Duchess of Gloucester’s Pendant Earrings

Composed of an elaborate diamond scroll frames from which large pear-shaped pearls are suspended,  the earrings originally included another element, which has been detached and is now worn separately. The pear-shaped pearls can also be worn separately, as can just the diamond frames. These splendid jewels originate from the collection of Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester, the daughter of King George III and Queen Charlotte, who left them to her niece, Princess Mary Adelaide, the Duchess of Teck, on her death in 1857.

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Princess Mary Adelaide began wearing the earrings soon after, for the Wedding of Victoria, Princess Royal and Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia in 1858. The Duchess was always being portrayed or pictured in a configuration of the pearl stud and pendant, without the diamond frames, pairing them with the  Teck Ears of Wheat Tiara,  the Teck Crescent Tiara, and the .

After her death in 1897, the Duchess of Gloucester’s Pearl Earrings were inherited by her only daughter, Queen Mary, who often wore the top portion separately but was not pictured wearing the diamond frames and pearl pendants. In 1947, Queen Mary gave the top portion, known as the ‘Duchess of Teck’s Pearl Earrings’ as a wedding gift to her granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth, when she married Prince Phillip of Greece, which were worn on her wedding day and for many special occasions througout her long life.

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The Queen eventually inherited the Duchess of Gloucester’s Pearl Earrings upon Queen Mary’s death, and soon made a pairing with the Vladimir Tiara and Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee Necklace, one of the most classic pairings of the Queen’s reign, having been worn for countless occasions througout the past 70 years, including the State Visit to Denmark in 1957, the State Visit to the Netherlands in 1958, a Dinner with King Olav of Norway in 1959, the French State Visit in 1960, the Thai State Visit in 1960, a Royal Film Premiere in 1961, a Gala Performance at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool in 1961, a Gala Performance in 1963, the State Visit to Germany, 1965, and the Italian State Visit in 1969.

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Througout her reign, the Queen’s primary Tiaras have been the Girls of Great Britain & Ireland Tiara, Queen Alexandra’s Kokoshnik Tiara, and the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara, which have been alternated on almost all Tours and and Galas of her Reign. The Duchess of Gloucester’s Pearl Earrings have almost always been worn with the pearl version of the Vladimir Tiara, with more appearences during the Captain Cook Bicentenary Tour in 1970, the Japanese State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in 1971, the State Visit to Thailand, State Visit to Singapore, State Visit to Malaysia, Opening of Parliament in Mauritius, the Dutch State Visit, the Luxembourg State Visit in 1972, the Fanfare for Europe Gala in 1973, the Danish State Visit in 1974, the State Visit to Japan in 1975, the State Visit to Luxembourg in 1976, the Banquet at British Embassy in Washington in 1976, the Summit Dinner at Buckingham Palace in 1977, the Tour of the Gulf States in 1979, the State Visit to Morocco in 1980, the State Visit to Norway in 1981, the Oman State Visit in 1982, the Dutch State Visit in 1982, the visit to California in 1983, State Visit to Nepal in 1986, and the Queen’s 60th Birthday Gala Dinner at Claridge’s Hotel in 1986.

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By the 1990s, the Queen began wearing smaller, less heavier earrings with the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara, and this appearences of the Duchess of Gloucester’s Pearl Earrings began to decline, with notable occasions including a few State Openings of Parliament and the Norwegian Official Visit to Britain in 2005. The Queen also once wore the diamond frame without the pearl pendant for the Royal Variety Performance in 2003. The splendid Duchess of Gloucester’s Pearl Earrings have not been publicly worn in almost 15 years, but lets hope they make an appearance on another member of the Royal Family, particularly the Duchess of Cambridge, sometime soon!

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