Jewellery

The symbolic meaning behind why Queen Elizabeth always wore pearls

Pearls represent a subtle balance between finery and modesty and have been worn by queens as insignia for millennia. Queen Elizabeth II was no exception. Her father, George VI, gifted her the three-strand pearl necklace that would quickly become part of her signature look

By Joshua Hendren

From bedazzled chokers to layered strands, Queen Elizabeth was rarely seen without her lustrous pearls. Here, we revisit Her Majesty’s magnificent pearl necklaces, crowns and earrings from childhood through her many years of royal service.

Princess Elizabeth on 10th May 1945 (Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Princess Elizabeth, pictured here in 1945, exudes regal sophistication in this double-row of milky pearls.

The Princess Elizabeth with Prince Charles, her first child, circa December 1948 (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Watching over with her first child, King Charles III, a then-Princess Elizabeth sparkled in three strands of brilliant gems.

Queen Elizabeth II wears the Russian Tiara at a banquet during an official tour of Germany in 1978 (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

The Vladimir Tiara – also known as the Russian Tiara – consists of 15 intersecting diamond loops with swaying pearl droplets – which can be changed for emeralds – hung between the circles.

The Queen in the Solomon Isles during her official tour of the South Pacific Islands in 1982 (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

The Queen was all smiles on her official tour of the South Pacific Islands in 1982, glistening in a three-strand pearl necklace.

Queen Elizabeth II wears a four strand diamond and pearl choker with ‘Granny’s Tiara’ to an engagement in Bangladesh in 1983 (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Here, Her Majesty pairs the Granny’s Tiara (thought to be the Queen’s favourite) with a four-row choker, complete with a sculpted diamond-set clasp by Garrard.

Queen Elizabeth II travels down The Mall, from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster, in the horse drawn Australian State Coach to attend the State Opening of Parliament on November 15, 2006 (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

On her way to the Palace of Westminster for the State Opening of Parliament in 2006, Her Majesty chose the George IV State Diadem, a silver and gold-set tiara with an openwork frame encrusted with diamonds and edged with pearls.

Queen Elizabeth II attends an Armed Forces Act of Loyalty Parade in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse on June 28, 2022 in Edinburgh, Scotland (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The Queen’s signature strands also made an appearance as she attended the Armed Forces act of loyalty parade in Edinburgh.

Like this? Discover our definitive list of Queen Elizabeth and her tiaras

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