Whether she was dazzling at a state dinner or meeting subjects during a royal engagement, the Queen’s wardrobe was vibrant, timeless and always perfectly coordinated.
Preferring classic pieces that could be re-worn time and time again, the Queen’s style didn’t change much over the course of her adult life as she continued to step out in her favourite designers from the 1950s until her death.
It was announced today that Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96, ending the longest reign of any British monarch.
Whether she brightened up the day in a canary yellow ensemble or showcased the latest trends in glamorous green, the monarch could always be relied upon to offer a masterclass in colour-block dressing – often complete with matching hats by Phillip Somerville and bespoke Fulton umbrellas.
Her Majesty’s loyalty was also reflected in her commitment to her favourite brands: she only carried Launer handbags – the £1,850 ‘Traviata’ style in black was her favourite – and wore trusty slip-on leather shoes by Anello & Davide for over 50 years.
Other staples of the monarch’s wardrobe from her reign included gloves by Genevieve Lawson, statement pearl earrings and necklace, and lavish brooches.
Here, FEMAIL take a look at the Queen’s style through the years…
Whether she was dazzling at a state dinner or meeting subjects during a royal engagement, the Queen’s wardrobe was vibrant, timeless and always perfectly coordinated (pictured, on the Balcony of Buckingham Palace as the troops march past during the Queen’s Birthday Parade in June 2022)
Whether she brightened up the day in a canary yellow ensemble or showcased the latest trends in glamorous green, the monarch could always be relied upon to offer a masterclass in colour-block dressing – often complete with matching hats (left, in Switzerland in 1980 and right, visiting Westminster Abbey in 1992)
Her Majesty’s loyalty was also reflected in her commitment to her favourite brands: she only carried Launer handbags – the £1,850 ‘Traviata’ style in black was her favourite – and wore trusty slip-on leather shoes by Anello & Davide for over 50 years (pictured left, in November 2010 and right, in 2001)
The monarch continued her statement style in her final royal appearances before her death (pictured, in June 2022)
Queen Elizabeth II, who is pictured leaving Windsor Castle to head to Balmoral in Scotland in July in one of her final appearances in public, has died today at the age of 96
The classic totes come with a price tag of up to £1,650 but were worn again and again by the monarch, who recycled them for engagements and even had the fittings repaired rather than splashing out on new models.
It has been said that the Queen owned over 200 bags from Launer, with her favourite style being the Traviata, a £1,850 bag made from calf leather and finished in black patent, which has unsurprisingly, become the brand’s biggest seller.
She also owned several different versions of the Adagio in black and patent cream, both £1,300, the Bellini, costing £1,250, the Royale, sold at £1,650, the Lulu in cream, priced at £740, and the Encore handbag in black calf leather.
The monarch liked their practicality — simple designs in classic colours with a solid frame and easy-access clasp — as well as their quality.
Her Majesty accessorised with the same bag while wearing a bright red outfit in the 80s when she visited St Anne’s Church In Kew (left). The monarch, wasn’t without her trusty Launer handbag in an official family portrait released to mark the new decade. Pictured, with Prince George, Prince Charles, and Prince William,
Launer in the spotlight! The Queen’s favourites
- Traviata in pure white (£1,900)
- Bellini in navy (£1,580)
- Bellini in Cuban brown (£1,580)
- Olympia in black (£1,370)
The Launer Traviata in pure white (£1,900)
The secret to their longevity is their ‘turned’ edges, a process that involves moulding the ends of the leather so they are attached on the inside of the bag. Each of the Queen’s designs was, as one might expect, bespoke.
‘I saw her with an old one with a metal-plate structure. She keeps all the bags and even all the Queen’s Mother’s bags,’ Gerald Bodmer, CEO of Launer London, told the Mail Online back in 2016.
‘It’s amazing how they last. They’re structured, that’s our strength.’
Gerald often spoke to the Queen’s dresser Angela Kelly, reportedly one of the Queen’s closest confidantes, to ensure his designs suit the monarch’s signature look that consisted of a bold coloured outfit with a monochrome bag.
Her Majesty also knew exactly what she wanted from her bags and when she ordered a new design, she asked for customisation.
Gerald said she often asked for ‘the handles longer,’ so the handbag didn’t get in the way while shaking hands.
The Queen also wanted ease of opening, which meant no shoulder bag or zips.
But for some special occasions, the company would make a bag smaller, such as the Lisa design, priced at £930, that the Queen accessorised with for William and Kate’s wedding in 2011.
He added that for the Queen’s petite proportions, it was important she had a smaller bag because it wouldn’t have looked right for her to wear a ‘blooming great thing’.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Gerald also revealed that in more recent years, he made his designs lighter to make them ‘more comfortable’ for Her Majesty.
Bodmer explained that Her Majesty’s dresser Angela Kelly ordered what she needed every year, and pointed out that it was very important to both women that her trademark bags were made in the UK.
The Queen also donned her trusty bag alongside German president Walter Scheel in May 1978
Meanwhile the Queen Queen was seen carrying her trusty Launer when she attended a ceremony to mark the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior ahead of Remembrance Sunday at Westminster Abbey on November 4, 2020
Recently, she placed a Launer bag over her arm as she arrived at a Service of Thanksgiving for Britain’s Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey in central London on March 29, 2022
He previously revealed the monarch didn’t ‘feel fully dressed without her handbag’, admitting: ‘If the Queen doesn’t like what we’ve made her, she won’t wear it. She definitely knows what she wants.
‘We tend to work on a bag we already have, then personalise it with what Angela knows the Queen wants, or for specific engagements she may have.’
The accessory was even prominently on display in the latest series of The Crown, sparking a 600 per cent traffic increase to the Launer website a day after its release.
Margaret Thatcher, played by Gillian Anderson in the Netflix hit, was also a huge fan of Launer bags and is regularly seen clutching a neat black leather tote in the show.
The Crown’s costume department reportedly visited the Launer showroom to handpick four styles for Anderson and Olivia Colman’s characters to carry in the show.
Viewers see Thatcher entering 10 Downing Street for the first time in 1979 carrying a black Olympia, as she did in real life, while the Queen has a Bellini on her arm while watching Diana Spencer select her engagement ring.
The latest series spans the late Seventies and 1980s, during which time the brand’s priority was to ensure the Queen and Thatcher never had the same design.
The Queen carried near-identical versions of the very same bag for more than 60 years – and the accessory is prominently on display in the latest series of The Crown (pictured)
‘Years ago, I met a guy, a small manufacturer, who did designs for The Queen… and he told me once that Mrs Thatcher and the Queen had the same item and Mrs Thatcher was furious. Luckily, we didn’t have that problem,’ Bodmer told the publication.
He recalled how Launer cemented its status as a household name when Her Majesty carried a customised version of its Lisa bag to the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.
Having seen it dip in popularity, in the weeks after the nuptials sales rocketed by 60 per cent.
What did The Queen keep in her bag?
The contents of the royal handbag were a secret so closely guarded even her bagmaker didn’t know the particulars.
But over the years, royal aides let slip fascinating details about Her Majesty’s most prized possessions:
- A lipstick, believed to be the same Clarins shade she had commissioned to match her coronation robes in 1953.
- An S-shaped hook, so she doesn’t have to put her handbag on the floor.
A guest of the Queen’s cousin once revealed: ‘I watched the Queen open her handbag and remove a white suction cup and discreetly spit into it. The Queen then attached the cup to the underside of the table. The cup had a hook on it, and she attached her bag to it.’
- A compact mirror.
- A glasses case.
- Mint lozenges.
- A fountain pen.
- A crisp £5 or £10 note folded in half. Sally Bedell Smith, author of Elizabeth The Queen, says she keeps a single note in her bag for the church donation plate — the only cash she ever carries.
- Personal items, claims Phil Dampier, author of What’s In The Queen’s Handbag, such as miniature dogs, horses and saddles (good luck charms from her children) and a few photographs, including one of Prince Andrew on his return from the Falklands in 1982.
‘That really set us off, it completely lifted us,’ Bodmer said.
Following this, the brand attracted a new wave of younger fans around the world – aided by its website and new array of colourful designs – though its classic black remained the Queen’s favourite.
‘Twenty years ago, if we had anyone under 55 buying we thought we were lucky,’ Bodmer told the Telegraph. ‘But we’re getting a lot of younger people buying now.’
The Queen paid a visit to the Launer factory in Hackney in 1991, before it moved to Walsall in the West Midlands, and spent an afternoon watching the bags being made.
Founded in 1941 by Sam Launer, a Jewish refugee from Prague, Launer started life in a workshop in the heart of Soho.
The brand soon acquired a reputation for exquisite craftsmanship and Harrods began stocking his bags, while the firm also made leather goods for design houses such as Gucci.
The Queen Mother bought her first Launer bag in the Fifties and gave one to her daughter, who found them to be the perfect size to loop over her arm during walkabouts. She bestowed the Royal Warrant on the company in 1968.
But despite continuing royal support, Launer’s fortunes began to wane — it simply wasn’t modern enough to attract new customers. It wasn’t until Bodmer bought it in 1981 that it came back from the brink of collapse.
Bodmer, a classical clarinettist turned leather salesman, had set up his own company in the late Sixties, supplying bags for Russell & Bromley and Mappin & Webb. Dressed in a Savile Row suit, with a smart documents case under his arm, he set about deploying his charisma to woo a new clientele.
When war broke out in the Falklands, Bodmer spotted a cartoon depicting Baroness Thatcher whacking Argentina with her bag.
He sent it to her, along with a new handbag. ‘She wrote to thank me,’ he said. ‘And a few weeks later, her shopper appeared in our showroom.’
THE SAME SHOES FOR 50 YEARS
The Queen has worn the same style of shoe for the past 50 years, handmade for her by Anello & Davide of Kensington, West London, from the finest calf leather, usually in black patent with a brass clasp or a small bow.
Accompanying her everywhere from Ascot visits to her Diamond Jubilee pageant, she worked her way through hundreds of almost identical pairs over the years but circulated about ten pairs at any one time — including plain black leather, black patent, white leather and beige leather, and three designs of evening shoe in satin, silver and gold.
The trusty patent leather slip-ons, which cost around £1,000 per pair, featured a chunky and 2¼ inch high heel, with a raised insole to give the royal size 4s an added lift in the arch. However, if the Queen was likely to be walking on uneven surfaces, the heel would often be lower.
The Queen on a visit to RAF Benson in Oxford in 1984 (left) and right, visiting the children’s charity Coram in London on December 5, 2018
The Queen’s trusty Anello & Davide heels served her well throughout her reign
The team worked from a wooden ‘last’ made from measurements of the Queen’s foot, and included a pattern cutter; a clicker, who selected the leather; a closer, who sewed the upper part and added stiffeners; and, finally, a maker, who added the sole and heel on the last.
A fitting at the Palace following, where any final adjustments, including a clean and polish, were made, before the shoes were officially ready for an outing.
Stewart Parvin, who designed dresses for Her Majesty for over a decade, claimed that the shoes had to be immediately comfortable and that to achieve this, a member of staff with the same size feet would walk up and down palatial corridors for her until they were suitably broken in.
Parvin commented: ‘The Queen can never say: ‘I’m uncomfortable, I can’t walk any more.’ ‘
Dressers Kate or Beverley also reportedly used wooden shoe stretchers to make them more comfortable, while the monarch’s devoted personal assistant Angela Kelly occasionally wore them in because they had the same size feet.
Derby Day in 1990, and the Queen is being blown about (left) — but the shoes keep her steady. Then in 1993, (left) glancing down at her feet — yes, the shoes are still the same— at Sandringham at Christmas time
Meanwhile, a junior staff member ‘Cinders’, who was the same size exactly, wore beige cotton ankle socks when testing the Queen’s shoes, and was only allowed to walk on carpets. The shoes then got one trial run outside to ensure there was no slippage.
Footmen Ian and William were responsible for everyday care, including polishing and storage.
When the Queen had returned from an engagement after wearing her trusty shoes, they would then be aired on shoe trees, before being stored individually in silk or cotton drawstring bags.
Speaking on why Her Majesty would opt to wear the same shoe, Karine Laudort, Fashion Expert Commentator, told Femail it’s likely all down to practicality and giving a subtle hint of thriftiness.
It is easier to stick to a style that is practical and neutral.’ she explained. ‘It is well known that the Royal Family observe strict fashion rules which no-one can bend especially when it comes to footwear.
The Queen is seen wearing her beloved black slip ons, left as she visits a dairy farm in Lancaster in 2015, and right to mark the Global Investment Summit on October 19, 2021 in Windsor
Queen Elizabeth II talks with Jonathan Jones, Chair of Trustees during a visit to officially open the new building at Thames Hospice on July 15, 2022 in Maidenhead
‘Only closed-toe shoes are permitted and open-toe shoes considered as unformal wear and inappropriate for wedding occasions.’
And when it comes to picking out the said shoes, it’s much easier to go with neutral colours such as nude or black as they’re likely to match most outfits.
‘It is always be easier to match outfits with very neutral footwear, especially when several outfits are required during public functions, and that applies to men and women in the Royal Family, even the Queen.’
She added that it’s also a handy way of not appearing too extravagant, rather than debuting a new pair of on-trend shoes for every engagement.
‘In order to maintain a more humble public image, irrespective of whether Royals wear designer outfits at times, neutral footwear will always be the way to go,’ she said.
For the past few decades, the Queen has been inspiring the nation with her royal wardrobe and her love of colour blocking became as well-known as her beloved Launer handbag and trusty Anello & Davide shoes.
Not one to shy away from a bright and eye-catching ensemble, Her Majesty could more often than not be seen donning head-to-toe fuchsia or the season’s ‘It’ shade of blue.
For the last three decades of her life, most of these delightfully bright creations were the work of her personal dresser Angela Kelly, who became a confidante after joining the palace in 1994.
A ray of sunshine, the monarch brightened up an otherwise dreary day in bright yellow coordinating dresses, coats and hats – including the stylish out she wore for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.
The Queen’s love of colour blocking became as well-known as her beloved Launer handbag and trusty Anello & Davide shoes. Pictured, left: in Italy, May 1961 and right: During a Royal visit to the Isle of Wight in 1965
She stuck with the same colour theme when she attended church at St George’s Chapel, Windsor in April 2018 and when she arrived at Royal Ascot in 2019 – a bold colour which was certain to make her stand out from the crowd.
That same year, the monarch paired a black evening bag, kitten-heel loafers and leather gloves with a vibrant electric-orange coat for a visit to London’s Science Museum.
Meanwhile, green was always another popular colour of choice. In fact, the Queen recycled a turquoise coat and matching hat for the third time whne she marked her official birthday with a socially-distanced and scaled down version of Trooping the Colour at Windsor Castle on 13 June 2020.
The Queen was known for her love of bold colours but often relied on a similar silhouette for different coats and garments. Pictured left in December 2020 and right, arriving at Balmoral in 2021
Her Majesty was first pictured wearing the ensemble for day one of the US president Donald Trump and First Lady Melania’s three-day State Visit to the UK on June 3, 2019.
The royal then donned it for a second time at the State Opening of Parliament in December – following the Conservative party’s victory in the general election.
Elsewhere, in December 2020, the Queen thanked the nation’s key workers for their relentless efforts to keep the country going amid the pandemic in a bold red coat and patterned scarf – not forgetting her timeless black accessories.
Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by The Earl of Wessex, stood out in orange as she attended a special ceremony on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace to launch the 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay in 2021
Queen Elizabeth II arrives to symbolically lead the lighting of the principal Jubilee beacon in Windsor, England, Thursday June 2, 2022
The Queen was renowned for wearing pretty hats with feather details, while they also matched the colour of her outfits.
Working during the Eighties and Nineties, Phillip Somerville was one of the Queen’s favourite milliners and at one stage was making up to 50 hats a year for the monarch, who famously never went without one.
His creations were ‘safety-proofed’ against sartorial disasters caused by heavy wind or rain. It was usually a case of using two hatpins, he once said.
The son of a cobbler who grew up in Winchester, he once said of the Queen: ‘People say, ‘What does she do with all those hats?’ Wear them out, I say. They get damaged and they wear out. She’d possibly wear hats at least ten times, and that’s a long time. Most people would only buy a hat and wear it once and then they put it away in a box.’
Working during the Eighties and Nineties, Phillip Somerville was one of the Queen’s favourite milliners and at one stage was making up to 50 hats a year for the monarch, who famously never went without one. Pictured, left wearing a black-and-gold outfit with a matching Philip Somerville hat, during a visit to the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Mosque, in Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia, 14th October 1989 and right: Her Majesty visiting 5th Airbourne Brigade Regiment in a hat By Philip Somerville on 17 May, 1990
He also revealed that the monarch’s head was ‘slightly smaller’ than average, about 22in in circumference – the average head being 22.5in.
Royal milliners collaborated closely with the Queen’s dress designers to achieve a closely coordinated look.
They were sent sketches and fabric swatches of every new outfit before attending the first fitting. Fitting sessions, by Mr Somerville’s account, were relatively informal, partly thanks to his cheerful nature and occasionally disarming frankness.
‘Often I’ve put something on Her Majesty’s head and said, ‘Oops, I don’t like that, that’s not right’,’ he once said. ‘I don’t think she’s ever been used to that.’
Her Majesty wearing a hat by her favourite designer when she opened the newly refurbished Ministry Of Defence building In Whitehall, London on Apr 27, 2015
Her collection of glittering jewels is the envy of monarchs around the world, but for informal occasions the Queen long favoured a rather more low-key accessory: the silk headscarf.
Over the years, Her Majesty amassed a collection of silk designs that would be the envy of any globe-trotting fashionista.
The Queen often opted for headscarves for sporting and outdoor events and seemed to have one to match every outfit.
The Queen seemed to have headscarves to match every outfit. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Andrew at the Badminton Horse Trials in Gloucestershire, 1973 and right: at Royal Windsor Horse Show, 1989
Queen Elizabeth II smiles with delight as she watches the carriage driving championships during a visit Sunday to the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 1995 (pictured, left and right)
Her collection included graphic 1960s prints, paisley prints, traditional florals and even a dog-patterned number in a nod to her beloved pets.
As well as bringing a touch of character to any outfit, the headscarf also served a practical purpose, protecting the Queen’s carefully coiffed hair from the wind, rain and snow.
Hermes was Her Majesty’s favourite brand, and she also had some pieces by Cornelia James, the designer who made her gloves.
While the headscarf was once considered to be an outdated accessory, it has since graced the catwalks of Stella McCartney, among others.
Her Majesty donned a floral headscarf when she attended the annual Royal Windsor Horse Show in Windsor, west of London, on May 10, 2019
Meanwhile the Queen wrapped a colourful headscarf over her hair as she attended the Royal Windsor Horse Show in May 2022
A typical Hermes scarf costs from £295, although the Queen’s vintage pieces are likely to have accumulated value over time – just like the brand’s iconic handbags.
During the Royal Windsor Horse Show in May 2017, the royal wore three silk headscarfs in as many days – including a cream and blush pink scarf with a floral design, complete with delicate leaves and berry-coloured blooms – a print by Tunisian-born Hermes designer Leila Menchari.
On the first day of the annual event, the Queen sported a festive floral number with a bold pink rose print and check detailing, another Leila Mancheri design, while she also opted for sunny yellow, grey and navy blue piece, again by high-end designer Hermes.
GLOVES AND UMBRELLAS
Poise in turquoise: At a royal garden party at Buckingham Palace in July 2011, and right, no blue sky for tennis in Surrey on 29 March 2007
Along with Her Majesty’s colour-coordinated outfits came the perfectly matching see-through umbrellas made by Fulton in London’s East End, which she had commissioned – so the public could see her.
‘We get the colours pretty spot on,’ Nigel Fulton previously told Mail Online.
Regular ‘Birdcage’ umbrellas are available in a selection of colours on the high street for just £16 but to make sure that she had the exact shade, the Queen’s stylist would send swatches of her planned outfits to the brolly brand six months in advance.
Originally invented in the 1960s by Fulton’s founder, Arnold Fulton, and now upheld by his son and Fulton Chief Executive, Nigel, the signature Birdcage umbrella features an advanced, strengthened fibreglass frame with a unique opening mechanism.
The Queen is believed to have inherited her interest in the brand from the Queen Mother.
In 1988, the Queen Mother’s secretary called up Fulton in search of a clear, dome-shaped umbrella, but the style had gone out of production due to a decline in sales.
However, Fulton were keen to help with the Queen Mother’s request and eventually, they were awarded a Royal Warrent.
By 2003, they were supplying tailor-made umbrellas to the Queen and the umbrellas have since been seen on the arms of The Duchess of Cornwall and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Meanwhile, Genevieve Lawson is the woman responsible for fulfilling Her Majesty’s glove orders, who has been a loyal customer since her wedding in 1947, when dress designer Norman Hartnell ordered a pair of plain white cotton gloves for her going-away outfit.
The monarch and her yellow-trimmed umbrella as she arrived at the Garrison in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on 28 June 2010 (left) and right, coordinating in blue during a visit to Wallets Marts in Castle Douglas in Edinburgh, Scotland on 14 July 2010 and right:
The Queen wearing Genevieve’s gloves at the wedding of Lady Tamara Grosvenor and Edward van Cutsem, November 2004 (pictured, left) and right: The monarch waves to the crowds from the balcony on Buckingham Palace during the Trooping of the Colour outside Buckingham Palace on June 14, 2008 in London
Genevieve previously said: ‘It is always the same: evening gloves in nylon, not silk, because it’s lighter, and cotton day gloves in a length made specially.
They are six inches from thumb to cuff — just long enough to protect the Queen’s wrists.’
All materials are made in Britain, a factor that has helped maintain the royal patronage. The leather is from Pittards in Yeovil, and the cotton from W. Ball & Son’s Yorkshire mill.
‘The Queen has always been very loyal. And it helps that she has model hands. Tiny!’ she added.
Her Majesty, known for thriftiness, extends that quality to her gloves, too, revealed Genevieve.
Pictured, left to right: Queen Elizabeth waves in her gloves at Ascot in June, 2011 and right, on April 1, 2011, in Anglesey, Wales
‘She reuses them and sends them back for repairs instead of buying new ones.’
Cornelia James’s classic cotton gloves cost £35, but Genevieve charged her royal client the trade price – about a third cheaper.
While Genevieve was responsible for the designs, her husband Andrew was in charge of cutting and book-balancing. An old Singer sewing machine was used for stitching.
Three ladies from the nearby village also gave the Lawsons, who have run the family company since Genevieve’s mother died in 2000, a helping hand.
Cornelia was an Austrian Jewish design student who fled from the Nazi regime in 1939 and arrived in Britain, where she quickly captivated the fashion world with her affordable, colourful designs.
‘When Mum passed away, it was up to me to keep the family tradition going. I was an art student and always loved design,’ said Genevieve.
Andrew, who was then working in the City, was enlisted for his management skills. When Cornelia was at the helm, the Queen’s tastes were even more conservative. It took some persuading to coax her from favoured black and white.
It was only when her late dressmaker Ian Thomas complained that monochrome gloves would ruin an outfit he’d made for a trip to Paris that she wore colour.
Orders were placed from Buckingham Palace by her meticulous dresser Angela Kelly.
‘We get a call every so often for a dozen gloves, usually before a foreign tour,’ Genevieve revealed in 2012.
‘Nothing passes her by. Even though we charge only trade prices, they went up a few years ago. You can be sure she noticed!’
Her Majesty’s personal crown jewels! From her favourite pearls and £40,000 diamond brooch to sapphires from the President of Brazil for her coronation – and the 3 carat engagement ring from Philip she never removed
Throughout her life, Queen Elizabeth II amassed a jewellery collection full of family heirlooms, priceless treasures and gifts from world leaders.
The monarch was rarely seen without diamonds, pearls or gemstones adorning her clothes, with royal commentators sometimes suggesting she used the pieces to send unspoken signals.
Particular attention was paid to her brooches: Her Majesty would often choose one with a connection to the person, country or organisation she was visiting.
The Queen was renowned for generously loaning both elaborate and simple pieces to royal wives including Meghan Markle, Sophie Wessex, Kate Middleton and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, over the years.
Now, upon her death at the age of 96 after 70 years on the throne, FEMAIL looks at Her Majesty’s jewellery collection.
The Queen was rarely seen without a dazzling array of diamonds, pearls and gemstones decorating her bright and colourful clothes (pictured, in 2022 at the Platinum Jubilee celebration wearing her favourite pearl necklace, earrings and one of her favourite brooches the Kensington Bow brooch)
Her Majesty was often gifted her pieces for special occasions and wore wedding gifts throughout her life (left). She was renowned for generously loaning pieces to other royals including Kate Middleton (pictured right, at the Jubilee wearing the Queen’s earrings)
The Queen’s amazing collection of jewels included glittering brooches, earrings and necklaces.
Some have been passed down to Her Majesty through the royal family, while others were gifted to the monarch to mark important milestones, including her wedding, coronation and jubilees.
The most impressive jewels were reserved for high profile occasions like state dinners.
Otherwise the Queen preferred to keep her jewellery low-key and was rarely seen without three strings of pearls gifted to her by her grandfather.
The Queen was able to recall the meaning and occasion behind each item she had been gifted over the years, experts have claimed. Pictured left, in 1983 on a banquet in India, and right, in 2007 wearing a necklace gifted by President of Brazil for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953
The Royal Collection was held in trust by the Sovereign for her successors and the nation, and was not owned by The Queen as a private individual.
However she did have her own smaller private collection, which she has been known to loan to members of the royal family for formal occasions and state visits, at her own discretion.
While we associated the Queen with her incredible Royal Collection of priceless tiaras, intricate brooches and dazzling diamond earrings, she was, like many Englishwomen of a certain age, most at ease in her pearls.
Pearls were the Queen’s first ‘serious’ piece of jewellery.
When her grandfather George V celebrated his Silver Jubilee in 1935, he gave both his granddaughters pearl necklaces.
Among the collection Elizabeth owns today are two stunning necklaces – the 18th-century Queen Anne pearl necklace and the 50-pearl Queen Caroline necklace, both given as a wedding present from her father.
Her favourite necklace for quiet days was her single-strand version, one of the first pieces she acquired, and very much in the English tradition, matching the timeless elegance of her treasured pearl and diamond studs.
Meanwhile the royal also had a huge range of other opulent necklaces, including the stunning sets gifted from her coronation in 1953.
One striking set formed from unusual aquamarine stones, was a gift from the President of Brazil for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953.
The striking necklace was made by Mappin & Webb in Rio de Janiero, and the stones are set in diamond and platinum surrounds.
It came with matching earrings – and in 1958 she was presented with a large brooch and bracelet. The stones are perfectly matched – it took a year to collect them from mines across Brazil.
The Queen’s much beloved glittering Festoon necklace, gifted to the royal by her father, is pictured during an outing to a concert with President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy in America in 1983
The nation continued to supply the Queen’s aquamarine collection, including providing stones for a tiara she had adapted in 1971.
She toned down the piece by replacing the pendant with a smaller stone, and attaching the aquamarine to her tiara.
The royal also adored jewellery presents from family members, including one glittering Festoon necklace given to Princess Elizabeth in 1950 by her father that remained her favourites throughout her life.
It was made from 105 loose diamonds that were kept in reserve at Garrard, stored in pouches marked ‘C’ for Crown, in case a monarch wanted to extend a necklace or improve a tiara.
Queen Mary, the Queen’s grandmother, was said to have made regular use of the service.
The resulting triple strand necklace has rows of graduated stones, suspended between two diamond triangles.
It was also the Queen’s preferred necklace for wearing without a tiara.
Among the Queen’s more recent pieces was a gift from Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, former Emir of Qatar, during a state visit to Britain in 1985.
A diamond ‘swag’ shape, set in gold and designed around two central gemstones, it came with a matching set of earrings — and had been one of the Queen’s favourite ruby pieces ever since.
Because of its rich, exotic colour, she preferred it for foreign engagements, such as this state banquet in Turkey in 2008, but has also worn it twice to the state opening of Parliament.
The royal also lent her Nizam of Hyderabad necklace, originally created by Cartier in 1930s to family members.
One of the Queen’s more recent acquisitions was the necklace and earring set from Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, former Emir of Qatar, who gifted it to the royal during a state visit to Britain in 1985.
It was gifted to Majesty as a gift when she married in November 1947 and consists of a long chain of 38 diamonds (reduced from the original 46) with a diamond-encrusted snap.
The centre of the necklace was pave-set with detachable double-drop pendant 13 emerald-cut diamonds and a pear-shaped drop. The original necklace consisted of eight double-drop and three triple-drop pendants.
Kate Middleton borrowed the diamond stunner to attend a black tie Portrait Gala in 2014 at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
It set off her midnight blue Jenny Packham evening gown, which was plain to show off the beauty of her diamonds.
Left, The Queen wearing the Nizam of Hyderabad necklace – part of the Royal Collection – which was made by Cartier, the George IV State Diadem and the insignia of the Order of the Garter, circa 1953. Right, the Duchess of Cambridge wearing the necklace in 2014
Brooches, usually worn on the left shoulder, were a favourite for the royal and the Queen was believed to have over 100 in her collection.
A selection that would go with an outfit were presented to her – usually three at a time – by her senior dresser and confidante Angela Kelly on special trays that once belonged to Queen Mary.
The royal had a wide variety of different brooches which she often wore with her usual pearl earrings and necklace, including a spray of flowers brooch by the people and government of Australia during her Coronation tour of 1954.
She was also regularly seen in the Queen Mother’s Shell Brooch from the late Queen Mother’s jewellery collection, a shell shape consisting of solid rows of diamonds with a single pearl cradled at the base, and strings of diamonds suspended underneath.
The Queen had a huge selection of brooches, with over 100 in her personal collection. One of her favourites was the Cullinan V Brooch, given to Queen Mary, the Queen’s grandmother, by the people of South Africa in 1910 (pictured wearing it during a visit to Tuvalu in South Pacific)
One of the royal’s favourites was the Kensington Bow brooch, a wedding gift from the residents of Kensington to her grandmother in 1893, costing £450 (about £40,000 today). (pictured in 2005 visiting Bristol university)
It was occasionally suggested the royal selected her brooches in order to send a signal about her beliefs (pictured left, with President Obama and Michelle Obama, wearing the pin they gave her in 2011, and right, the pin)
One of the royal’s favourites was the Kensington Bow brooch, a wedding gift from the residents of Kensington to her grandmother in 1893, costing £450 (about £40,000 today).
The brooch features two rows of diamonds set in silver and gold, tied in a ‘bow’ around a single large diamond, and it was often used to secure a sash or as a clasp for remembrance poppies.
Among the brooches she favoured was the Cullinan V Brooch, which was an unusual and distinctive heart shape.
The royal had a wide variety of different brooches which she often wore with her usual pearl earrings and necklace (pictured left, The Queen was given this spray of flowers brooch by the people and government of Australia during her Coronation tour of 1954, the Queen was presented with this brooch from the people and government of Australia. It depicts a spray of flowers with mimosa leaves and tea tree blossoms in white and colored diamonds. pictured right, The Queen Mother’s Shell Brooch from the late Queen Mother’s jewellery collection and takes the shape of a shell made of solid rows of diamonds with a single pearl cradled at the base and strings of diamonds suspended underneath.)
Another of the 2,500 wedding presents given to the Queen on her marriage to Prince Philip, the Carrington Sapphire Feather brooch (right) was a gift from Carrington jewellers. A fine diamond feather with a sapphire centre, it’s always paired with blue or purple, as here in 2019
The Queen was generous with her jewellery collection, often lending pieces to other senior royals. The New Zealand Fern brooch was presented to the Queen in 1953 by the women of Auckland. She is seen wearing it in 2008 (left) and it was loaned to Kate for her 2014 tour of Australasia (right)
The diamond, of 18.8 carats, was one of six numbered stones cut from the Cullinan diamond, the biggest in the world, and given to Queen Mary, the Queen’s grandmother, by the people of South Africa in 1910.
Many have suggested the Queen may have tried to send messages with her selection of brooches – some commentators pointed out the royal wore a brooch given to her by President Obama when she met President Trump on a visit in 2019.
When Prince Philip was in hospital in 2021, the Queen paid tribute to her late husband with her brooches for public appearances.
The Queen kept Prince Philip close to her heart while he was in hospital in 2021 by donning significant brooches for public engagements – in February, she chose to wear the same six-petal diamond flower brooch she had worn when the couple announced their engagement in 1947 (left and right)
The Queen kept her husband close to her heart in 2021 while the Duke spent several weeks in hospital, donning the same six-petal diamond flower brooch she wore when the couple announced their engagement in 1947 for a virtual engagement.
The monarch wore the glittering accessory on a video call with health leaders from Windsor Castle in which she made a historic intervention in the coronavirus vaccination drive, suggesting it is selfish not to have the jab.
And during his funeral on April 18, Her Majesty brought out the diamond Richmond Brooch, a present from the town of Richmond for her grandmother Queen Mary’s 1893 wedding to the future King George V which she inherited.
The Queen wore a brooch gifted to her by Prince Philip during a visit to the Royal Navy flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth
The gold Scarab brooch, with ruby and diamond embellishments, was a 1966 gift from the Duke of Edinburgh (pictured the couple together in 1966, with the Queen wearing the brooch)
Weeks later, as she visited the Royal Navy flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Queen wore a brooch gifted to her by Prince Philip.
Her Majesty, 95, paid tribute to her beloved husband of 73 years, who died on April 9 2021 aged 99, by wearing the piece, which she teamed with a brick-red military-style cashmere coat for her appearance at HM Naval Base, Portsmouth.
The gold Scarab brooch, with ruby and diamond embellishments, was a 1966 gift from the Duke of Edinburgh.
When the Queen turned 21, jewels flooded in, mostly in the form of gifts from relatives.
Among them was a pair of heavy diamond chandelier earrings that had been given to her mother Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother as a wedding present.
Soon, she had acquired many other pairs of earrings that could be worn only with pierced ears, and so in 1951, just before her state visit to Canada, the 25-year-old Queen gave in to the inevitable and had her ears pierced.
Some of the royal’s favorite earrings remained her pearl pieces throughout her life, with the Queen often choosing a simple stud or pearl drop for her daily appearances.
Day-to-day Her Majesty often wore the simple but chic Queen Mary’s Button Earrings, which feature a pearl and a diamond (pictured here visiting the Royal British Legion Industries Village, Aylesford in November 2019)
The Queen regularly wore pearl drop earrings, but often chose the Ladies of Devonshire earrings for formal day events (pictured waving to the crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2017)
Day-to-day, the Queen often chose between two almost identical pearl earrings.
The royal’s favourite earrings for casual wear were the simple Queen Mary’s Button Earrings, which featured a single pearl with a small diamond on top.
Meanwhile she would wear the Ladies of Devonshire earrings for more formal day events, such as the Diamond Jubilee service or the Order of the Garter service, as well as for evening occasions.
Queen Mary gave the Devonshire Earrings to her granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth, as a wedding present in 1947.
The Queen is believed to have gifted Meghan Markle a similar pair of earrings to her own for their first joint engagement in June 2018
A present to the Queen from the kingdom of Bahrain to celebrate the Queen’s wedding to Prince Philip in 1947, the Bahrain pearl drop earrings were hidden away from public view for many decades but have recently been seen more regularly.
The Queen chose to wear the pieces to the Remembrance Day service in 2015, with Kate Middleton wearing them the following year to the same event.
The Countess of Wessex has also sported the diamond-supported pearls. And Kate, who is known to adore a pearl earring, also wore them while staying at Balmoral during the summer of 2018.
The Bahrain Pearl Drop earrings were a present to the Queen from the kingdom of Bahrain to celebrate her wedding to Prince Philip in 1947
Kate wore the jewels as she joined Prince William and other senior royals at the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee
Sophie, The Countess of Wessex, also wore the Bahrain pearl drop earrings in 2012 to attend a performance of the Massed Bands and Bugles of The Rifles at the Royal Albert Hall
Kate has also donned another set of the Queen’s diamond-and-pearl earrings, which the monarch herself last wore in 1977.
In 2016, the Duchess was spotted wearing them while on a trip to Canada, and later in the year in Holland.
The Queen gifted Meghan Markle a similar (but smaller) pair prior to the Duchess’ first royal joint engagement without her husband.
The monarch continued to generously lend her earrings to her granddaughters-in-law during the final years of her life.
At the Silver Jubilee in 1977, the Queen donned a pair of diamond-and-pearl earrings that she hasn’t worn since in public. However, the monarch has gifted them to her grandaughter-in-law, with Kate spotted wearing them twice in 2016
New generation, same jewels: The Duchess of Cambridge was spotted wearing the same earrings in 2016 during a royal visit with Prince William to Canada, they appeared again on a trip later that year to the Netherlands
In 2021, the Duchess of Cambridge honoured the Queen on her birthday by borrowing her pearl earrings for a visit to an air cadet centre.
Kate borrowed the silver jubilee diamond and pearl earrings from the monarch who first wore them to celebrate her silver jubilee in 1977.
The visit, which took place on the Queen‘s 95th birthday, was carried out in honour of the Duke of Edinburgh, who was Honorary Air Commodore-in-Chief of the squadron for 63 years before Kate took over as Commandant-in-Chief in 2015.
But it was not just pearl pieces that the royal favoured, with the royal occasionally donning large costume-style jewellery from her collection of diamond pieces.
The Duchess of Cambridge honoured the Queen on her 95th birthday by borrowing her pearl earrings for her visit to an air cadet centre
The origin of the stunning large teardrop-shaped diamond adornments is unknown and they may even be a more modern addition to the Queen’s collection.
The monarch was spotted wearing them at the State Opening of Parliament in 2012 before they were next seen gracing Kate’s ears, most notably at a gala held at Kensington Palace in November 2017.
The royal would also occasionally don pieces that were part of a set with her elegant necklaces, such as the aquamarine set gifted to her by the President of Brazil for her coronation.
The origin of these teardrop-shaped earrings is unknown and they may have first been seen in public as late as 2012, when the Queen wore them to the State Opening of Parliament. A different look: Kate has worn the drop diamond earrings on a number of occasions including at a dinner while on a royal visit to Sweden and Norway
A closer look: The Duchess of Cambridge at a 2017 Gala Dinner for The Anna Freud National Centre held at Kensington Palace in 2017
All that glitters! The Duchess of Cambridge borrowed the Queen’s emerald and diamond earrings and matching bracelet (both pictured) for the Caribbean tour in 2022 (left) Treasured: The Queen has worn the set on a number of occasions, including at a reception for the Obamas in 2011 (right). There is also a necklace (seen here) which Kate did not wear
When she was not wearing her trademark pearls, the Queen opted for pendants such as these dazzling purple stones, part of the Kent Amethyst set, which belonged to Queen Victoria’s mother.
The set also included three brooches, a necklace and hair combs, but the earrings — worn to a state banquet in Portugal in 1985 – are the only items seen in public.
These ornate diamond frames, each containing an oval pearl drop, are the Duchess of Gloucester’s Pendants, first owned by Queen Mary’s great aunt.
They passed to the Queen on her grandmother’s death in 1953. She chose them for her wedding in 1947, on a visit to Mauritius in 1972 and wears them often nowadays.
If she’s not wearing her trademark pearls, the Queen opts for pendants such as these dazzling purple stones (left), part of the Kent Amethyst set, which belonged to Queen Victoria’s mother. These ornate diamond frames (right), each containing an oval pearl drop, are the Duchess of Gloucester’s Pendants, first owned by Queen Mary’s great aunt
The Queen mainly wore bracelets for formal occasions and events, such as foreign tours and the State Opening of parliament.
The royal had many diamond bracelets, and mainly choose them for black tie events, occasionally if she didn’t wear a tiara.
Her collection included a set of two matching bracelets composed of chain links between diamond plaques which came from Queen Mary’s collection.
The Queen regularly wore bracelets for black tie and formal events, donning two diamond pieces for the State Opening of Parliament in October 2019
Mary bought them in 1932, and then had a matching one made three years later to hold a 9.75 carat diamond from the Premier Mines given to her during a visit to South Africa.
The bracelets were made to join together to create a choker. They are nearly identical, one having a larger plaque for the South African diamond.
One of the sets the Queen most often wore was the sapphire set.
The royal often wore the glittering pieces of jewellery to formal black tie events, donning the chain links between diamond plaques from Queen Mary’s collection over white gloves. The Queen also had a selection of pearl evening watches for formal events (pictured left in Canada in 2002) She occasionally wore bracelets as part of a set of jewellery (pictured right, leaving the Ritz after celebrating her Golden Jubilee in 2002 wearing emerald-cut sapphires and diamonds collection, which included a necklace, earrings, a bracelet and a ring).
It began with a mid-19th century set of necklace and earrings bought by her father, King George VI, at Carrington & Co. and given to her as a wedding present in 1947.
The set features a necklace of emerald-cut sapphires surrounded by diamonds and separated by individual diamonds, plus a pair of earrings, each with a large sapphire in a diamond cluster.
As given to the Queen, the necklace had 18 sapphire clusters, which she had shortened in 1952.
The Queen was often seeing wearing her gold watch, which she was gifted during her visit to Canada in 1951, as her go-to timepiece (pictured, in 2003 with George Bush)
In 1959 the largest cluster was turned into a pendant to hang on the necklace and was fitted with a pin for use as a brooch.
The royal also made a habit of wearing a watch every day, which was as much as a staple to her look as her pearls and her wedding and engagement rings.
Her gold watch, which she was gifted during her visit to Canada in 1951, was her go-to timepiece.
There is one notable omission from the Queen’s jewel box: she very seldom wore rings.
Although she received a stunning square-cut diamond engagement ring with diamond side stones set in platinum from Prince Philip, the ring was barely seen as the Queen tended to cover her hands with gloves when in public.
‘She doesn’t much like her hands,’ said royal editor Ingrid Seward, ‘and prefers not to draw attention to them.’
However, when she was seen without gloves on, she always wore her wedding and engagement rings.
Prince Philip proposed to Princess Elizabeth with a simple and elegant diamond ring.
The 3 carat diamond solitaire flanked on each side by 5 smaller diamonds, all set in platinum, with all of the jewels taken from a tiara owned by Philip’s mother, Princess Alice.
The Queen, pictured here in July 2022, was believed to wear her engagement ring and wedding ring every day, but the pieces were often hidden because the royal regularly wore gloves for public events
The square cut ring was set in platinum.
Meanwhile her wedding ring was made from Welsh gold and was given to the Queen’s parents for their wedding in 1923.
It furnished rings for the Queen Mother, the Queen, Princess Margaret, Princess Anne, and Diana, Princess of Wales before it ran out.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding ring was later created from a piece of Welsh gold the Queen gifted Prince William after the couple’s engagement.