21 January 2018

Church in Norfolk

The Queen and members of the Royal Family attended church at St. Lawrence Church in Castle Rising, near the Sandringham estate.
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What a crisp and lovely new outfit for Her Maj today, no? I can't even be mad about the lack of a brooch.

Queen Mary's Button Earrings

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The Yorks were in attendance with The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, and these two outfits work out nicely as complements to The Queen's own coat, I think.

18 January 2018

The Multi-Color Pendant Brooch

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The Queen wears the Multi-Color Pendant Brooch, 1984

The main portion of this brooch features stones in three light colors: blue, pink, and yellow, plus white stones in a surrounding design. (I wonder if all three colored stones are sapphires. Sapphires come in white as well, though my default guess for those is always diamonds given whose collection we're talking about.) The brooch has a blue stone pendant. It's an unusual brooch, thanks to those multi-colored stones, and it's an unusual piece to see The Queen wear.

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It's possible that the brooch had just one public outing, in 1984, prior to its surprise appearance at The Queen's 2018 visit to her local Sandringham Woman's Institute meeting. Its history is, thus far, not publicly known. The pink and blue combination is reminiscent of the Sapphire and Ruby Flower Spray Brooch, which is also not often worn. There are several brooches with multi-colored stones in The Queen's jewel vault, for that matter, most of which are not worn with any regularity. (The major exception, of course: her beloved Flower Basket Brooch.)

18 January 2018: Sandringham Women's Institute Meeting

Sandringham Women's Institute Meeting

The Queen made her annual visit to a meeting of the Sandringham Women's Institute, of which she is Honorary President.
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Ah, this year's visit to Her Maj's local WI meeting brings the first new-to-the-blog brooch of the new year! Not new to The Queen, though. Check the link below for more.

17 January 2018

Jewelry Additions from the Royal Gift List, 2017

It's time once again for the annual release of the royal gift lists for the previous year - and, of course, our scouring of those reports and lists to see if any sneaky jewelry items we didn't know about made the lists. Might not hit on any such luck this time around...

Reported lists of The Queen’s official gifts for 2017 include such treasures as glitter ball Christmas ornaments from the German president and the Union Flag from Major Tim Peake's spacesuit, but seem to be fairly jewel-free. We do know that she accepted a new garnet brooch from the Czech president.

The Duchess of Cornwall’s lists are low on jewelry as well, and seem to include mainly small items like a necklace from an individual while on tour in Canada. Her overseas travel in 2017 included a trip to Brunei, where her gift from The Sultan and The Raja Isteri was a handbag and The Prince of Wales received a set including wristwatch, a pair of cufflinks, a ring, and a ball point pen. Both received medals for The Sultan’s Golden Jubilee.

Charles and Camilla both picked up a tremendous amount of books, on a non-jewel note. And scarves, which are always a popular royal gift. The Princess Royal picked up 12 scarves in addition to 8 brooches and an array of other gifts during her busy working year.

The Duchess of Cambridge received a number of likely smaller items as well, including three pairs of earrings from individuals in Poland and Germany, a brooch and charm bracelet from an individual in Luxembourg, and a necklace accepted on her behalf by Prince William from a member of the public in Finland. She also received an amber necklace from the Mayor of Gdańsk, and a picture was published of that. The Duke of Cambridge received amber cufflinks.
The Duchess of Cambridge's amber necklace from Gdańsk
Grzegorz Mehring/www.gdansk.pl

Articles about the gift lists can be found in many places, including this PA article and this Birmingham Mail article.

About official gifts: Official gifts are those received during an official engagement or in connection with an official royal role. These gifts are not the private property of the royal recipient. Members of the royal family can use these gifts for their lifetime (and some, depending on the type of gift and its value, can be given to charity or staff or consumed, as in the case of food); on their death, they are passed to the monarch, who will decide if they should become part of the Royal collection or continue to be used by the deceased's successors. The official gift policy was created in 2003 following issues with distribution of gifts; it can be read here

14 January 2018

Highlights from The Coronation

It took the filmmakers 22 years to get the palace to agree to a sit down with The Queen to discuss, on camera, her recollections of her coronation. The result is the BBC's new documentary, The Coronation - airing on the BBC and the Smithsonian Channel (so far) - and it was pretty delightful.

All parties are careful to characterize Alastair Bruce's time with The Queen as a "conversation" and not an interview; he was not supposed to pose direct questions to the monarch. Still, the dry wit of her responses and the casual ease with which she handled her crowns were the most entertaining parts of the hour. A few highlights:

A smiling explanation that "your neck would break" if the crown slipped off, accompanied by her general (and slightly cheeky) ease in manhandling the Imperial State Crown:

She poked at Elizabeth I's dangling pearls on the crown and declared them "quite sad" looking; "Pearls," she noted, "are sort of living things. They need warming up and these have just been hanging here." She prefers the view including the Black Prince's Ruby and declared the Stuart Sapphire to be unfortunately pale but rather useful, given that it helps tell which side is the front and which is the back. A retelling of the story of the cutting of the Cullinan Diamond earned a casual gesture towards the "chips" - the Cullinan III and IV Brooch - on her shoulder. The Queen speculated that they might not have been reunited since they were cut. (That's an interesting question to ponder, how often the major Cullinan pieces have been in the same room; Queen Mary's Crown used at the 1911 coronation included both Cullinans III and IV.) Incidentally, we have Alastair Bruce to thank for that brooch selection; it was his request, as was the blue dress to contrast with the red of the room. He details that in this audio interview. (H/t to OrangeChia!)

Meanwhile, St. Edward's Crown was tested to see if it was just as heavy as she remembered (it was), and was entertainingly poked and prodded just after it was noted that Her Maj is one of only three people allowed to touch it.

Viewing footage of her coronation at Buckingham Palace, The Queen delivered an entertaining round of one-liners. A succinct assessment of the experience of riding in the Gold State Coach: "Horrible." A reaction to learning that the Crown Jewels were hidden under Windsor Castle during World War II, some key stones pried out and hidden in a biscuit tin: "Did he remember where he put them? Because he might have died in the middle." A recollection of what the children were doing on coronation day: "No idea, I wasn't there."

An enjoyable - and rare! - hour, all in all. Did you have a chance to watch The Coronation?

It is available to view on the BBC's iPlayer, for those with access. The Smithsonian Channel aired it in the U.S. In Australia, ABC will air it on February 4th. I'm sure other methods of watching will pop up as well.

Church at Sandringham

The Queen and members of The Royal Family attended church at Sandringham, Norfolk.
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The Modern Ruby Brooch looks so different from this angle, no? Almost got my hopes up for something new...

07 January 2018

Church at Sandringham

The Queen and members of The Royal Family attended church at Sandringham, Norfolk.
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We've got our first brooch-in-the-wild sighting of 2018, and it's pink! May this bring us a colorful brooch year from here on out.