26 August 2015

Flashback: State Visit from Saudi Arabia, 1967

Continuing our flashback countdown (countup?) through the decades of The Queen's reign, we're now moving into the 1960s - May 1967, specifically - for a state visit at home from King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. This state visit comes with a special bonus, because the King arrived bearing sparkling gifts.

To welcome her guest to the United Kingdom, The Queen chose the Dorset Bow Brooch, a choice once more popular for day events but today usually confined to remembrance events and anchoring sashes at state banquets.
See the arrival on video here
We're definitely in the thick of Her Majesty's most interesting millinery period here, by the way, as you can see with this sort of upright-tam-o'-shanter number above and the flower-covered topper in the video below.
For this review of the King's Troop Horse Artillery, The Queen is wearing the regiment's badge and the larger Nizam of Hyderabad Rose Brooch.

King Faisal would have been treated to a sparkling state banquet hosted by The Queen, though I have no visual to share of that. He was also the guest of honor at a City of London banquet at the Guildhall - still a fixture of today's London state visits - and just as it is today, The Queen was represented by other members of her family.

Video: The Guildhall Banquet begins at 1:13.
The Duke and Duchess of Kent accompanied King Faisal, and The Duchess glittered away in the small diamond bandeau from Queen Mary that was later turned into her Pearl and Diamond Fringe Tiara.

The Queen donned her tiara for a return banquet hosted by King Faisal, another traditionally glittering part of a state visit that has been mostly discontinued in today's shorter visits. Return banquets were usually an opportunity for The Queen to wear any major pieces of jewelry she may have been given by her guest, and this banquet was the first time she wore the King Faisal Diamond Necklace.
The Harry Winston-designed necklace was King Faisal's gift to Her Majesty, and just one of many Saudi jewels she's been given over the years (the King Khalid Diamond Necklace, and likely the Diamond Chandelier Drop Demi-Parure and the Sapphire Tassel Demi-Parure, to name just a few already covered here). I'm guessing that she intended to wear a diamond and pearl necklace here until the gift was received, judging by her other jewels: the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara, the Duchess of Gloucester's Pendant Earrings, and a diamond and pearl honeycomb bracelet (she inherited bracelets of this general design from both Queen Mary and Princess Marie Louise). She's also wearing the Order of the Garter insignia and her Royal Family Orders.

The King Faisal Necklace has since been worn by the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and The Countess of Wessex, and when it's worn today, it often conflicts with The Queen's necklines. Seen as it was originally worn when it was a brand new member of the collection really highlights this glorious piece, no?

Photos: British Pathe video screencap, and via Getty Images