At yesterday’s Spanish State Banquet at Buckingham Palace, the Duchess if Cambridge gave royal watchers a surprise when she showed up in a necklace that had been unseen in 30 years. Learn about this stunning jewel below-
Given as a wedding gift to the then Princess Elizabeth in 1947 by her parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (now known as the Queen Mother), this Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace was original purchased from Boucheron in 1907, by the Hon. Mrs. Ronald Greville, a good friend of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (they even spent their honeymoon at her country house). Upon her death in 1942, she left her entire collection of magnificent jewels to Queen Elizabeth. While the Queen kept several pieces for her own use, she gave this necklace and a few other jewels as wedding gifts to their eldest daughter.
As a distinguished statement piece in a still small collection, the Greville Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace was worn for quite a few events after the wedding, including a 1951 Tour of Canada.
The necklace remained a favourite even after becoming Queen in 1952, with the ‘v’ shape going particularly well with the v-neck and strapless gowns of the time. The Queen, who prefers shorter necklaces, shortened the piece by removing two pieces from the ends.
However, despite a few notable appearances in the 1960s (including the famous photo above), appearances of the Greville Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace started to decrease, especially with the Queen’s necklines going up. It was also around this time, the Queen acquired the Baring Ruby Necklace, which filled in the gap of a ruby necklace in her collection.
One of the last remarkable appearances of the necklace was at the State Opening of Parliament in 1983.
The very last time the Queen was pictured wearing the Greville Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace was in an Official Portrait in 1987.
Then, in July 2017, the Duchess of Cambridge wore the Greville Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace, along with Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara and Diana, Princess of Wales’ Collingwood Pearl and Diamond Earrings, at the State Banquet for King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain. I thought the Duchess wore the piece very well. Her neckline and gown looked custom made for the necklace, and she looked absolutely stunning. I look forward to seeing her wear it again!
UPDATE- The Queen wore the Greville Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace for the first time in 31 years at her Commonwealth Dinner at Buckingham Palace in April 2018. Maybe the Queen saw the necklace on her granddaughter-in-law and wondered “why haven’t I worn this beautiful piece for years?”