Welcome to the Gracie Jewellery countdown to the Royal Wedding- Part 12
3 Days to go
The tradition of most royal families, Family Orders are the personal gift of the Sovereign and are given to female members of the immediate family. In Great Britain this custom was introduced by King George I, the first of the Hanoverian monarchs. Until the end of Queen Victoria's reign the Order consisted of a cameo miniature set in diamonds, King Edward VII introduced its present form of a portrait painted on ivory.
A new Family Order is established at the start of each reign; the list of those to whom it is given is never publicized. The first anyone know of its presentation is when the recipient wears the Order in public. The 18 year old Princess Anne was give the Order on April 23, 1969 and Diana, the Princess of Wales received hers in November 1982, sixteen months after her marriage. The Badge is worn with evening dress only, or on State occasions, on the left shoulder attached to a heavy moire-silk fringed bow.
The King George V Family Order was established in 1911. His Majesty is portrayed in the uniform of Admiral of the Fleet wearing the Star and Riband of the Garter and the Badge of the Royal Victorian Order. The miniature is surrounded by large brilliant cut diamonds and surmounted by a diamond Imperial crown, within which can be seen a crimson enamelled cap of maintenance. Hidden by the crown is a platinum brooch pin. The back of the Order is gold, and set on it is the royal cypher in diamonds and the date 1911.The pale blue riband bow is the same colour as that of the Royal Guelphic Order of Hanover.
The King George VI Family Order was established in 1937. His Majesty wears the uniform of the Admiral of the Fleet, the Star and Riband of the Garter and the Royal Victorian Chain. In the border, baguette diamonds are placed between every two brilliant cut diamonds. The Imperial crown on top is of a slightly different design than that of the King George V Order. The back of the Order is gold as is the raised royal cypher and the date 1937. The riband bow is pale pink.
The Queen wears both the King George VI Family Order on top and the King George V Family Order on the bottom.
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother wears her Queen Elizabeth II Family Order and King George VI Family Order.
The Queen Elizabeth II Family Order was established in 1953. The Queen's portrait show her in evening dress and wearing the King George IV State Diadem and the Star and Riband of the Garter. A baguette diamond is set between every three brilliant cut diamonds in the border and on top is a diamond Tudor crown over a red enamel cap of maintenance. The back is 18 carat gold with the royal cypher and St Edward's Crown superimposed in gold and enamel. The chartreuse yellow riband bow is two inches wide.
Diana, Princess of Wales wears her Queen Elizabeth II Family Order
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall wears her Queen Elizabeth II Family Order
Next time - Royal Engagement Rings
from the book - The Queen's Jewels by Leslie Fielding
Welcome to the Gracie Jewellery countdown to the Royal Wedding- Part 11
4 Days to go
The items that comprise the Crown Regalia are not just decorative objects but the visible proof of royalty; they are symbols of the power and authority handed down from generation to generation. The Crown Regalia belongs to the State and is displayed to the public in the Jewel House of the Tower of London-attracting nearly two million visitors a year.
The King George IV State Diadem In 1821 King George IV was busy acting as stage manager for his won Coronation and designed a completely new crown for the ceremony. He wanted his crown to have a floral design, but the Privy Council ruled that this would be improper, at the Coronation crown had always had fleur-de-lys motifs, even prior to Edward the Confessor. Instead he used the floral emblems for his diadem and but a last minute change of mind he never wore it. In 1838 the diadem was reset with pearls and diamonds from the royal collection and worn for the first time by Queen Victoria at her Cornonation. For the next thirty years she wore it constantly: at her children's christenings and weddings; at State banquets; even at a dinner at Cambridge University. She is pictured wearing it on the world's first postage stamp issued in 1840.
The completely circular diadem has four crosses pattee set with diamonds, repesenting St. George, the front one with a rare honey-coloured diamond in the centre; and four diamond bouquets incorporating roses, thistles and shamrocks, the emblems of the United Kingdom. The diamond scrollwork band, remounted for Queen Alexandra in 1902, is framed between two rows of pearls-eighty one in the upper row and eighty eight in the lower row.
The Queen inherited the diadem in 1952 on the death of her father. Because the Queen wears the diadem to and from the State Opening of Parliament each year, and is pictured with it on all United Kingdom postage stamps, the diadem is seen by more millions of people than any other item of royal jewellery.
The Imperial State Crown is a copy of the one made for King George IV's Coronation in 1821 and has an open work frame thickly encrusted with diamonds. The frame is gold, the settings of the stones are silver. The circumference is 23¼", the height 12 3/8" and it weighs 2 lbs 13 oz. It is set with 2,873 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 5 rubies. The circlet base has alternate emeralds and sapphires surrounded by diamonds. In the centre front is the 317.4 carat Cullinan II, the Second Star of Africa set in the crown by King George V in 1911. Above is a band of 109 pearls invisibly strung as a necklace, and below is another string of 128 pearls. Mounted on the circlet are upright fleurs-de-lys and crosses pattee covered in diamonds with emeralds and rubies set alternately as the centre stones of each motif. Just above the Cullinan II in a jewelled Maltese cross, is a giant irregularly shaped ruby spinel known as the "Black Prince's ruby". The crown's four oak leaf covered arches are set with rose-cut diamonds and oriental pearl acorns. At the apex, below the diamond set globe, hang four large pear shaped pearl drops. Atop all is the diamond cross pattee with the most ancient gem in all the Regalia. This is a square sapphire, ½" across, that was said to have been set in the 1043 Coronation Ring of King Edward the Confessor, the last of the Saxon line. When the Cullinan diamond was set in the crown for the 1911 Coronation for King George V, it replaced a very large oblong partly pierced sapphire, 1 3/4 by 1 1/16 inches and one inch thick, which was then moved to a similar position at the back of the browband.
Queen Victoria wore this crown for her Coronation. At the State banquet that night, Lord Melbourne complained that he had found the Sword of State very heavy to carry, the Queen told him: "So was the Crown. It hurt me a good deal."
When King George V wore the crown for the 1924 State Opening he wrote: My speech was, I think, the longest on record and took 20 minutes to read. The crown gave me an awful headache. I could not have borne it much longer."
Queen Elizabeth on her Coronation Day june 2, 1953. Her Majesty is wearing the purple Cornonation Robe trimmed with ermine, gold Garter Collar and dress of white satin with coloured beaded embroidery of the flower emblems of Great Britain and the Dominions, among them the English Tudor rose, Scottish thistle, Irish shamrock, Welsh leek, Canadian maple leaf, Australian wattle and Indian lotus flower. Photographer Cecil Beaton was waiting to take the official photographs and later wrote in his diary: 'The Queen looked extremely minute under her robes and Crown, her nose and hands chilled and her eyes tired. "Yes", in reply to my question, "the Crown does get rather heavy." She had been wearing it for nearly three hours.'
Next time - The Royal Family Orders
from the book - The Queen's Jewels by Leslie Fielding