Today marks the Anniversary of the Death of the late Diana, Princess of Wales! We covered her Top 20 Jewels to mark the 20th Anniversary of her Death in 2017, a few of her other jewels for the 60th Anniversary of her Birth last month, and today, we are featuring the spectacular King Khalid Diamond Necklace!
In early 1979, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh embarked on an extensive Tour of the Gulf States, their first official visit to the Middle East, receiving many splendid gifts along the way, which included a Sapphire Suite from the Dubai Royal Family. During the State Visit to Saudi Arabia, the Queen received a spectacular Harry Winston Diamond Necklace from King Khalid, consisting of 20 pear-shaped diamond pendants radiating from the central band of diamonds, created around 1977-78.
The Queen first publicly wore the King Khalid Diamond Necklace a few years later, at the premiere of ‘The Absence of Malice’ at the Odeon in Leicester Square in February 1982, paired with a striking teal gown and her diamond chandelier earrings.
A few weeks later, the Queen loaned the King Khalid Diamond Necklace to her new daughter-in-law, the Princess of Wales, for the Royal Gala Performance that opened the Barbican Arts Centre in London, when the pregnant Princess wore an iconic David Sassoon gown.
A few months later, the King Khalid Diamond Necklace was paired with the Spencer Tiara for the at the State Opening of Parliament, a pairing that was repeated for the Dutch State Banquet at Buckingham Palace a few days later, when the story famously goes that the Princess had to find new gowns and jewels after Queen Beatrix unexpectedly gave her the orange Sash of the Order of the Crown.
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After then, the King Khalid Diamond Necklace has been exclusively worn by the Queen, for a State Visit to Singapore in 1989, and then much more frequently in the 2000s, for State Banquets in Malta and France, as well as a Chinese State Banquet and a G8 Summit Dinner, though the necklace was most notably worn at a Dinner to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation in 2003.
The Queen has continued to wear the King Khalid Diamond Necklace in recent years, notably for King Constantine of Greece’s 70th Birthday Dinner 2010, the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee Dinner at Windsor Castle in 2018 and most recently at the 2018 Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace. There is no doubt we will continue seeing the Saudi King’s spectacular gift for years to come!