Queen's funeral: Meghan's comforting smile to Charlotte
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The late Queen Elizabeth II famously adored pearls, wearing them from her Princess days up until her death at the age of 96. The monarch favoured a three-strand necklace of the lustrous gems, and in her honour, royal women like Kate, Princess of Wales, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, donned pearl jewellery for the Queen’s state funeral on Monday.
The Princess of Wales wore the Four-strand Pearl and Diamond Choker from the Queen’s collection, the same necklace she wore to Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021, and the monarch’s Bahrain Pearldrop Earrings.
The Duchess of Sussex opted for a pair of dainty pearl and diamond earrings which the Queen had gifted her in 2018 when she joined the Royal Family.
In her ears, Sophie, Countess of Wessex wore a pair of pearl earrings, as did the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall.
Pearls have been considered mourning jewellery since Queen Victoria’s era, as she famously wore the gems throughout her later life after the death of her beloved consort.
Miranda Wells, Associate professor and Head of Gemmology at Birmingham City University’s (BCU) School of Jewellery, said: “Queen Elizabeth II was often seen wearing pearls, which were amongst her favourite jewels.
“However, the royal tradition of wearing pearls as a symbol of mourning dates back to Victorian times.
“Queen Victoria famously entered a lifelong period of mourning after the death of Prince Albert, and only wore black for the rest of her life.
“She accessorised with jet jewellery or pearls, which legend said represented tears.”
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The royal women may also have picked pearls for Queen’s funeral due to their multitude of sweet meanings, with “loyalty” being a key one given how dedicated the Royal Family were to the Queen.
Sam Mee, Vintage Jewellery Enthusiast and Proprietor of Antique Ring Boutique, said: “Throughout the history of the world, pearls have had a multitude of meanings.
“However, in more modern times pearls are seen as symbols of purity, integrity and loyalty.
“Pearls are viewed as the ultimate symbol of wisdom and they are valued for their calming effects.
“Not only this but pearls also convey a sense of security and serenity while strengthening valuable relationships.”
Pearls also have several religious links, and faith was incredibly important to the late Queen.
Sam explained: “Pearls hold a great significance in religion and in particular, Christianity.
“Pearl necklaces and rosaries are a symbol of the kingdom of heaven and the word of God, and they are also said to represent transcendence, holiness, knowledge and wisdom.
“As we know, Queen Elizabeth II had a strong Christian faith that was evident throughout her life in her words and actions.
“She not only had great personal faith, but she was also the Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England, which came with the monarchy.”
So it stands to reason that, as a future Queen Consort, Kate may have worn her pearls to honour the Queen’s religious dedication too.
“In many ways, each and every pearl that was worn throughout the royal mourning period, and throughout the day of the funeral was a symbol and testament to the great respect the women of the Royal Family held for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her lifelong commitment to the throne,” Sam added.
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