the little bauble had big significance: it was the brooch gifted to the late Queen Elizabeth II by her grandmother, Queen Mary, as a confirmation present in 1942.
Queen Camilla wore another diamond brooch from the late Queen’s collection for two prominent occasions this year: Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot and engagements in Bordeaux during the state visit to France. (She actually debuted it at Sandringham on Christmas Day 2022.) Buckingham Palace shared in June that the brooch belonged to the late Queen Elizabeth II.
In November, King Charles and Queen Camilla headed to Covent Garden for a special performance by the Royal Ballet. Camilla wore a petite pendant set with diamonds, pink topazes, and sapphires. Buckingham Palace shared in their brief with reporters that the pendant belonged to Queen Elizabeth II.
A few weeks later, a royal jewelry account on social media shared a portrait of the young Princess Elizabeth wearing the pendant. The photograph was taken in 1936 by Marcus Adams and published in the souvenir coronation program, and on souvenir cigarette cards, in 1937. (I’ve shared a detail showing the necklace on the young QEII above.)
On Christmas Day, Queen Camilla brought out another new-to-her brooch. This time, Buckingham Palace shared that the brooch belonged to Queen Elizabeth II and also referenced it as the “raspberry pip” brooch. The late Queen wore a similar jewel back in 2003, but the one worn by Camilla on Christmas has slight differences is color and scale.
But I’ve saved one of the most exciting debuts for last. In December, Queen Camilla arrived for the annual Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace wearing major diamonds, including an enormous diamond stomacher. Buckingham Palace shared that the jewel comes from the collection of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
The corsage ornament features ribbon and tassel detailing. Many, including me, speculated that the jewel could be a long-hidden piece from the expansive Greville Bequest. A few weeks later, a royal jewelry writer shared that Buckingham Palace had confirmed to her that the stomacher was indeed a legacy from Dame Margaret Greville.