On Wednesday, King Charles and Queen Camilla made their first visit to the City of London, the one-mile square neighborhood in the metropolitan area with a degree of legal independence from the monarchy. Following a centuries-old tradition, their majesties marked the visit with a Temple Bar ceremony, where Charles was presented with a ceremonial Pearl Sword, and an official dinner at Mansion House, the Lord Mayor’s official residence. In an homage to the late Queen Elizabeth II, Camilla used the dinner to make her debut appearance in the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara, one of the Windsors’ most illustrious and historic pieces of jewelry.
The tiara was given to Charles’ great-grandmother Queen Mary on the occasion of her wedding in 1893. When Mary and the future George V were wed, it was customary for groups around the nation to fundraise for wedding gifts for the heir to the throne. Lady Eva Greville led a fundraising drive for women’s associations across the British Isles to purchase Mary a new tiara, and scholars eventually gave the Garrard & Co-designed headpiece its name in their honor. When then-Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip in 1947, the widowed Queen Mary gave her the tiara as a wedding present.
Along with the tiara, Camilla also made her first appearance in a necklace and bracelet set that belonged to her late mother-in-law. On the occasion of her 21st birthday in 1947, the late queen received a necklace with 21 diamonds during a visit to South Africa.
Though the visit to the City of London followed in tradition’s footsteps, Charles focused on contemporary issues in a speech he delivered during the dinner. In addition to mentioning climate change and artificial intelligence, he discussed the importance of relationships between people of different faiths.
“Is our society, with its deep and ancient roots — nurtured and enriched by our welcome of new citizens from the four corners of the globe since the dawn of our history — up to the challenges and ready to meet them, head-on? I believe so,” he said. “Because at such a juncture in our national life, there are special strengths which we can summon to help us — deep wells on which we can draw, filled not just with our shared histories and experiences, but with literally countless individual stories too; a mix of memories past and ambitions future, to help give ourselves a sense of perspective.”
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