THE Pearly Kings and Queens of London, commonly referred to as “pearlies”, are an organised charitable tradition of working class culture in London, England. They raise funds to provide a better way of living forToday, there are around 40 families of Pearly Kings and Queens still carrying on the 137-year-old tradition in London, helping out different charities around the city’s boroughs.

Sadly, the two World Wars took a heavy toll on the pearly society, with many families being lost in the conflict.

In order to survive, they were forced to recruit new members. With their flashy costumes, decorated with pearl buttons, Pearly Kings and Queens attend festivals and event raising money for worthy causes.

Each outfit features up to 30,000 pearl buttons and weighs up to 30 kilograms. They are sewn with mystic symbols, stars, moons, suns, flowers, diamonds, Trees of Life, Eyes of God and fertility designs.–GN