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A royal jewellery expert rates the most opulent jewels at the Coronation

Splendour was aplenty at the King Charles III’s Coronation, but some royal jewellery beguiled the eyes just a little more than others.
By Shiva Singham and Caroline ‘Ralph’ Ralphsmith


AFTER 70 YEARS, the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla was to prove magnificent, with its cacophony of ancient ritual, priceless regalia, pomp and circumstance and pure magic. In past coronations, the magnificence was further exaggerated by the abundance of royals, peers and peeresses; trailing velvet and fur-trimmed robes and bedecked in bejewelled family heirlooms. The heads of peeresses seemingly blinding from the gleam of brilliant tiaras and diadems crowning their equally shiny locks.

Albeit planned as a national event of grand importance, their majesties had opted for more modern ensembles during their Coronation spectacle. Formal day dress being the ordered requirement, except working members of the royal family who adorned attire appropriate to the most Senior Order to which they belonged — the Order of the Garter, Thistle or Royal Victorian Order.

The dress code though did not deter royal ladies and other attending female guests from decorating their chosen costumes with an iridescent display of jewels. We rate the best-on-ground regalia from least to most lavish — until that next beguiling day occurs with Prince William’s future Coronation.

Related: The coronation of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla, in photos

Most opulent royal jewellery at the Coronation



Queen Anne-Marie of Greece

Recently widowed Queen Anne-Marie boasts a royal pedigree like none other. Born a Princess of Denmark, she is sister to the Queen of Denmark, aunt to the King of Spain and herself the Queen Consort of the Hellenes. Anne-Marie lived for many years during the Greek royal family’s exile in London and is a close friend to King Charles. William, the Prince of Wales, is godfather to her son Prince Philipos.  Anne-Marie’s jewels for the day included a pair of antique floral diamond cluster and pearl drop earrings, an antique corsage/tiara ornament and a Van Cleef and Arpels diamond swan brooch.



Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden

Royal blue was the chosen hue for matched dress and pillbox hat by Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. The future queen and mother-of -wo accompanied her father, King Carl XVI Gustaf to the ceremony, her neck shimmering under the bright lights with an antique diamond rivière necklace, floral cluster earrings and the diamond encrusted badge of the Royal Family Decoration of King Carl XVI Gustaf thoughtfully pinned to her chest.



Queen Suthida of Thailand

The Queen Consort of Thailand stood out, not only for the resplendent nature of her national costume, but the sheer size of the jewels she wore. To coordinate her blue silk brocade Chut Thai, Suthida premiered her wearing of ‘Queen Sirikit,’ The Queen Mother’s magnificent Ceylon sapphire and diamond demi parure. The grand jewels feature Robin’s egg blue natural sapphires of the highest quality within diamond boarders.



Zara Tindall

Zara Tindall, the equestrian niece of the King, decorated her forget-me-not blue Laura Green coat-dress with a jewel of familial significance. The grand-scale yet delicate Belle Epoque ribbon and tassel diamond brooch had been her uncle’s gift to her mother, the Princess Royal for her first marriage to Captain Mark Phillips in 1973.



Duchess of Edinburgh

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh opted for a stunning pair of modern sapphire and diamond earrings and sapphire and diamond cluster bracelet to complete her regal ensemble. Sophie’s cream floor-length gown was a custom couture piece by Suzannah London and embroidered with British meadow flowers.



Queen Mathilde of Belgium

The Queen Consort of Belgium regaled in a pastel pink cape-back dress and Philip Treacy hat. Mathilde jewel trove, though not substantial by royal standards, features inherited and acquired pieces which she wears to great aplomb. Mathilde’s decorations were a multi-strand seed pearl and diamond choker, pearl drop earrings and an antique diamond butterfly brooch first debuted at a State Banquet in Denmark.



Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

Queen Maxima is another royal lady who enjoys frosting herself with diamonds. In emphasising its sparkle, Maxima chose a white ensemble from Dutch designer, Jan Taminiau, who also provided the dress for her husband, King Willem Alexander’s own inauguration.

Maxima’s chosen splendour was a pair of radiating large drop diamond earrings featuring detachable elements from the Dutch Royal family’s grandest piece, the Stuart Tiara. The tiara itself features the rare green Stuart diamond as well as other very large diamonds that can be transformed into pendants, earrings, and brooches. 



Birgette, The Duchess of Gloucester 

Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester is famed for both her vast inherited treasure trove as well as her bold — and brilliant — jewellery decisions. Glistening at Birgitte’s neck, amongst the voluminous folds of the Duchess’ GCVO (Knight/Dame Grand Cross) mantle was a large diamond rivière necklace. Antique diamond cluster earrings only added to her shine. 



Queen Letizia of Spain

The Spanish Queen, known for her chic style, chose Carolina Herrera to provide her ruffle peplumed rose pink suit with embroidered neckline. Letizia accessorised with a chapeau au champignon and lavishly large diamond earrings from the Joyas a Pasar. The Joyas a Pasar are a substantial suite of diadem jewels that had once belonged to Queen Victoria Eugenie (Ena) of Spain, herself a granddaughter of Empress Queen Victoria.

As a special piece in her collection, Ena left careful instructions for the jewels to be handed down to be worn by subsequent Queens of Spain as opposed to being sold off. It’s described in Ena’s will as “un par de pendientes con un brillante grueso y brillantes alrededor” (a pair of earrings with a large diamond with a diamond border).



Catherine, Princess of Wales

Catherine, Princess of Wales glowed in her Alexander McQueen embroidered gown, mantle of the Royal Victorian Order. In a nod to her late mother-in-law, Catherine wore the Collingwood diamond and pearl earrings that had been amongst Diana’s favourite pieces and worn at her last Australian appearance.