It’s not secret british royal family has one of the world’s most expensive and extensive collection of jewels.
Many of the family’s best pieces came from Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, whose legacy will forever be linked to her incredible jewels.
Today some of her grandest tiaras, necklaces, earrings and rings are worn by the other women to follow in her footsteps including the monarch, allowing the beloved royal to be remembered by generations to come.
In days gone by month of August would see the royal family come together to celebrate the Queen Mother’s birthday – August 4 – so in honor of the former Queen Consort here are some of her most iconic royal jewels and who they can be seen on now.
The Strathmore Rose tiara
Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon married Albert, Duke of York, in 1923 and the event brought her the “first real experience of owning and wearing jewelery of real distinction”, author Hugh Roberts writes in The Queen’s Diamonds.
Among her numerous wedding presents were some notable jewels, including a diamond tiara in the form of a rose garland gifted by Elizabeth’s father Lord Strathmore.
It became known as the Strathmore Rose tiara.
She wore the tiara many times while Duchess of York, including for an official portrait and on her wedding day.
Featuring a garland of roses in rose-cut diamonds, mounted in silver and gold, the tiara was likely made in the late 1800s. It is designed to be worn across the forehead in a bandeau style – popular during the 1920s – but can also be worn on top of the head in the more traditional manner.
The flowers can be removed and worn as brooches and were occasionally swapped for sapphires.
As Queen Elizabeth, she wore the tiara many times during her husband’s reign and kept the piece until her death in 2002.
It is now in Queen Elizabeth II’s personal collection, but has not been worn by any members of the royal family since.
As Duchess of York, Elizabeth preferred simple jewels such as brooches and pearl necklaces.
But it would be her husband’s succession to King upon the abdication of his brother that would see Elizabeth, the Duchess of York, gain an even more impressive jewelery collection as her tastes matched those of a Queen Consort.
Cartier Halo tiara
This tiara was purchased by the Duke of York on November 18, 1936, three weeks before succeeded his brother as King George VI, and worn by his wife while she was still a duchess.
Made by Cartier, the tiara was designed in the popular ‘halo’ style to suit the hairstyles of the 1930s and set with 739 brilliant-cut diamonds and 149 baton-cut diamonds.
Queen Elizabeth gave the tiara to her daughter, then Princess Elizabeth, as an 18th birthday present in 1944.
It was later loaned to Princess Margaret in the 1950s and borrowed by Princess Anne in the 1970s.
When the Queen Mother passed away in 2002, the tiara became part of the Queen’s collection.
Her Majesty loaned the Halo tiara to Kate Middleton when she married Prince William on April 29, 2011, at Westminster Abbey.
But it has not been worn by the now Duchess of Cambridge since.
Art Deco diamond ring
The Queen Mother owned many large rings and her engagement ring was a large sapphire stunner.
But she often swapped her rings around, sometimes wearing a pearl ring in its place.
Another ring occasionally worn by the Queen Mother on her wedding finger was an Art-Deco emerald-cut ring.
That piece was left to Prince Charles who later presented it to Camilla when he proposed.
The platinum ring features a five-carat emerald cut diamond with three baguette cut diamonds on both sides.
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Author Tina Brown writes in her book The Palace Papers that “the Queen signed off on Charles choosing Camilla’s engagement ring from one of the Queen Mother’s collection” adding it was “more valuable than the engagement ring given to Diana”.
But, “his grandmother would have turned in her grave at Windsor Castle if she had known who was destined to wear her emerald-cut diamond bequest.”
Following their wedding in 2005, the Duchess of Cornwall wears the ring with her Welsh gold wedding band.
Sapphire fringe earrings
Since marrying into the royal family the Duchess of Cambridge has worn several heirloom jewels and a favorite of hers appears to be the Queen Mother’s sapphire fringe earrings.
Most recently they were seen on Kate at Westminster Abbey when she hosted the Royal Carols: Together At Christmas concert.
The earrings were first worn on the duchess in 2015 at an event inside the Victoria and Albert museum.
She later wore them at a gala inside Buckingham Palace in June 2019 hosted in honor of then-US President Donald Trump’s visit to the UK.
They are set in an Art Deco design with a diamond fringe suspended from a sapphire and diamond cluster and they move delicately while being worn.
The earrings are likely a favorite of Kate’s as they pair so well with her sapphire engagement ring, which previously belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales.
The Queen Mother started wearing the earrings in the 1960s but the sapphires may have come from a suite of jewels gifted by Queen Mary for her wedding in 1943.
Greville festoon necklace and Greville tiara
Made by Cartier, the Greville Festoon necklace was bequeathed to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, in 1942 from wealthy society figure Margaret Greville, a collection that included 60 pieces.
The necklace features five rows of diamonds, though she often wore it with just three rows for a less dramatic look.
The necklace was one of the biggest the Queen Mother’s collection, before it passed to her daughter the Queen in 2002.
Her Majesty has since loaned it to the Duchess of Cornwall, along with another of Mrs Greville’s bequests – a tiara which became known as the Greville tiara.
It features many diamonds set in a geometrical honeycomb design and became one of the Queen Mother’s most frequently worn tiaras.
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The tiara was made by Boucheron in the 1920s but remodeled by Cartier in 1953 at the request of the Queen Mother.
It is one of just three tiaras worn by the Duchess of Cornwall. Her access from her to others, and the royal family’s larger jewel collection, will increase when she becomes Queen Consort.
maple leaf brooch
Queen Elizabeth’s jewelery collection grew as her husband the King gifted her with more lavish pieces which, as Hugh Roberts explains, was even more important after the abdication to “uphold the dignity and continuity of the monarchy”.
Made by Asprey & Co in 1939, the Maple leaf brooch was given to Queen Elizabeth by King George VI on their State Visit to Canada in 1939.
Like all the Queen Mother’s jewels, the brooch was inherited by her daughter who often wore it to visit Canada – the most visited Commonwealth country by Her Majesty.
The Queen later loaned the brooch to the Duchess of Cambridge for her royal tour to Canada with Prince William in 2011.
lotus flower tiara
The Duchess of Cambridge wore another of the Queen Mother’s tiaras that was a present from her husband.
But the Lotus flower tiara wasn’t always a headpiece.
The Queen Mother had the tiara made from a necklace gifted by her husband for their wedding.
Garrard, who made the original necklace, used the gemstones to create the tiara which became one of the Queen’s favorite pieces in the early years of her marriage.
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Queen Elizabeth wore the tiara many times during her husband’s reign before it was passed on to her younger daughter, Princess Margaret who was another frequent wearer of the piece.
The tiara can be worn with either diamond or pearl toppers.
The Duchess of Cambridge wore the Lotus Flower tiara for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in October 2015 for the Chinese president.
it’s just one of three tiaras worn by Kate since the royal wedding.
This beautiful piece is formed as a scallop-shell and features pavé-set diamonds around a single pearl.
The brooch was bequeathed to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, by Winifred Hope and it then passed into the collection of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Queen has worn by the brooch many times including at the wedding of Zara and Mike Tindall at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland, on July 30, 2011.
To mark his coronation in 1937, King George VI gave his wife a necklace made of 40 diamonds which came to be known as Queen Elizabeth’s coronation necklace.
The piece was worn to the coronation along with Queen Victoria’s coronation necklace and later in her official coronation portraits and other important photographs in 1939 and 1948.
The coronation necklace was later inherited by the Queen and loaned to the Duchess of Cornwall.
Camilla wore the piece to celebrate her 60th birthday but had the necklace shortened from its 14 stones to just nine.
The Duchess of Cornwall could choose to wear the necklace again at the coronation of her husband, Charles.
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The most spectacular brooches worn by Queen Elizabeth II