Glorious Behind-the-Scenes Photos of Queen Elizabeth's 1947 Wedding

Glorious Behind-the-Scenes Photos of Queen Elizabeth's 1947 Wedding

How much planning and work goes into a picture-perfect royal event? From creating a balanced guest list that won’t offend any allies to enlisting local law enforcement to control the crowds and hiring a battalion of designers and decorators, there is much to be organized.

Queen Victoria’s wedding cake weighed hundreds of pounds and was three yards wide; a 25-foot train was created for Princess Diana’s wedding dress; and Prince William and Kate Middleton spent $1.1 million on flowers alone.

For Queen Elizabeth, however, the 2,000-person guest list and extravagant plans for her wedding day had some people more nervous than excited. The post-war atmosphere in Britain had many observers worried about the cost of such an event. However, the global buzz surrounding the day helped stir people across the world to pitch in for what would become known as “the people’s wedding.”

Here’s an inside look at what went into pulling off one of the most elaborate weddings in history, the 1947 wedding of the future Queen Elizabeth II to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Then-princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip announced their engagement on July 9, 1947, giving them just four months to plan their wedding. They first met at another royal wedding, of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark to Prince George, Duke of Kent, in 1934.

Designer Norman Hartnell’s bridal gown submission was chosen from many applicants but not approved until mid-August, giving him less than three months to complete the extravagant design. He also designed the bridesmaid dresses.

The rationing rules that followed World War II still applied to the princess herself. In order to complete her dress, including a 15-foot train that attached at the shoulders, and those of her eight bridesmaids, then-Princess Elizabeth needed to pay with clothing rationing coupons.

The dress was made from duchesse satin, ordered from the firm of Wintherthur in Scotland, produced at the Lullingstone Castle in Kent and woven by Warner & Sons. The final dress was decorated with crystals and 10,000 seed pearls, imported from the U.S.

Elizabeth wore satin head to toe. Her shoes were made by Edward Rayne, accented with silver and seed pearl buckles.

The official wedding cake, which was baked by McVitie and Price, went on to be nicknamed ‘The 10,000 Mile Cake’ because the ingredients used to make it came in from all around the world. The cake was made with British flour and granulated sugar, demerara sugar from Trinidad, butter, almonds and frozen eggs from Australia, and syrup from Barbados.

These food parcels sent from the United States as wedding gifts were redistributed to British war widows.

The royal couple received over 2,500 wedding presents and around 10,000 telegrams of congratulations from around the world.

Florist Martin Longman from the Worshipful Company of Gardeners was tasked with putting together the flowers for the bouquet. He kept the design a secret up until the day of the wedding, but followed a tradition started by Queen Victoria of including white orchids and a sprig of myrtle.

Their cake was adorned with the coat of arms of both families, including the monograms of the bride and groom, sugar-iced figures of their favorite activities, and regimental and naval badges.

The final result was a towering nine-foot-tall cake.

There were a total of 91 singers for the wedding day. The organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey, William Neil McKie, was the music director for the wedding. McKie composed an original motet (a vocal musical composition) for the occasion: “We wait for thy loving kindness, O God.”

Queen Elizabeth was taken to Westminster Abbey in the Irish State Coach accompanied by her father, King George VI. She was the 10th member of the Royal Family to be wed there.

2,000 guests were invited to the ceremony, with many more spectators filling the streets of to watch the princess and her father pass. The wedding began at 10:30 a.m. on November 20, 1947.

Anticipating the crowds, one girl prepares with her own invention to get a better view.

Others used periscopes and other mirrored contraptions to see over the masses.

Many police were on call to hold back the crowds outside of Buckingham Palace. It’s estimated that 2 million people flooded the streets the morning of the wedding.

The ceremony was recorded and broadcast by BBC Radio, reaching 200 million people around the world.

As the newlywed royal couple went on to a wedding breakfast at Buckingham Palace after the service, people all over the world continued to celebrate, either in the crowded streets, around their home radios, or out at the pubs.


Elizabeth and Philip are second cousins once removed (by descent from Christian IX of Denmark and Louise of Hesse-Kassel) and third cousins (by descent from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert). Princess Elizabeth met Prince Philip in 1934, at the wedding of Philip's cousin Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark to Prince George, Duke of Kent, paternal uncle of Elizabeth, and again in 1937. [1] After another meeting at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in July 1939, Elizabeth—though only 13 years old—fell in love with Philip and they began to exchange letters. [2] An entry in Chips Channon's diary made reference to the future marriage of Elizabeth and Philip as early as 1941, "He is to be our Prince Consort, and that is why he is serving in our Navy." [3] The couple became secretly engaged in 1946, when Philip asked King George VI for his daughter's hand in marriage. The King granted his request providing any formal engagement was delayed until Elizabeth's 21st birthday the following April. [4] Their engagement was officially announced on 9 July 1947. [5] Philip proposed to Elizabeth with a 3-carat round diamond ring consisting of "a centre stone flanked by 10 smaller pave diamonds." [6] The diamonds were taken from a tiara that belonged to Philip's mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, and were also used to create a quatrefoil bracelet for Elizabeth. [7]

The King gave his formal consent to the marriage in his British Privy Council, in accordance with the Royal Marriages Act 1772. The same was done in Canada at a meeting of the King's Canadian Privy Council, with the Chief Justice of Canada, Thibaudeau Rinfret, standing in as deputy to the King's representative, the Governor General of Canada. [n 1] [8]

Venue Edit

Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh married at 11:30 GMT on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey. [9] Princess Elizabeth became the tenth member of the royal family to be married at the Abbey. [10]

Bridal party Edit

Princess Elizabeth was attended by eight bridesmaids: The Princess Margaret (her younger sister), Princess Alexandra of Kent (her first cousin), Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott (daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch), Lady Mary Cambridge (her second cousin), Lady Elizabeth Lambart (daughter of the Earl of Cavan), Lady Pamela Mountbatten (Philip's first cousin), Margaret Elphinstone (her first cousin), and Diana Bowes-Lyon (her first cousin). [9] Her cousins Prince William of Gloucester and Prince Michael of Kent served as page boys. [9] The bridesmaids wore wreaths "in their hair of miniature white sheaves, Lilies and London Pride, modelled in white satin and silver lame", while the pages wore Royal Stewart tartan kilts. [11]

The best man was the Marquess of Milford Haven, [10] the groom's maternal first cousin. The Marquess was a grandson of Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine and a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria.

Wedding attire Edit

For her wedding dress, Elizabeth still required ration coupons to buy the material for her gown, designed by Norman Hartnell. [12] [13] The dress was "a duchesse satin bridal gown with motifs of star lilies and orange blossoms." [13] Elizabeth's wedding shoes were made out of satin and were trimmed with silver and seed pearl. [11] Elizabeth did her own makeup for the wedding. [14] Her wedding bouquet was prepared by the florist M. H. Longman, and consisted of "white orchids with a sprig of myrtle". The myrtle was taken from "the bush grown from the original myrtle in Queen Victoria's wedding bouquet". [11] The bouquet was returned to the abbey the day after the service to be laid on the tomb of the Unknown Warrior, following a tradition started by Elizabeth's mother at her wedding in 1923. [11]

On the morning of her wedding, as Princess Elizabeth was dressing at Buckingham Palace before leaving for Westminster Abbey, her tiara snapped. The court jeweller, who was standing by in case of emergency, was rushed to his work room by a police escort. Queen Elizabeth reassured her daughter that it would be fixed in time, and it was. [15] Elizabeth's father gave her a pair of pearl necklaces, which had belonged to Queen Anne and Queen Caroline, as a wedding present. Her diamond and pearl cluster earrings were also family heirlooms, passed down from Princess Mary to Queen Mary's mother the Duchess of Teck. On her wedding day, Elizabeth realised that she had left her pearls at St James's Palace. Her private secretary, Jock Colville, was asked to go and retrieve them. He was able to get the pearls to the princess in time for her portrait in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace. [16]

Wedding service Edit

The royal parties were brought in large carriage processions, the first with the Queen and Princess Margaret and later a procession with Queen Mary. [17] Philip left Kensington Palace with his best man, the Marquess of Milford Haven. [17] Princess Elizabeth arrived at the Abbey with her father, the King, in the Irish State Coach. [9]

The ceremony was officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, and the Archbishop of York, Cyril Garbett. The ceremony was recorded and broadcast by BBC Radio to 200 million people around the world. [13] [18]

Wedding ring Edit

Like her mother's, Princess Elizabeth's wedding band was made of Welsh gold. [19] [20] The ring was made from a nugget of Welsh gold from the Clogau St David's mine, near Dolgellau [10] this nugget had been given to the then Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, and used to make her wedding ring and subsequently the wedding rings of both of her daughters. [21] The same nugget was later used to create the wedding rings of Princess Anne and Lady Diana Spencer. [21]

Music Edit

William Neil McKie, the Australian organist and Master of the Choristers at the abbey, was the director of music for the wedding, a role he again filled at Elizabeth's coronation in 1953. [22] McKie also wrote a motet for the occasion, "We wait for thy loving kindness, O God". Psalm 67, "God be merciful unto us and bless us", was sung to a setting by Sir Edward Cuthbert Bairstow. The anthem was "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" by Samuel Sebastian Wesley the hymns were "Praise, my soul, the king of heaven", and "The Lord's my Shepherd" to the Scottish tune "Crimond" attributed to Jessie Seymour Irvine, which was largely unknown in the Church of England at the time. A descant to "Crimond" had been taught to Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret by a lady-in-waiting, Lady Margaret Egerton the music for the descant could not be found two days before the wedding, so the princesses and Lady Margaret sang it to Sir William McKie, who wrote it down in shorthand. [23] The service started with a specially composed fanfare by Arnold Bax and finished with Felix Mendelssohn's "Wedding March". The abbey choir was joined by the choirs of the Chapel Royal and St George's Chapel, Windsor. [24]

Titles Edit

Before the wedding, Philip renounced his Greek and Danish titles, converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism and adopted the style "Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten", taking the surname of his mother's British family. [25] The day before the wedding, King George bestowed the style "Royal Highness" and, on the morning of the wedding, 20 November 1947, he was made the Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich of Greenwich in the County of London. [26] Consequently, being already a Knight of the Garter, between 19 and 20 November 1947 he bore the unusual style His Royal Highness Sir Philip Mountbatten and is so described in the Letters Patent of 20 November 1947. [26]

Upon their marriage, Elizabeth took the title of her husband and became Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh.


Thank you!

The next morning, after connecting with Betty over the phone and receiving an invitation to visit, I traveled to the eastern suburbs of London. I was so nervous that my hands were shaking as I rang her doorbell, introduced myself and presented her with some flowers and a tin of tea from Fortnum and Mason. Betty&rsquos response was to set down my gifts and give me a big hug.

Within minutes we&rsquod settled ourselves at a big, round table in her sitting room and started talking &mdash a conversation that would open a window into this otherwise hidden world behind the scenes at the royal wedding.

Betty told me about her childhood in the east end of London, a happy time that was scarred by the horror of her father&rsquos death in the Blitz. At the age of 14, she was taken on as an apprentice at Hartnell, her pay seven shillings and sixpence a week it seemed like a fortune to her at the time. Before long she was working on beautiful gowns for film stars and royals alike, which was good practice for when Mr. Hartnell selected Miss Halliday, the senior seamstress under whose supervision Betty worked, to make Princess Elizabeth&rsquos wedding dress in the autumn of 1947.

Although Betty had never made buttonholes before, she was given the task of sewing 22 of them up the back of the gown &mdash and as the bodice had already been embroidered and the wedding was only weeks away, any error on her part would have been a disaster.

&ldquoWeren&rsquot you nervous?&rdquo I asked her, but she laughed and shook her head.

&ldquoWould you believe I wasn&rsquot? Miss Halliday told everyone to be quiet while I worked, and I did some practice buttonholes on a scrap of material, and then I just made them. Just like that.&rdquo

Betty had the foresight to save scraps of fabric and trimmings from the workroom that would otherwise have been thrown out, and she later preserved them in a scrapbook. We pored over its pages together, and the sight of her treasures was enough to make my heart race. There, only inches away, were the practice buttonholes she had made, as well as an extra button, a strip of the surprisingly delicate horsehair buckram that lined the gown&rsquos billowing skirts and wispy samples of the silk tulle used for the embroidered train.

From Betty I got a sense of what it was like to work at Hartnell. Although she was a seamstress and not an embroiderer, the shape of her life there was the same: early mornings, focused work, short breaks brimming with tea and conversation, the excitement of the occasional famous visitor. It was Betty who told me of the royal ladies&rsquo visit while the gown was being made, and of the difficulty she and her friends had with their curtseys. It was Betty who described the last moments before the gown, train and veil were packed away for the short journey to Buckingham Palace, and how Miss Halliday allowed every woman there, even the most junior apprentice, to place one small stitch in the gown, so that all could say they had worked on the princess&rsquos finery. It was Betty who told me of Mr. Hartnell&rsquos personal warmth, charm and unfailing good humor and also of Queen Elizabeth&rsquos sparkling blue eyes and musical laugh.

After our day together I remained in touch, sometimes phoning Betty when I had questions, more often emailing her granddaughter Belle, who relayed my questions and Betty&rsquos answers. When early copies of The Gown were ready, I sent her one &mdash and then held my breath until I knew it had arrived safely in England and that she was happy with the story I&rsquod told.

I&rsquom not exaggerating when I say I wouldn&rsquot have been able to write The Gown without Betty Foster&rsquos help. From Betty I learned how little the women were paid, but how proud they were of their work. I learned how close they became and remained, even under the spotlight of a royal wedding. And it was from Betty that I found the courage to tell my heroines&rsquo stories with honesty, humor and &mdash above all &mdash deep gratitude to the real women whose unsung labors created a wedding gown fit for a future queen.


Two Very Different Ceremonies

As the future monarch, Princess Elizabeth was to have all the trappings of a spectacular royal affair&mdashand that she did. On November 20, 1947, in a ceremony that was broadcast on the radio to millions of listeners, Elizabeth tied the knot with Prince Philip at Westminster. She and her husband were joined by 2,500 guests, including seven queens and six kings from a range of countries. Given the scale of the royal wedding, Queen Elizabeth (appropriately) had eight bridesmaids in her wedding party, including her sister, Princess Margaret, and her cousin, Princess Alexandra.

Unlike the Queen, Princess Beatrice tied the knot with a small ceremony held at the Royal Chapel of All Saints at Royal Lodge, on the grounds of Windsor Great Park. She was joined by her grandparents, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, her mother, Sarah Ferguson, father, Prince Andrew, and sister, Princess Eugenie. Edoardo&rsquos parents and son, Wolfie&mdashwho served as the pageboy&mdashwere also in attendance. Despite its smaller scale, the celebration still had a grande aesthetic, with plenty of nods to the royal tradition. The wedding&rsquos &ldquosecret garden&rdquo theme was executed beautifully, especially with a backdrop of lush gardens and overflowing floral arrangements.


LONDON — To the British people, he’s the longest-serving royal consort in the nation's history, serving alongside the queen for 65 years.

The country — and the world — paid tribute to Prince Philip after his death Friday at the age of 99.

But for his wife, Queen Elizabeth II, Philip's passing ends a 73-year marriage — one that began as a fairytale love story between a young princess and her older cousin.

Related

World Prince Philip won't have state funeral, mourners asked to stay away because of Covid

Philip and Elizabeth first crossed paths in 1934 at a royal family wedding and then met properly again five years later in 1939 when she was 13 and he was 18 – the first time she said she remembered meeting him. The princess had accompanied her parents on a visit to Britain’s Royal Naval College where he was a cadet.

The two had very different upbringings.

Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics

Handsome and athletic, Philip was worldly, having lived in Paris, Germany and the United Kingdom after his own royal family was forced to flee his birthplace, Greece. He spent much of his childhood apart from his parents and went on to serve in the Mediterranean and the Pacific during World War II.

Elizabeth, meanwhile, was educated at home and never left the U.K. She spoke fluent French and her education included constitutional history and law in preparation for her assumption to the throne.

According to a letter she wrote in 1947, she and Philip were able to spend time together after the war when he was stationed at a naval officers school and spent weekends and a long break with her family.

Related

Photo Gallery At the queen's side: Prince Philip through the years

Their differing backgrounds was a cause of concern to other members of the royal family, according to Clive Irving, the author of “The Last Queen: How Queen Elizabeth II Saved the Monarchy.”

“Before they got married, there was a lot of hesitancy in the court and palace about whether he was the right match,” he said.

Their courtship also took place under the shadow of King Edward VIII, who abdicated in 1936 after he fell in love with an American woman, Wallis Simpson, who was twice divorced. Edward decided to step away from the monarchy rather than give her up.

“There was concern about the institution of the monarchy, as much as about the marriage,” Irving said.

Elizabeth and Philip announced their engagement in July 1947, and got married just over four months later, with the future queen smiling broadly in photos with her new husband. Like other brides in the years after World War II, Elizabeth had to use ration coupons to buy the materials for her wedding dress.

The wedding itself was a grand affair, with 2,000 guests at Westminster Abbey, a reception at Buckingham Palace and a 9-foot-tall wedding cake.

“We behave as though we had belonged to each other for years,” Elizabeth wrote in a letter to her parents shortly after they married. “Philip is an angel – he is so kind and thoughtful.’’

Philip, who was given the title the Duke of Edinburgh and rescinded his Greek royal title, was besotted with his young wife.

“My ambition is to weld the two of us into a new combined existence that will not only be able to withstand the shocks directed at us but will also have a positive existence for the good,” he wrote to his new mother-in-law shortly after the wedding.

This adoration was also clear to Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, who extolled his love in a letter to his daughter after her wedding, expressing how much he would miss her.

“I can see that you are sublimely happy with Philip which is right but don't forget us,” he wrote.

The couple soon had children, with Prince Charles arriving just a year after the wedding, and Princess Anne two years later.

During these early years, Philip concentrated on his military career and served as the commander of a Royal Navy ship. The couple lived in Malta from 1949 to 1951, where Elizabeth was less a princess than an officer’s wife.

This carefree existence came to an end with the unexpected death of Elizabeth’s father in 1952, just five years after Elizabeth and Philip’s wedding.

Elizabeth assumed the throne and Philip’s military career came to an end as he took on the role of royal consort, one that was difficult at first for Philip to adjust to, according to Irving.


The Incredible Story Behind Queen Elizabeth&rsquos Wedding Gown

If you watched the first episode of the Netflix series The Crown you couldn&apost help but notice the stunning wedding dress that actress Claire Foy as Princess Elizabeth wore when walking down the aisle at Westminster Abbey. The gown was made from ivory silk satin, encrusted with 10,000 seed pearls, and embroidered with star lilies and orange blossoms. It cost a whopping ꌰ,000 (that&aposs about $37,000) and took seven weeks to make. This wasn&apost just extravagant costuming, though. The gown was an exact replica of the one Princess Elizabeth wore when she wed Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey in 1947.

Princess Elizabeth&aposs dress was designed by royal couturier Norman Hartnell, who, according to Harper&aposs Bazaar, was inspired by Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli&aposs "Primavera", full of flowing lines and flowers that are reminiscent of the painting. According to the Royal Collection Trust, the gown and its evocation of spring was meant to symbolize "rebirth and growth" in Britain after the war.

It took 350 women nearly two months to bring Hartnell&aposs design to life. It wasn&apost just the embroidering of the 13-foot train, careful tailoring of the bodice, and importing the pearls from America that took so long. In 1947, the United Kingdom was working to rebuild after the devastation of World War II, and the country had strict austerity measures in place which applied to princesses as well as commoners. That meant that Princess Elizabeth had to pay for her dress with clothing ration coupons, which she dutifully saved up until she had enough to pay for the gown with a little help from the government in the form of a 200-coupon supplement. According to Town & Country, when some of the soon-to-be Queen&aposs young admirers heard about the rationing, they tried to send their own coupons to Elizabeth. However, transferring coupons was illegal, they were all returned with a thank you note and the princess paid for her gown herself.

WATCH: Iconic Wedding Dresses

Her patience paid off and the dress was absolutely gorgeous. It had a high neckline and long sleeves paired with a carefully tailored bodice and full skirt that led to a dramatic train that trailed after the soon-to-be queen. The young bride finished the look with a double strand of pearls and a diamond tiara. Since even royal weddings have a little behind-the-scenes drama, according to Town & Country, Elizabeth&aposs crown broke as she was getting ready for the ceremony and a royal jeweler had to rush over to repair it before the wedding.



Buckingham Palace Marks Queen's 60th Wedding Anniversary

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Contents

General history Edit

Unlike the Crown Jewels—which mainly date from the accession of Charles II—the jewels are not official regalia or insignia. Much of the collection was designed for queens regnant and queens consort, though some kings have added to the collection. Most of the jewellery was purchased from other European heads of state and members of the aristocracy, or handed down by older generations of the Royal family, often as birthday and wedding presents. In recent years, Elizabeth has worn them in her capacity as Queen of Australia, Canada and New Zealand, and can be seen wearing jewels from her collection in official portraits made specially for these realms. [4]

The House of Hanover dispute Edit

In 1714, with the accession of George I, the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Hanover both came to be ruled in personal union by the House of Hanover. Early Hanoverian monarchs were careful to keep the heirlooms of the two realms separate. George III gave half the British heirlooms to his bride, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, as a wedding present. In her will, Charlotte left the jewels to the 'House of Hanover'. The Kingdom of Hanover followed the Salic Law, whereby the line of succession went through male heirs. Thus, when Queen Victoria acceded to the throne of the United Kingdom, her uncle Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale became King of Hanover. King Ernest demanded a portion of the jewellery, not only as the monarch of Hanover but also as the son of Queen Charlotte. Victoria flatly declined to hand over any of the jewels, claiming they had been bought with British money. Ernest's son, George V of Hanover, continued to press the claim. Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, suggested that she make a financial settlement with the Hanoverian monarch to keep the jewels, but Parliament informed the Queen they would neither purchase the jewels nor loan funds for the purpose. A parliamentary commission was set up to investigate the matter and in 1857 they found in favour of the House of Hanover. On 28 January 1858, 10 years after Ernest's death, the jewels were handed to the Hanoverian Ambassador, Count Erich von Kielmansegg. [5] Victoria did manage to keep one of her favourite pieces of jewellery: a fine rope of pearls. [6]

Some pieces of jewellery made before the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 are regarded as heirlooms owned by the Queen in right of the Crown and pass from one monarch to the next in perpetuity. Objects made later, including official gifts, [7] can also be added to that part of the Royal Collection at the sole discretion of a monarch. [8] It is not possible to say how much the collection is worth because the jewels have a rich and unique history, and they are unlikely to be sold on the open market. [9]

In the early 20th century, five other lists of jewellery, which have also never been published, supplemented those left to the Crown by Queen Victoria: [10]

  • Jewels left to the Crown by Her Majesty Queen Victoria
  • Jewels left by Her Majesty to His Majesty the King
  • Jewels left to His Majesty King Edward VII by Her Majesty Queen Victoria, hereinafter to be considered as belonging to the Crown and to be worn by all future Queens in right of it
  • Jewels the property of His Majesty King George V
  • Jewels given to the Crown by Her Majesty Queen Mary
  • Jewels given to the Crown by His Majesty King George V

Delhi Durbar Tiara Edit

The Delhi Durbar Tiara was made by Garrard & Co. for Queen Mary, the wife of King George V, to wear at the Delhi Durbar in 1911. [11] As the Crown Jewels never leave the country, George V had the Imperial Crown of India made to wear at the Durbar, and Queen Mary wore the tiara. It was part of a set of jewellery made for Queen Mary to use at the event which included a necklace, stomacher, brooch and earrings. Made of gold and platinum, the tiara is 8 cm (3 in) tall and has the form of a tall circlet of lyres and S-scrolls linked by festoons of diamonds. It was originally set with 10 of the Cambridge emeralds, acquired by Queen Mary in 1910 and first owned by her grandmother, the Duchess of Cambridge. In 1912, the tiara was altered to take one or both of the Cullinan III and IV diamonds the pear-shaped diamond was held at the top, and the cushion-shaped stone hung in the oval aperture underneath. [11] Mary lent the tiara to Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) for the 1947 royal tour of South Africa, and it remained with her until she died in 2002, when it passed to Queen Elizabeth II. In 2005, the Queen lent the tiara to her daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cornwall. [11]

Queen Mary Fringe Tiara Edit

This tiara, which can also be worn as a necklace, was made for Queen Mary in 1919. It is not, as has sometimes been claimed, made with diamonds that once belonged to George III, but reuses diamonds taken from a necklace/tiara purchased by Queen Victoria from Collingwood & Co. as a wedding present for Princess Mary in 1893. In August 1936, Mary gave the tiara to her daughter-in-law, Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother). [12] When Queen Elizabeth, consort of King George VI, first wore the tiara, Sir Henry Channon called it "an ugly spiked tiara". [13] Later, she lent the piece to her daughter, Princess Elizabeth (future Elizabeth II), as "something borrowed" for her wedding to Prince Philip in 1947. [12] As Princess Elizabeth was getting dressed at Buckingham Palace before leaving for Westminster Abbey, the tiara snapped. Luckily, the court jeweller [ who? ] was standing by in case of any emergency, and was rushed to his work room by a police escort. The Queen Mother reassured her daughter that it would be fixed in time, and it was. [14] She lent it to her granddaughter, Princess Anne, for her wedding to Captain Mark Phillips in 1973. [15] It was later loaned to Princess Beatrice for her wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in 2020. [16]

It was put on show at an exhibition with a number of other royal tiaras in 2001. [17]

George III Fringe Tiara Edit

The George III Fringe Tiara is a circlet incorporating brilliant diamonds that were formerly owned by George III. Originally commissioned in 1830, the tiara has been worn by many queens consort. Originally, it could be worn as a collar or necklace or mounted on a wire to form the tiara. Queen Victoria wore it as a tiara during a visit to the Royal Opera in 1839. In Franz Xaver Winterhalter's painting The First of May, completed in 1851, Victoria can be seen wearing it as she holds Prince Arthur, the future Duke of Connaught and Strathearn. In a veiled reference to the adoration of the Magi, the Duke of Wellington is seen presenting the young prince with a gift. [15]

Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara Edit

The Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara (ru:Владимирская тиара), sometimes the Diamond and Pearl Tiara, was bought, along with a diamond rivière, by Queen Mary from Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia, mother of the Duchess of Kent, in 1921 for a price of £28,000. [18] The grand duchess, known after her marriage as Princess Nicholas of Greece, inherited it from her mother, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, who received it as a wedding gift from her husband in 1874. It originally had 15 large drop pearls, and was made by the jeweller Carl Edvard Bolin at a cost of 48,200 rubles. [19] [20]

During the Russian Revolution in 1917, the tiara was hidden with other jewels somewhere in Vladimir Palace in Petrograd, and later saved from Soviet Russia by Albert Stopford, a British art dealer and secret agent. [21] In the years to follow, Princess Nicholas sold pieces of jewellery from her collection to support her exiled family and various charities. [22]

Queen Mary had the tiara altered to accommodate 15 of the Cambridge cabochon emeralds. The original drop pearls can easily be replaced as an alternative to the emeralds. Queen Elizabeth II inherited the tiara directly from her grandmother in 1953. [23] It is almost exclusively worn together with the Cambridge and Delhi Durbar parures, also containing large emeralds. Elizabeth wore the tiara in her official portrait as Queen of Canada as none of the Commonwealth realms besides the United Kingdom have their own crown jewels. [22]

Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara Edit

The Queen's first tiara was a wedding present in 1947 from her grandmother, Queen Mary, who received it as a gift from the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland in 1893 on the occasion of her marriage to the Duke of York, later George V. [24] Made by E. Wolfe & Co., it was purchased from Garrard & Co. by a committee organised by Lady Eve Greville. [25] In 1914, Mary adapted the tiara to take 13 diamonds in place of the large oriental pearls surmounting the tiara. Leslie Field, author of The Queen's Jewels, described it as, "a festoon-and-scroll with nine large oriental pearls on diamond spikes and set on a base of alternate round and lozenge collets between two plain bands of diamonds". At first, Elizabeth wore the tiara without its base and pearls but the base was reattached in 1969. [26] The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara is one of Elizabeth's most recognisable pieces of jewellery due to its widespread appearance in portraits of the monarch on British banknotes and coinage. [27]

Burmese Ruby Tiara Edit

Elizabeth ordered the Burmese Ruby Tiara in 1973, and it was made by Garrard & Co. using stones from her private collection. It is designed in the form of a wreath of roses, with silver and diamonds making the petals, and clusters of gold and rubies forming the centre of the flowers. [28] A total of 96 rubies are mounted on the tiara they were originally part of a necklace given to her in 1947 as a wedding present by the people of Burma (now Myanmar), who credited them with having the ability to protect their owner from sickness and evil. [29] The diamonds were also given to her as a wedding present, by the Nizam of Hyderabad and Berar, who possessed a vast jewellery collection of his own. [30]

Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik Tiara Edit

The Kokoshnik Tiara was presented to Alexandra, Princess of Wales, as a 25th wedding anniversary gift in 1888 by Lady Salisbury on behalf of 365 peeresses of the United Kingdom. She had always wanted a tiara in the style of a kokoshnik (Russian for "cock's comb"), a traditional Russian folk headdress, and knew the design well from a tiara belonging to her sister, Maria Feodorovna, the Empress of Russia. It was made by Garrard & Co. and has vertical white gold bars pavé-set with diamonds, the longest of which is 6.5 cm (2.5 in). [31] In a letter to her aunt, the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Princess Mary wrote, "The presents are quite magnificent [. ] The ladies of society gave [Alexandra] a lovely diamond spiked tiara". [32] Upon the death of Queen Alexandra, the tiara passed to her daughter-in-law, Queen Mary, who bequeathed it to Elizabeth in 1953. [33]

Queen Mary's Lover's Knot Tiara Edit

In 1913, Queen Mary asked Garrard & Co. to make a copy of a tiara owned by her grandmother, Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel, using the queen's own diamonds and pearls. French in its neo-classical design, the tiara has 19 oriental pearls suspended from lover's knot bows each centred with a large brilliant. Mary left the tiara to Elizabeth II, who later gave it to Diana, Princess of Wales, as a wedding present. She wore it often, notably with her 'Elvis dress' on a visit to Hong Kong in 1989, but on her divorce from Prince Charles it was returned to the Queen. [34] The Duchess of Cambridge has worn it to a number of state occasions since 2015. [35]

Meander Tiara Edit

This tiara was a wedding present to Elizabeth from her mother-in-law, Princess Alice of Greece and Denmark. [36] The Meander Tiara is in the classical Greek key pattern, with a large diamond in the centre enclosed by a laurel wreath of diamonds. It also incorporates a wreath of leaves and scrolls on either side. The Queen has never worn this item in public, and it was given in 1972 to her daughter, Princess Anne, who has frequently worn the tiara in public, notably during her engagement to Captain Mark Phillips [37] and for an official portrait marking her 50th birthday. Anne lent the tiara to her daughter, Zara Philips, to use at her wedding to Mike Tindall in 2011. [38]

Halo Tiara Edit

This tiara, made by Cartier in 1936, was purchased by the Duke of York (later King George VI) for his wife (later the Queen Mother) three weeks before they became king and queen. It has a rolling cascade of 16 scrolls that converge on two central scrolls topped by a diamond. Altogether, it contains 739 brilliants and 149 baton diamonds. [39] The tiara was given to Elizabeth on her 18th birthday in 1944, and was borrowed by Princess Margaret, who used it at the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. [40] Later, Elizabeth lent the Halo Tiara to Princess Anne, before giving her the Greek Meander Tiara in 1972. The Halo Tiara was lent to the Duchess of Cambridge to wear at her wedding to Prince William in 2011. [41]

Greville Tiara Edit

This tiara was left to Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) by Dame Margaret Greville upon Greville's death in 1942. Made by Boucheron in 1920, the tiara features a honeycomb-patterned diamond lattice and was a favorite of the Queen Mother. The Queen inherited the tiara from her mother in 2002 and subsequently placed it under long-term loan to the Duchess of Cornwall. [42]

Queen Mary's Diamond Bandeau Tiara Edit

The tiara was made in 1932 for Queen Mary. [43] Its centre brooch had been a wedding gift from the County of Lincoln in 1893. The tiara is a platinum band, made up of eleven sections, a detachable centre brooch with interlaced opals and diamonds. The tiara was lent to the Duchess of Sussex to use at her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018. [44]

Lotus Flower Tiara Edit

This tiara was created by Garrard London in the 1920s. Made out of pearls and diamonds, it was made from a necklace originally given to Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) as a wedding gift. It was often worn by Princess Margaret, upon whose death, the tiara was returned to the Queen's collection. The tiara has been worn at a number of state occasions by the Queen's granddaughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge. [45]

Strathmore Rose Tiara Edit

Given to the Queen Mother as a wedding gift by her father the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, this floral piece was worn by the Queen Mother for a few years following her marriage. It has been a part of the Queen's collection since her mother's death in 2002. [45]

Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara Edit

Like the Greville [honeycomb] Tiara, this tiara was also part of Dame Margaret Greville's 1942 bequest to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The tiara was constructed by Boucheron in 1919 and features diamonds and several large emeralds in a kokoshnik-style platinum setting. Princess Eugenie of York wore the tiara at her October 2018 wedding this marked the first public wearing of the tiara by a member of the royal family. [46]

The Queen Mother's Cartier Bandeau Edit

Composed of ruby, emerald, and sapphire bracelets given to the Queen Mother by King George VI, the set was worn by the Queen Mother in the form of a bandeau. It is now a part of the Queen's collection who has worn the pieces individually as bracelets over the years and has also lent them to other members of the royal family. [45]

Coronation Earrings Edit

Like the Coronation Necklace, these earrings have been worn by queens regnant and consort at every coronation since 1901. Made for Queen Victoria in 1858 using the diamonds from an old Garter badge, they are of typical design: a large brilliant followed by a smaller one, with a large pear-shaped drop. The drops were originally part of the Koh-i-Noor armlet. [47] After they had been made, Victoria wore the earrings and matching necklace in the painting Queen Victoria by the European court painter, Franz Winterhalter. [48]

Greville Chandelier Earrings Edit

These 7.5 cm (3 in) long chandelier earrings made by Cartier in 1929 have three large drops adorned with every modern cut of diamond. [49] The earrings were purchased by Margaret Greville, who left them to her friend the Queen Mother in 1942, and Elizabeth's parents gave them to her in 1947 as a wedding present. [50] However, she was not able to use them until she had her ears pierced. When the public noticed that her ears had been pierced, doctors and jewellers found themselves inundated with requests by women anxious to have their ears pierced too. [51]

Greville Pear-drop Earrings Edit

As well as the chandelier earrings, and 60 other pieces of jewellery, Mrs Greville left the Queen Mother a set of pear-drop earrings that she had bought from Cartier in 1938. The pear-shaped drop diamonds each weigh about 20 carats (4 g). Diana, Princess of Wales, borrowed them in 1983 to wear on her first official visit to Australia. At a state banquet, she wore the earrings with a tiara from her family's own collection. [52] The Greville Pear-drop Earrings passed to the Queen upon her mother's death in 2002. [53]

Queen Victoria's Stud Earrings Edit

A pair of large, perfectly matched brilliant cut diamonds set as ear studs for Queen Victoria. [54]

Bahrain Diamond and Pearl Earrings Edit

Made out of a "shell containing seven pearls" that were given to Elizabeth as a wedding gift by the Hakim of Bahrain, these earrings consist of a round diamond followed by a circle diamond from which three baguette diamonds are suspended. At the bottom, three smaller diamonds are attached to the round pearl. [55] These earrings were occasionally lent by the Queen to Diana, Princess of Wales, the Countess of Wessex, and the Duchess of Cambridge. [56] [57]

Queen Anne and Queen Caroline Pearl Necklaces Edit

Both necklaces consist of a single row of large graduated pearls with pearl clasps. The Queen Anne Necklace is said to have belonged to Queen Anne, the last British monarch of the Stuart dynasty. Horace Walpole, the English art historian, wrote in his diary, "Queen Anne had but few jewels and those indifferent, except one pearl necklace given to her by Prince George". Queen Caroline, on the other hand, had a great deal of valuable jewellery, including no fewer than four pearl necklaces. She wore all the pearl necklaces to her coronation in 1727, but afterwards had the 50 best pearls selected to make one large necklace. In 1947, both necklaces were given to Elizabeth by her father as a wedding present. On her wedding day, Elizabeth realised that she had left her pearls at St James's Palace. Her private secretary, Jock Colville, was asked to go and retrieve them. He commandeered the limousine of King Haakon VII of Norway, but traffic that morning had stopped, so even the king's car with its royal flag flying could not get anywhere. Colville completed his journey on foot, and when he arrived at St James's Palace, he had to explain the odd story to the guards who were protecting Elizabeth's 2,660 wedding presents. They let him in after finding his name on a guest list, and he was able to get the pearls to the princess in time for her portrait in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace. [58]

King Faisal of Saudi Arabia Necklace Edit

A gift from King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, it is a fringe necklace in design and set with brilliant and baguette cut diamonds. King Faisal bought the necklace, made by the American jeweller Harry Winston, and presented it to her while on a state visit to the United Kingdom in 1967. Before his departure, the Queen wore it to a banquet at the Dorchester hotel. She also lent the necklace to Diana, Princess of Wales, to wear on a state visit to Australia in 1983. [59]

Festoon Necklace Edit

In 1947, George VI commissioned a three-strand necklace with over 150 brilliant cut diamonds from his inherited collection. It consists of three small rows of diamonds with a triangle motif. The minimum weight of this necklace is estimated to be 170 carats (34 g). [51]

King Khalid of Saudi Arabia Necklace Edit

This necklace was given to the Queen by King Khalid of Saudi Arabia in 1979. It is of the sunray design and contains both round and pear shaped diamonds. Like the King Faisal necklace, it was made by Harry Winston, and the Queen often lent the necklace to Diana, Princess of Wales. [60]

Greville Ruby Floral Bandeau Necklace Edit

This necklace was made in 1907 by Boucheron for Margaret Greville. It was a part of her 1942 bequest to Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother), and Elizabeth's parents gave them to her in 1947 as a wedding present. She wore the necklace frequently in her younger years up until the 1980s. [51] In 2017, it was loaned to the Duchess of Cambridge for a State Banquet for King Felipe VI of Spain. The Queen wore it again for the first time in over 30 years in 2018 at a dinner as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace Edit

A diamond necklace made by Cartier in the 1930s. It was a wedding gift to Elizabeth on her wedding to Prince Philip from the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, in 1947. The Nizam's entire gift set for the future Queen of the United Kingdom included a diamond tiara and matching necklace, whose design was based on English roses. The tiara has three floral brooches that can be detached and used separately. The Duchess of Cambridge has also worn the necklace. [55]

Coronation Necklace Edit

Made for Queen Victoria in 1858 by Garrard & Co., the Coronation Necklace is 38 cm (15 in) long and consists of 25 cushion diamonds and the 22-carat (4.4 g) Lahore Diamond as a pendant. It has been used together with the Coronation Earrings by queens regnant and consort at every coronation since 1901. [61]

Diamond and Pearl Choker Edit

The four-strand piece of "layered strings of cultured pearls" was originally given to Elizabeth from Japan in the 1970s. [62] [63] She wore it to many occasions, including Margaret Thatcher's 70th birthday in 1995. [63] It was loaned to Diana, Princess of Wales, for one of her first engagements as a royal, as well as a 1982 banquet at Hampton Court Palace and a trip to the Netherlands in the same year. [63] [64] Later, the piece was loaned to the Duchess of Cambridge, who has worn it to the anniversary of the Queen and Prince Philip's wedding in 2017 [55] as well as Philip's funeral in 2021. [63]

Cullinan III & IV ("Granny's Chips") Edit

Cullinan III and IV are two of several stones cut from the Cullinan Diamond in 1905. The large diamond, found in South Africa, was presented to Edward VII on his 66th birthday. Two of the stones cut from the diamond were the 94.4-carat (18.88 g) Cullinan III, a clear pear-shaped stone, and a 63.6-carat (12.72 g) cushion-shaped stone. Queen Mary had these stones made into a brooch with the Cullinan III hanging from IV. Elizabeth inherited the brooch in 1953 from her grandmother. On 25 March 1958, while she and Prince Philip were on a state visit to the Netherlands, the Queen revealed that Cullinan III and IV are known in her family as "Granny's Chips". The couple visited the Asscher Diamond Company, where the Cullinan had been cut 50 years earlier. It was the first time the Queen had publicly worn the brooch. During her visit, she unpinned the brooch and offered it for examination to Louis Asscher, the brother of Joseph Asscher who had originally cut the diamond. Elderly and almost blind, Asscher was deeply moved by the fact the Queen had brought the diamonds with her, knowing how much it would mean to him seeing them again after so many years. [65]

Cullinan V Edit

The smaller 18.8-carat (3.76 g) Cullinan V is a heart-shaped diamond cut from the same rough gem as III and IV. It is set in the centre of a platinum brooch that formed a part of the stomacher made for Queen Mary to wear at the Delhi Durbar in 1911. The brooch was designed to show off Cullinan V and is pavé-set with a border of smaller diamonds. It can be suspended from the VIII brooch and can be used to suspend the VII pendant. It was often worn like this by Mary who left all the brooches to Elizabeth when she died in 1953. [66]

Prince Albert Sapphire Brooch Edit

The Prince Albert sapphire brooch was given by Prince Albert to Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace on 9 February 1840. It was the day before their wedding, and Victoria wrote in her diary that Albert came to her sitting room and gave her "a beautiful sapphire and diamond brooch". [67]

Queen Victoria's Diamond Fringe Brooch Edit

This piece is made out of "nine chains pave-set with brilliant-cut diamonds" at the bottom and larger diamonds put together at the top, which were given to Queen Victoria by the Ottoman Sultan in 1856. The piece was frequently worn by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and after her death it was returned to the Queen's collection. [68]

Sapphire Jubilee Snowflake Brooch Edit

The Governor-General of Canada, David Johnston, presented The Queen with the Sapphire Jubilee Snowflake Brooch at a celebration of Canada's sesquicentennial at Canada House on 19 July 2017 as a gift from the Government of Canada to celebrate the Queen's Sapphire Jubilee and to commemorate Canada 150. [69] [70] David Johnston presented The Queen with the brooch moments before she and the Duke of Edinburgh unveiled a new Jubilee Walkway panel outside Canada House. The brooch was designed as a companion to the diamond maple leaf brooch, the piece was made by Hillberg and Berk of Saskatchewan and consists of sapphires from a cache found in 2002 on Baffin Island by brothers Seemeega and Nowdluk Aqpik. [71]

Diamond Maple Brooch Edit

The piece was crafted by J. W. Histed Diamonds Ltd. in Vancouver, Canada. [72] It holds baguette-cut diamonds mounted in platinum, formed in the shape of the sugar maple tree leaf, the national emblem of Canada. [72] [73] The brooch was originally presented to the Queen Mother on her tour of Canada with her husband in 1933. [73] The piece was worn by Elizabeth II, then a princess, on her 1951 trip to Canada, and multiple instances since both within the country and in Britain. [73] [72] It was worn by the Duchess of Cornwall on her trips to the nation in 2009 and 2012. [73] [72] The Duchess of Cambridge has worn it during both her tours of Canada in 2011 and 2016. [72]

New Zealand Silver Fern Brooch Edit

The brooch was given to the Queen by Annie Allum, wife of John Allum, Mayor of Auckland, during her 1953 visit to New Zealand, [74] [55] as a Christmas present "from the woman of Auckland". [74] It is "bejewelled with round brilliant and baguette shaped diamonds", having been designed to form the shape of a fern, an emblem of New Zealand. [74] [75] Various members of the royal family have worn the piece on visits to the country, including the Duchess of Cambridge. [74] [55]

Richmond Brooch Edit

The Richmond Brooch was made by Hunt and Raskell in 1893, and given to Queen Mary as a wedding present. [76] She wore it on her honeymoon, and bequeathed it to Elizabeth after her death. [76] It features "diamonds, set with two pearls—one large round center pearl and the detachable pearl", as well as a pear-shaped, pearl-drop component that is removeable. [76] The grand diamond piece is one of the largest within the Queen's collection. [76] Elizabeth has worn it to many evening receptions and engagements, including the 2018 Festival of Remembrance and the 2021 funeral of her husband. [77]

A parure is a set of matching jewellery to be used together which first became popular in 17th-century Europe.

Brazil Parure Edit

The Brazil Parure is one of the newest items of jewellery in the collection. In 1953, the president and people of Brazil presented Elizabeth II with the coronation gift of a necklace and matching pendant earrings of aquamarines and diamonds. [78] It had taken the jewellers Mappin & Webb an entire year to collect the perfectly matched stones. The necklace has nine large oblong aquamarines with an even bigger aquamarine pendant drop. The Queen had the drop set in a more decorative diamond cluster and it is now detachable. She was so delighted with the gift that in 1957 she had a tiara made to match the necklace. [78] The tiara is surmounted by three vertically set aquamarines. Seeing that the Queen had so liked the original Coronation gift that she had a matching tiara made, the Government of Brazil decided to add to its gift, and in 1958 it presented Elizabeth II with a bracelet of oblong aquamarines set in a cluster of diamonds, and a square aquamarine and diamond brooch. [79]

George VI Victorian Suite Edit

The George VI Victorian Suite was originally a wedding present by George VI to his daughter Elizabeth in 1947. The suite consists of a long necklace of oblong sapphires and diamonds and a pair of matching square sapphire earrings also bordered with diamonds. The suite was originally made in 1850. The stones exactly matched the colour of the robes of the Order of the Garter. Elizabeth had the necklace shortened by removing the biggest sapphire in 1952, and later had a new pendant made using the removed stone. In 1963, a new sapphire and diamond tiara and bracelet were made to match the original pieces. The tiara is made out of a necklace that had belonged to Princess Louise of Belgium, daughter of Leopold II. In 1969, the Queen wore the complete parure to a charity concert. [80]

For the coronation of their parents in 1937, it was decided that Elizabeth and Margaret should be given small versions of crowns to wear at the ceremony. Ornate coronets of gold lined with crimson and edged with ermine were designed by Garrard & Co. and brought to the royal couple for inspection. However, the king and queen decided they were inappropriately elaborate and too heavy for the young princesses. [81] Queen Mary suggested the coronets be silver-gilt in a medieval style with no decorations. George VI agreed, and the coronets were designed with Maltese crosses and fleurs-de-lis. After the coronation, Mary wrote: "I sat between Maud and Lilibet (Elizabeth), and Margaret came next. They looked too sweet in their lace dresses and robes, especially when they put on their coronets". [82] The coronation ensembles are in the Royal Collection Trust. [83]


The Story of Queen Elizabeth’s Engagement Ring

One of the many fabulous things about the Netflix historical drama The Crown is all the behind the scenes views of royal family life. The eye-popping luxury of the lifestyle with the palaces and teams of people assisting the royals every need from dressing them to reloading their shotguns on hunts. Yet, everything is far from perfect at Buckingham Palace. The Windsor family’s famous dysfunctions are also on full display. In fact, it’s the chinks in the proverbial armor that are part of what make the story so riveting.

In the first episode, ‘Wolferton Splash,’ the politics surrounding young Princess Elizabeth’s wedding to Prince Philip and her steely resolve play into the plot. What was left out was the drama surrounding her engagement ring and wedding jewelry.

The design of Elizabeth’s ring was a royal family affair. Her creative and frugal suitor, Prince Philip, used diamonds from a tiara that belonged to his mother, Princess Andrew of Greece. His uncle, Earl Mountbatten, who liked to design jewelry for his wife Edwina, recommended the London jeweler Philip Antrobus Ltd. The engagement ring Philip conceived was a personal statement, not a flashy show of rank. It had a relatively small center stone for the future queen of England, a 3-carat round diamond. The gem was flanked by several smaller diamonds and set in platinum.

There was only one problem with the ring. On the big day, July 8, 1947, when Philip asked Elizabeth for her hand, the ring was too big to fit on her finger. It was resized in less than two days so Elizabeth could wear it to the Buckingham Palace garden party where the couple officially announced the engagement.

Among Elizabeth’s jewelry wedding gifts are the convertible fringe tiara displayed as a necklace and the Queen Anne and Queen Caroline pearl necklaces Photo Getty

On Elizabeth and Philip’s wedding day, November 20, 1947, there were more jewelry mishaps. As the princess was getting dressed at Buckingham Palace and the convertible diamond fringe necklace—which was Elizabeth’s “something borrowed” from her mother and originally belonged to Queen Mary—was being fitted on its frame to be worn as a tiara, a part popped off the jewel. When the jewelry mishap occurred the staff and security whipped into action. The court jeweler in attendance received a police escort back to the workroom to quickly repair it.

When someone realized the necklaces were still on exhibit at St. James’s Palace with the rest of the wedding presents, the princess’s private secretary raced there to get them with just a half hour to spare before the carriage procession to Westminster Abbey. Elizabeth miraculously made it to the church on time with every jewel in place.


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