Royal Jewelry: Jewels fit for a Princess

28/4/11
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BY GEMMA DOUGLASS

Royal weddings demand regal jewels.  There is much speculation over how Kate Middleton will be ‘adorned’ on her big day.  Of her royal jewels thus far this much we know: alongside the sapphire engagement ring belonging to Princess Diana, she will be wearing a wedding band of Welsh gold, designed by crown jeweller Harry Collins. It has been a British royal tradition since 1923 to wear wedding bands crafted from a single nugget of Welsh Clogau Gold.

However, other royal wedding traditions are being cast aside, with Kate choosing a car – rather than the habitual royal carriage – as her ‘transport du jour’. Kate is renowned for her minimalist approach to style and fashion and is therefore inspiring debate over whether she will wear a tiara or other statement jewellery from the royal collection. A quick look back at past royal weddings shows some of her ‘gem’ style options.

When Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who later became the Queen Mum, married the stammering Duke of York in 1923, she wore a drop-waisted dress true to the flapper trend of that era.  The look was of lace and pearls, an original version of recent trends, and a double strand of pearls with a detachable emerald gem was worn on the day.

 Royal Jewelry Queen Mother on her wedding day
 Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (Queen Mum) on her wedding day in 1923

Queen Elizabeth also opted for pearls in 1947, wearing her mother’s wedding necklace of two strands; one with fifty pearls and the other with 46; and her dress had a magnificent train! The ruby and diamond County of Cornwall bracelet was given to Elizabeth by Queen Mary as a wedding gift. The central flower is detachable and can be worn as a brooch.
 

 Royal Jewelry Queen Elizabeth 2 on her wedding day
Queen Elizabeth on her wedding day in 1947

When Princess Anne walked down the aisle it was the seventies and her full length maxi-dress with Tudor style collar broke with the tradition of a long train and honoured the fashion of the time.  Anne achieved Princess grace and style with the ‘Diamond Fringe Tiara’ – a graduated circle of diamonds made in 1830 and originally worn by Queen Victoria.
 

 Royal Jewelry Princess Anne on her wedding day
 Princess Anne on her wedding day

Princess Diana’s wedding dress in 1981 was a decade of style apart from Anne’s and honoured the dramatic excess of the eighties.  With balloon sleeves and a meringue skirt it was a different fairytale bride aesthetic, but the tiara was still jewel of choice.  Diana wore the Spencer family tiara, made from gold formed into tulip- and star-like flowers, and embellished with diamonds in silver settings.

 Royal Wedding Princess Diana tiara engagement ring
Princess Diana on her wedding day

So having looked back to royal weddings of yesteryear, we see diamonds and pearls a-plenty.  Kate is not one for excess, frills, or pomp and circumstance but surely no girl can resist a diamond tiara on the day she marries her Prince?
 

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