The Duchess of Cambridge was wearing a dark Jenny Packham dress, but it was the Cartier diamond known as the Nizam of Hyderabad
necklace, given to Queen Elizabeth II in 1947 for her wedding to the
Duke of Edinburgh, that had tongues wagging. Other guests at the gala
dinner — the duchess’s first official engagement of the year — included Elizabeth Hurley, rocker Bryan Adams and artist Grayson Perry.
The duchess said she was “delighted” to be able to support the gallery.
In a short speech, the duchess said : ‘I just wanted to say how delighted I am to be here this evening to celebrate the fantastic work of The National Portrait Gallery.
’I simply could not be more proud to be its Patron. ’Thank you for being here tonight and showing your support. I hope that you all have a wonderful evening.’ The Nizam of Hyderabad asked the Queen to choose two pieces from Cartier to mark her wedding — and the then Princess Elizabeth chose a tiara and a necklace based on an English rose.
The tiara was subsequently broken up to create other pieces but the necklace remains intact. The Queen wears it occasionally still today.
The Nizam of Hyderabad necklace was originally created by Cartier in 1930s. It consists of a long chain of 38 diamonds (reduced from the original 46) with a diamond-encrusted snap.
The center of the necklace is pave-set with detachable double-drop pendant 13 emerald-cut diamonds and a pear-shaped drop.
Funds raised by the Gala will support the Gallery’s work of delivering inspirational exhibitions and displays, offering unique learning opportunities and undertaking world class research.
Some of the proceeds will go toward the Gallery’s Portrait Fund, which allows it to acquire portraits of outstanding national importance for the Collection.