You don’t have to be a keen royalist to have noticed that the Queen is very frequently seen wearing a select few pieces of jewellery. Among our queenie’s favourites is a three-strand pearl necklace that she has worn regularly for decades now. But why does she wear this particular necklace so often? There are several ways to approach the answer to this question, so let’s get into the different answers.
As you could expect from the Queen of England, a lot of jewellery in the royal family is inherited. The Queen has inherited all manor of pearl jewellery, from pearl brooches, pearl pendants, and more than one antique pearl ring.
The three-strand pearl necklace that the Queen has been seen wearing frequently throughout her entire reign, however, was not inherited. Instead, she had it made shortly after her coronation. This three-strand pearl necklace is something that’s loosely considered as being part of the Queen’s royal uniform.
It couldn’t be more appropriate as a piece of uniform for a ruling queen, however, as queens of England have always worn pearl necklaces. Dating back more than a thousand years, queens in Britain have worn pearls, to the point that there has never been a queen that hasn’t worn pearls.
A tradition of giving pearls as a gift in the British royal family goes back some way, but Queen Victoria made it a tradition that could be passed down through generations. For each one of Queen Victoria’s daughters and granddaughters, she gave them a single pearl for their birthdays for the first eighteen years of their life. This tradition meant that, by the time the young women were 18 years old, they had enough pearls to have their very first pearl strand necklace.
Our Queen’s father, King George VI, continued this tradition, gifting the queen two pearls for each birthday, creating a single pearl strand that she has worn again and again throughout her life. This may have been the first pearl necklace the queen owned, but it wasn’t the last. In 1937, for her father’s coronation, the Queen and her sister, Princess Margaret, both received pearl strand necklaces from their grandfather, King George V.
Pearls – in more families than just the royal family – are associated with special occasions, meaning that pearl jewellery is still used as a common gift within the royal family.
Another, possibly more practical, explanation for why the Queen is seen wearing pearls so often is related to the prim and proper etiquette that is expected of someone as culturally significant as the Queen.
Traditional etiquette would dictate that a proper lady – such as our Queen – should only wear diamond jewellery after 6pm. Meaning that, for any evening event, it would be entirely acceptable and appropriate for the Queen to wear a diamond necklace.
During the daytime, however, it is considered unladylike to wear jewellery as lavish and sparkling as diamond jewellery. Instead, pearl jewellery is considered to be the more appropriate choice. Partially because of the Queen’s age and partially because of how the media works, we as ‘subjects’ of the Queen are much more often exposed to images of her wearing pearl jewellery.
The Queen attends more daytime events, and daytime events are photographed and shared more often than evening events, meaning that we are used to the Queen’s quintessential look being a three-strand pearl necklace or one of her other popular pearl necklaces.
We love the Queen’s style, whether it’s her jewellery, her outfits, or her accessories. Now that we’ve seen some of the reasons behind her choice of her popular pieces, it’s only made her more endearing to the general public.