The King and the Queen Consort led the royal pack at tonight’s South African state banquet at Buckingham Palace. The couple hosted President Cyril Ramaphosa for the dinner. He wore the newly-gifted insignia of the Order of the Bath for the occasion.
King Charles III wore his usual medals, plus the insignia of the Order of the Garter and the Order of Merit. (I also spot some nifty jeweled buttons on his vest!) Queen Camilla wore the sash and star of the Order of the Garter, plus the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II. Her Bruce Oldfield gown is the same one that she wore for the CHOGM Banquet in Rwanda in June.
Queen Camilla gave us a lovely sapphire surprise at the banquet, wearing jewels that belonged to her late mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II. She donned the Belgian Sapphire Tiara, a converted royal necklace purchased by Elizabeth in the 1960s. Even more meaningfully, she paired the tiara with pieces from the King George VI Sapphire Suite, which was a wedding gift to Elizabeth from her father.
Camilla wore the necklace (without its pendant) and the bracelet (on her right wrist) from the set. Her earrings, modern sapphire and diamond pieces, are not part of the suite. They remind me a bit, design-wise, of the sapphire necklace that she wore for the Royal Variety Performance in 2013. (Remember that Camilla doesn’t have pierced ears, and we’ll likely not be seeing her wear many of the late Queen’s earrings for that reason.) She also wore her blue Van Cleef & Arpels Magic Alhambra Bracelet on her right wrist.
The second lady in the land, the Princess of Wales, wore a stunning gown by Jenny Packham for the banquet. With the dress, she wore the sash and star of the Royal Victorian Order and the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II.
Catherine wore diamonds and pearls with the dress, echoing the color and embellishments of the gown. She reached for her go-to tiara, Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara, for the occasion. (Remember that, regardless of what you read in various publications, this is a different jewel than the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara. We’ve got a guide to help you tell the difference between the two tiaras.)
She also wore the Horseshoe and Laurel Leaf Pearl Drop Earrings from the collection of her late mother-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales. And she secured her order sash with her new Diamond Art Deco Brooch, recently debuted on Remembrance Sunday.
Kate finished off the look with a four-row pearl bracelet that belonged to the late Queen Elizabeth II. The bracelet is part of a set that also includes the Japanese Pearl Choker Necklace. Kate wore both the necklace and the bracelet at the Queen’s funeral in September.
The Countess of Wessex was elegant at the banquet in a dark green gown from Suzannah. She also wore the insignia of the Royal Victorian Order and Queen Elizabeth II’s Royal Family Order.
Her jewels were a mix of personal pieces and royal loans. She wore the Wessex Aquamarine Necklace Tiara, a modern convertible jewel made by Collins & Sons. Her earrings are part of the late Queen’s Pear-Shaped Diamond Demi-Parure. It’s speculated that they were possibly a Saudi gift in the late 1980s. She also wore Queen Elizabeth II’s Modern Fringe Necklace.
I’m still hoping that I’ll have access to better pictures of the Duchess of Gloucester’s jewels from tonight’s banquet. (Cross your fingers!) In the meantime, here’s a glimpse of her arrival. Delightfully, she wore one of the sparkliest jewels in her collection: the Cartier Indian Tiara.