On Wednesday, a royal reception for foreign ambassadors was held at the palace in Madrid, and Queen Letizia wore a special set of heirloom jewelry for the occasion.
The Royal Palace in Madrid was gleaming on Wednesday as King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain held a reception for foreign ambassadors.
Queen Letizia wore a long, elegant blue gown made of watered silk for the reception. The gown was cinched at the waist with a matching tie, and Letizia also wore coordinating shoes.
She echoed the rich blue color of the dress with her jewels, wearing a suite of special sapphire, pearl, and diamond pieces that belonged to King Felipe’s paternal grandmother.
The jewels come from the collection of the late Countess of Barcelona. Born Princess María de las Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, she married Infante Juan of Spain (son of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Ena) in Rome in 1935. They had two daughters, Pilar and Margarita, and two sons, Juan Carlos and Alfonso. Juan’s father was forced into exile in 1931, and he should have been next in line to become monarch in the event of a restoration. But when the monarchy was reinstated, Franco passed over Juan in favor of his son, Juan Carlos. The decision caused family conflict, but the rift was eventually mended, thanks to Mercedes’s wise influence, and both she and Juan became a staunch supporter of their son’s reign. Juan died in 1993 and Mercedes followed in 2000, both buried with the honors of a king and queen.
The Countess was close to her grandchildren, including the current King of Spain. Her death four years before his wedding meant that she wasn’t able to be a part of an important moment for both the family and the monarchy. But Felipe and his bride, Letizia, ensured that she was remembered during the celebrations. On the night before the wedding, Letizia wore a necklace and matching earrings from Mercedes’s jewelry collection.
Letizia paired the necklace and earrings with a gleaming silver gown for the dinner. The off-the-shoulder neckline of the dress was a lovely frame for the necklace, and the colors coordinated beautifully with the diamonds, pearls, and sapphires.
Here’s a closer look at the necklace, which has a distinctive Y design and a pearl drop pendant. The design of the pieces from the suite makes me think that the set may have been created around the 1950s.
And here are the earrings, which feature sapphire and diamonds in a half-cluster around a large round pearl.
More recently, we saw Letizia wear the earrings alone with a blue gown for the Pascua Militar celebrations in Madrid in January 2020.
And here’s Letizia wearing the set together again for the reception on Wednesday. The neckline of this dress allowed the central section of the necklace to peek through.
Here’s a good look at the earrings from Wednesday’s reception, too.
On Wednesday, Letizia also added a diamond and sapphire bracelet on her right wrist. (I’m not sure if this is part of the original set that belonged to Mercedes or not.) She also wore her Coreterno ring on the index finger of her left hand.