Britain · Netherlands · Sweden

Stellar State Visits – The Fifties

As promised, we are revisiting state visits by decade, starting with the fifties. It’s a fun review of past glories and one where you will actually be able to vote on your favorites.

State Visits of the fifties were lit, in more ways than one. They were grand sparkling affairs, and tiaras didn’t appear only once. Three tiara events were not unusual. We’ll give you three of these stately visits of the past as thought starters, and you can vote for one of these as your favorites. You can also nominate one of your own, and plead your case for it in the comments.

Dutch State Visit to Great Britain, November 1950

The visit was hosted by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard were the visiting royals, and there were special appearances by Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. There were three tiara events: a state banquet held the first evening, a ball at Buckingham Palace, and a return banquet hosted by the Dutch at Claridge’s on the final evening. So many tiaras were worn, but unfortunately, photos of these earlier visits are hard to come by. Fortunately, we have some video clips that capture the grandeur.

Greeting the Dutch Queen.

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The return banquet with sparkle in action.

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Day three of the visit, with a glimpse of the return banquet.

To see more sparkle in motion, check out The Royal Watcher’s post on this visit.

British State Visit to Sweden, June 1956

The British visit to Sweden in 1956 is one for the ages. It was hosted by  King Gustaf Adolf and Queen Louise of Sweden, and the young Queen Elizabeth and her consort, Prince Philip, were the honored guests. There were lots of tiaras. The Vladimir and the Braganza, big guns indeed, were worn. There were supporting appearances by the Haga Princesses and a guest star appearance by Princess Margaret. The visit was extended so the Queen could attend the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Equestrian Events.

Fast Fact: Queen Louise of Sweden was the maternal aunt of Prince Philip. Louise was a sister of Princess Alice of Battenberg, and of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma

On one of the evenings of the extended visit, several visiting royals attended a Gala Performance at the Drottningholm Palace Theater.

It’s quite a feat guessing the royals in this photo.

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Lots of video clips and a complete list of the activities during this extended visit can be found at the Royal Watcher blog.

British State Visit to the Netherlands, March 1958

This visit featured three tiara events and a visit to Asscher’s in Amsterdam. Really, can it get any better? Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard hosted Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, and the young Dutch princesses, Beatrix and Irene, made appearances. Queen Elizabeth wore the Cullinan to visit Asscher’s. This was the firm that cut the original Cullinan Diamond, so it was a most fitting convergence.

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The major bling that came out to play at the first gala included the Vladimir (on the British side), the Stuart, the Dutch Laurel wreath, and the Ears of Wheat (on the Dutch side).

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One of HerMajesty’s most glamorous appearances was the next night when she wore a simple dark dress with Queen Alexandra’s Kokoshnik tiara, the George VI Festoon Necklace, the Greville chandelier earrings, and Queen Mary’s Lovers Knot brooch. Queen Juliana wore the Dutch Diamond bandeau, a tiara that I have never considered remotely “small”.

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There was also a return banquet held on the Royal Britannia, that is not well documented photographically. We know it occurred, though!

More information on this visit can be found at the Royal Watcher blog.

Vote for your favorite here. You only get one choice from the three listed above, but you can always add your own. We’ll leave this open until next week when we take a peek at some 1960s state visits.

Tell us your favorite 1950s state visit!

Spam your photos of any 1950s state visit in the comments.