Happy Platinum (70th) Anniversary to the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh! With one of the largest jewellery collections in the world, the Queen is always adorned with valuable and historic jewels. In honour of this very special anniversary, we are taking a look at the Queen’s most special jewels- her Wedding Gift Bracelet from the Duke of Edinburgh.
In 1903, Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra of Russia gave a large aquamarine and diamond tiara and parure to their niece Princess Alice of Battenberg when she married Prince Andrew of Greece, the fourth son of King George I and Queen Olga. Managing to hold on to her parure through the frequent periods of exile and turmoil experienced by the Greek Royal Family, when her only son, Prince Phillip, was going to propose to Princess Elizabeth in 1947, Princess Alice gave him her Tiara to create some jewels for his soon-to-be fiancé.
Among the 2,500 presents received by the couple from around the world, this bracelet was perhaps the most special to the Queen. Months after giving his fiancé an engagement ring made from some diamonds in his mother’s tiara, the soon-to-be Duke of Edinburgh used the remaining diamonds to create this large, geometric, Art Deco bracelet, crafted by Philip Antrobus, with the design dictated by the groom.
In the early years of her married life, the then Princess Elizabeth wore her Wedding Gift Bracelet on a variety of occasions, not just at banquets, but also in portraits and at hotels.
After becoming Queen in 1952, and gaining access to one of the world’s largest private jewellery collection, her Wedding Gift Bracelet was worn in an early series of portraits, along with some more historic heirlooms.
The Wedding Gift Bracelet remained a favourite in the decades since, worn for a vide variety of occasions including their 25th Anniversary portrait. The last time the Queen wore her bracelet was in 2012, for her Diamond Jubilee Portrait, when it a sentimental nod to her long-serving consort.
At the Chinese State Banquet in 2015, the Duchess of Cambridge surprised everyone when she wore the Queen’s Wedding Gift Bracelet, a rare move, as the Queen is known to retain personal jewels, while loaning out others. Worn by the Duchess twice since that date, at the Diplomatic Reception last year and the BAFTA awards earlier this year, the Wedding Gift Bracelet is thought to be a permanent loan to the Duchess, as a mark of the Queen and Duke’s affection.
I wish the Queen and Duke a very Happy Anniversary and many more to come!