Princess Kate's Sweet State Banquet Jewelry Secret: She Wore Queen Elizabeth's Wedding Bracelet!
All the scoop on the sweet meaning behind the royal jewels
While Princess Kate’s tiara was the talk of the town at the state banquet at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening, those weren’t the only royal baubles that Kate borrowed from her grandmother-in-law.
Kate also wore three major pieces from Queen Elizabeth II’s private jewelry collection, significant not only due to their historical importance but also because they are some of the most treasured items belonging to Her Majesty.
On her left wrist, PEOPLE has confirmed that Kate wore the Queen’s very own wedding bracelet — a platinum and diamond piece designed by Prince Philip and given to his bride on their wedding day in 1947. Crafted by Philip Antrobus, and known as The Wedding Gift Bracelet, it features stepped geometric motifs centered around three large diamonds. The bracelet in addition to the Queen’s much-loved engagement ring were made from the same tiara that belonged to the Prince Philip’s mother, Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark.
“I think it certainly shows the high esteem that the duchess is held in,” Elizabeth Galton, Mappin and Webb’s Creative Director, tells PEOPLE, of Princess Kate’s latest and most dazzling loan, adding: “The Queen’s private collection is obviously very personal.”
Indeed, the Queen has worn the statement piece often since her nuptials, including most recently for the official photographs taken to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee.
The other diamond bracelet worn on Kate’s right wrist was another art deco design, this time a favorite of the Queen Mother’s and known as the Queen Mary Chain-Link Bracelet. Made by Garrard & Co. in 1932, the bracelet was originally a choker belonging to Mary of Teck, Queen Consort of George V until the Queen Mother had it made into a bracelet. She can be seen wearing it in the official portraits taken by Norman Parkinson to celebrate her 75th birthday.
Despite the heritage of the pieces, Kate managed to mix and match the traditional with the modern effortlessly. “There was a real sense of modernity despite the fact that they were heirloom pieces,” states Galton who describes Kate’s red floor-sweeping dress by Jenny Packham as “elegant and understated, which is something she does really well.”
Another thing she is doing incredibly well? Settling into life as a senior royal. Kate was given prime position on the head table, next to President Xi Jinping, one space along from the Queen. “The fact that she was seated in the second most prominent position at the banquet speaks volumes,” says Galton, whose jewelry Kate has worn since 2013 and whose brand Mappin and Webb has been serving royal households since they were founded in 1775.
Choosing a glamorous high-neck lace dress from Dolce & Gabbana to wear for an event showcasing the cultural and business tie-ups between Britain and China the morning after the state dinner, she accessorized with her Mappin and Webb Empress diamond earrings. “It was so glamorous and with the new haircut and that flash of sparkle, it was really very nice.”
The British brand who has had a royal warrant since Queen Victoria’s reign and served five generations of British royalty are thrilled to have Kate as a customer. “She carries herself beautifully and is flying the flag for British craftsmanship and brands. It’s really nice to see.”
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