13 October 2017

Investiture at Buckingham Palace

The Queen held an Investiture at Buckingham Palace.
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Let me know if you spy any video of this one for brooch purposes...otherwise, we're in the dark. Update: With thanks to the Royal Spectator, looks like this was most likely the Cullinan V.

12 October 2017

Women's Royal Naval Service 100 Project Reception and Audiences at Buckingham Palace

The Queen and The Princess Royal attended a reception to mark the centenary of the Women's Royal Naval Service and the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps at the Army and Navy Club, London.
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For more: Zimbio gallery.

The Aqua Clips took her to church on her last Balmoral weekend, and now they're taking her right back to business in London. Surprising to see them twice in a row, but more surprising they still haven't been seen all that often this year.

Royal Family

Three Strand Pearl Necklace


The Queen also held audiences at Buckingham Palace today.
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The Queen getting back to her regularly scheduled London business = us getting back to our regularly scheduled brooch squinting business. I'm pretty sure this is the Pearl Triangle. (On another note, she picked up a new treasure today: a silver pumpkin from the Cambodian ambassador!)

Pearl Triangle Brooch


Of course, while all of this qualifies as business as usual, this week brought an announcement of a break in tradition: The Queen won't be laying her own wreath at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday this year. Instead, The Prince of Wales will lay her wreath while The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh watch from a balcony above, as Camilla, Kate, and other members of the Royal Family do.

This will be a significant change but it's one I'm glad to see. Her wreath was already made lighter for her in 2016, and watching her walk backwards down the small steps at the monument after laying it was making me a little nervous last year, you know? Pass it on, and she'll still be present for it all. A good compromise.

29 September 2017

Visit to Aberdeen

The Queen opened the Robertson Family Roof Garden at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and visited the Sue Ryder Dee View Court Neurological Centre, Aberdeen, Scotland.
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Her Maj looked happy to be back in action today, and the feeling is mutual! This is the 2017 debut of the Sapphire Chrysanthemum Brooch, which works really well on this blue tweed.

ITN screencap

Engagements in Scotland always mark the beginning of the end of The Queen's summer break. Next month, she'll be back to London and back to her usual schedule of public engagements.

04 September 2017

Queen Mary's Thistle Brooch

Queen Mary's Thistle Brooch

A new photographic portrait of The Queen was taken in 2010 and unveiled for the Scottish Parliament in 2011, featuring The Queen wearing - for apparently the first time - a unique diamond brooch. The brooch has the appearance of a key from afar, but up close it becomes a diamond thistle with two leaves forming a wreath and a long stem.

The Queen in 2010
Shaun Murawski/Scottish Parliament

Information released with the new portrait identified the long brooch as a diamond thistle that belonged to The Queen's grandmother, Queen Mary. Despite not being worn until 2010, The Queen most likely inherited it along with much of the rest of Queen Mary's jewel collection on her death in 1953.

Queen Mary, with George V and a young Princess Elizabeth, wears the brooch in Scotland

While Queen Mary wore the brooch pinned to one of her signature toque hats, The Queen has thus far worn it only in traditional brooch style on her shoulder. Both queens have capitalized on the thistle association and worn the brooch in Scotland.

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The Queen in 2017

The brooch had to wait seven years for its next outing, at another Scottish occasion. This offers the first real opportunity to see this brooch in full detail. It's really quite beautiful, isn't it? I'd love to see it back in hat use, though that's not something I expect The Queen will ever do.

Appearances:
4 September 2017: Queensferry Crossing Opening

Queensferry Crossing Opening

The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, opened the new Queensferry Crossing across the Firth of Forth in Scotland.
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All the world's atwitter over Cambridge Baby #3, and I'm over here just excited by the brooch. It's a rare one for Her Maj today and one we haven't covered here previously! Here's my feature on it.

02 September 2017

The Braemar Gathering

The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, The Duke of Rothesay, and The Princess Royal, attended the annual Braemar Gathering in Scotland.
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Braemar Feather Brooch: Check. Pearls all around: Check. Family day of fun and giggles: check.

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The only thing we're missing here is Prince Philip's kilt. Otherwise, it's Braemar business as usual!

09 August 2017

The Duchess of Cornwall's Ruby Garland Demi-Parure

We'll finish up our 70th birthday round of features on Camilla's most impressive official gifts with one last addition to the pile...

Eight years after she wore a ruby and diamond necklace so staggeringly opulent it changed the way Clarence House discloses official gifts, The Duchess of Cornwall did it again. Not with the same necklace, mind you; with a completely different, yet no less extravagant, ruby and diamond demi-parure.

The Duchess of Cornwall wears her Ruby Garland Demi-Parure

For the Royal Film Performance of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in 2015, The Duchess of Cornwall wore a necklace featuring four strands of diamond garlands adorned with 18 pear-shaped rubies, including four down the center of the necklace in diamond surrounds, and multiple pear-shaped diamond elements. The long matching earrings include more diamond-framed rubies finished with a diamond fringe. A matching ruby and diamond bracelet was also worn.

While the provenance of the Ruby Garland Demi-Parure has not been officially confirmed, my strong suspicion is that it was a gift from the late King of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. My guess is based on a few reasons, the first and most obvious being that the complete extravagance of the design screams of the lavish gifts given by Middle Eastern monarchies. Second, the official gift list for a trip by The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall to Saudi Arabia in 2013 listed Camilla as receiving a "parure" (with no further details given) from King Abdullah. It's also possible that she received some jewels when the King came to Britain for a state visit in 2007. Third, she debuted this parure shortly after the King passed away, so it could have been worn as a tribute. I also suspect that King Abdullah gave Camilla her Saudi Sapphire Demi-Parure in 2006.

The bracelet from the demi-parure can be seen peeking out from under her sleeve

If these rubies were an official gift, then they are not The Duchess of Cornwall's private property. You can read more about the rules for official gifts in our feature on the Saudi Ruby Demi-Parure.

 So far, the Ruby Garland Demi-Parure has been worn just once. None of her larger necklaces are worn with any regularity, and this will probably not be an exception. The earrings would be nice to see worn more often; her hair covers shorter earrings, making longer models a better choice for her eveningwear, and these are perfect.

Appearances:
17 February 2015: Royal Film Performance of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel