The Queen wears some remarkable jewellery. Some of it is huge, and the gemstones set in it are enormous, so impressive that it’s hard to believe they’re real. So what was on display at Harry and Megan’s wedding?
Royal Wedding Jewels – Megan’s stunning diamond tiara
If you noticed Meghan Markle’s sublime tiara at the Royal Wedding and thought ‘that’s nice’, it’s actually a lot more than nice. It was a diamond centred filigree tiara, borrowed from Queen Elizabeth II and apparently originally crafted for Queen Mary, the Princess of Teck, part of the royal collection and known as ‘Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara’.
Rumour has it that the new Duchess of Sussex chose it because of its wonderful simplicity, which perfectly complimented her elegant Givenchy wedding gown. She also wore diamond earrings and a bracelet by Cartier, another faultless choice.
The tiara is made in typical Art Deco style, created in 1932 and featuring a magnificent central ‘brooch’ that can be detached, which dates back to 1893. Made from platinum, the tiara features a flexible band containing eleven sections, each pierced with interleaved ovals and pavé set with lots and lots of big, brilliant diamonds. The brooch in the middle was a gift given to Princess Mary by the county of Lincoln when she married Prince George, Duke of York, way back in 1893. And Queen Elizabeth II herself inherited it in 1953.
More remarkable diamonds – Bling to die for!
Megan’s engagement ring was, of course, in evidence, an exceptional item valued at around £120,000 and designed by Harry. A trilogy diamond engagement ring, it contains two of Diana’s diamonds, one on either side of a central diamond from Botswana. Like all royal brides Meghan wore a wedding band made from gold mined at Clogau St David’s mine in North Wales and made by Cleave and Company, a gift from the Queen.
The Queen herself wore one of the most impressive diamond brooches in her collection, Queen Mary’s so-called Richmond Brooch, a glorious square confection studded with oodles of fiery diamonds set around an enormous central pearl. And Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, wore the most exquisite choker, five strands of massive real pearls with a huge pink topaz and diamond central clasp at the front, an eye-catcher if there ever was one.
The Crown Jewels of the UK
The Queen’s jewels – officially the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom – is a collection of some of the world’s finest, most impressively beautiful items of jewellery, clothing and ceremonial equipment, 140 items in total. They’re kept in the Tower of London, and the oldest piece dates back to the 1100s.
In total the jewels contain more than 23,000 precious and semi-precious stones including the Cullinan I, the world’s biggest ever clear cut diamond weighing in at 530 carats, 106grams. It was itself one of two gems cut from the biggest rough gem-quality diamond ever found, the Cullinan, discovered in South Africa in 1905.
The Imperial State Crown contains the equally impressive Cullinan II, the magnificent Stuart Sapphire, St Edward’s Sapphire, plus the infamous Black Prince’s Ruby, handed to Edward the Black Prince by a Spanish king in 1367. And the Koh-i-Noor diamond, a whopper originally from India, has been set in three different royal crowns through the ages.
The Crown Jewels are owned by the monarch in ‘right of the Crown’ and pass down the generations. The Crown Jeweller, a member of the Royal Household, cleans the jewels at the Tower of London every January, supported by experts from the British Museum. The jewels are not insured and are officially ‘priceless’.
Royal wedding merchandising madness – Treat your crown jewels to some of these!
As you can imagine there’s been a whole load of royal wedding merchandising madness going on. We’ve had great fun looking through it online: mugs, tea towels, masks, T shirts, flags and bunting, money boxes, life-size cardboard cutouts of the happy couple, even a repro engagement ring, a nice bit of pretend bling available for thirty pounds.