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The reason Queen Letizia wore Queen Ena's pearl brooch to the funeral of King Constantine II

The pearl jewellery was a fitting tribute to the Greek royal

Natalie Salmon
Fashion Digital Editor
16 January 2023
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Europe's preeminent royal families have gathered in Greece for the funeral of the late King Constantine II.

For the occasion Queen Letizia of Spain honoured the royal mourning dress code for the event which was held at the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral in Athens. In keeping with tradition she wore a black dress which featured demure tailoring details including a lapel collar and a belted velvet cinched waist and cuffs. The Spanish royal also opted for sensible black tights in a sheer denier, with patent heeled pumps.

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Queen Letizia joined her husband King Felipe VI in Athens

Letizia also donned a historical heirloom, Queen Ena’s Gray Pearl Drop Brooch. The piece hails from Queen Ena’s ‘joyas de pasar’ archive. This statement pearl piece from the Spanish monarchy’s “the jewels that are passed on”  collection is reserved solely for the use of reigning Queens and consorts of Spain. The “broche con perla grande gris pálido rodeada de brillantes y del cual cuelga una perla en forma de pera,” is a brooch with a large, pale gray pearl surrounded by diamonds, from which hangs a pear-shaped pearl.

Pearls are historically referred to as 'mourning jewellery', in a tradition that dates back to Queen Victoria's era. Following the death of her husband Prince Albert, Queen Victoria famously only wore black for 40 years and she accessorised with pearls. The pearls were thought to represent her tears, and so she wore strands of them for the rest of her life. The decision to wear a pearl brooch by Letizia echoes the significance of the solemn occasion. 

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The Spanish royal wore a family heirloom passed down by Queen Ena

 Queen Ena’s ‘joyas de pasar’ collection was started by Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain, (more commonly she was known as simply Queen Ena.) She followed the example of her grandmother, who was in fact the aforementioned Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria had “designated her most important jewels as “heirlooms of the crown,” to be passed directly from monarch to monarch,” according to The Court Jeweller.

The collection of heirloom jewels includes gifts that Queen Ena received from her husband, King Alfonso XIII and one tiara, three necklaces, a pair of earrings, a pair of matching bracelets, and two brooches.

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