Queen Letizia of Spain was a vision as she attended the Queen's state banquet at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday night, wearing a bold red dress by her favourite designer, Felipe Varela. But it was the glittering Fleur de Lys tiara perched atop her head that caught the attention of her fellow guests and royal watchers.
Letizia has only worn the tiara once before in February, at a gala dinner held at the royal palace in Madrid for the Argentinian President. The stunning headpiece is considered the crème de la crème of tiaras in the royal family's collection, and is truly fit for a queen. It previously belonged to Letizia's mother-in-law, Queen Sofia of Spain, but she passed it on to her daughter-in-law when her husband King Juan Carlos I abdicated in 2014.
Queen Letizia wore the Fleur de Lys tiara to the state banquet
The tiara is only worn on special occasions, for events like state visits, and is rarely used by other members of the family apart from the queen. It was only fitting that Letizia wear it to the state banquet hosted by Her Majesty; the Countess of Barcelona actually wore it decades ago in 1953 to the Queen's coronation.
This was the second time Letizia has worn the tiara
The family heirloom, known as 'La Buena', was originally a wedding present from King Alfonso XIII to his wife Princess Victoria Eugenie, who wore it on her wedding day in 1906. The princess later became Queen Ena of Spain – the great-grandmother of King Felipe, Letizia's husband, and also an ancestor of Queen Elizabeth II. The tiara features three large fleur de lys motifs – a symbol of heraldry and of the House of Bourbon. It is studded with large round diamonds and set in platinum, which is said to be the lightest of metals for the wearer to use.
The Spanish royals are on a state visit to the UK
Letizia has only been pictured wearing a tiara a handful of times. At her wedding to Felipe, when she was then the crown princess, Letizia wore a simpler style – the Prussian tiara that is constructed of a row of diamonds set in platinum. And when she made her debut as Spain's new queen at a state banquet, Letizia opted for the glittering Mellerio Floral Tiara, a beautiful tiara made of diamonds in the form of flowers.