29 July 2012

Church at Balmoral

The Queen attended services at Crathie Church during her annual Balmoral break.
A not-so-often seen brooch, provided you can get past the busy hat to see it.

Photo: PacificCoastNews

The Ruby and Gold Flower Brooch

The Ruby and Gold Flower Brooch
This brooch, an arrangement of flowers in gold with diamonds and rubies, isn't seen often. I don't believe it's been definitively identified, though one of several brooches on the Queen's list of wedding gifts seems a high probability. One possibility might be the brooch which was a gift from the Principality of Monaco, described as a "gold brooch set with diamonds and rubies in a trellised floral design".

12 March 2014: Royal Commonwealth Society Visit
29 May 2013: Queen's Award for Voluntary Service Reception
23 May 2013: Visit to Cambridge
15 May 2013: Audiences at Buckingham Palace
19 April 2013: Newbury Races
29 July 2012: Church at Balmoral

Photos: PA/Corbis

28 July 2012

Visit to Olympic Park

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal, and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, toured Olympic Park, including the Aquatics Centre for the swimming competitions, the Athletes' Village, and the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower.
Let's play the association game, shall we? What do we have here...well, that sure looks like Team GB blue and that brooch is from 1948 - the last time the Olympics was in London. Well played, HM. After hitting Olympic Park, she headed north for her well-deserved Balmoral break.

Photo: AP

The Flower Basket Brooch

The Flower Basket Brooch
Originally a gift from her parents to mark the birth of Prince Charles in 1948, this brooch has been a regular star ever since. Read more at Order of Splendor.

13 March 2014: Visit from King Philippe and Queen Mathilde
7 March 2014: Investiture at Windsor Castle
19 February 2014: Audience at Buckingham Palace
25 December 2013: Christmas Broadcast, 2013
23 October 2013: The Christening of Prince George
17 October 2013: Audience at Buckingham Palace
8 September 2013: Church at Balmoral
10 April 2013: Investiture at Windsor Castle
20 February 2013: Audience at Buckingham Palace
30 December 2012: Church at Sandringham
12 August 2012: Church at Balmoral
27 July 2012: Visit to Olympic Park
1 May 2012: Visit to the South West, Day 1
8 March 2012: Visit to Leicester
15 February 2012: Multi-Faith Reception 
2007: Royal Ascot
2007: Official Visit to the Netherlands  
2005: Commonwealth Day Observance Service
Various Years: Christmas Broadcast 

Photo: Royal Collection/Queen Elizabeth II

27 July 2012

Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the Royal Family, officially opened the London Olympic Games.
I think this is the rule: you agree to "parachute" out of  helicopter, you can wear as many diamonds as you like. Yup. Sounds right to me.

Diamond Earrings, looks to be Queen Mary's Diamond Cluster Earrings
Diamond Collet Necklace


Queen Adelaide's Brooch

Queen Adelaide's Brooch
This brooch, like a good bit of the jewels created for King William IV's consort Queen Adelaide, was created by reusing other jewels (the couple were left to deal with the aftermath of the pure excess that was the reign of George IV and thus were a little more conservative). In this case, a Badge of the Order of the Bath belonging to George III yielded a large center diamond, six brilliants for the perimeter, and smaller stones to fill out the hexagon design.
Left to Right: Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth (the future Queen Mother)
It was ordered by William IV (and is actually often known as the William IV Brooch) for his wife from Rundell jewelers, and originally served as a clasp for a pearl necklace. The brooch became an heirloom of the Crown, and has been passed down from queen to queen: from Adelaide to Victoria, Alexandra to Mary, and Elizabeth to Elizabeth II.
Queen Elizabeth II
This piece stands out in the Queen's collection because of its long history (much of her jewels for day-to-day wear originate from Queen Victoria's time or after) and because of its size. For day-to-day wear, this is especially large and diamond-packed. The Queen has worn it in the evening as well, it's just that sparkly.

10 October 2013: Visit from the King and Queen of Tonga
11 July 2013: Coronation Festival Gala
27 July 2012: Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics
2009: Commonwealth Day Observance Service
2006: Royal Maundy Service  
1999: CHOGM Dinner
1968: Chelsea Flower Show 

Photos: Leslie Field/Corbis/Getty Images

Olympic Heads of State Reception

The Queen, accompanied by several members of the Royal Family, hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace for visiting Heads of State prior to the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in London.
Hmm, will have to give this brooch some pondering. Looks like the Diamond and Gold Rose Brooch but maybe with two central blossoms. Thoughts?

UPDATE: I believe we have a brooch match.

25 July 2012

Visit to the South

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, visited the Isle of Wight and New Forest in celebration of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee.
Annnnnddd DONE. This is the last stop on the Jubilee Whistle Stop Tour. Spread over 25 days, she's hit 10 regions and conducted 83 engagements. Phew!

Photos:Getty Images

24 July 2012

Lunch at Downing Street

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, was entertained to luncheon at Downing Street with four of her current and former Prime Ministers.
 What do you think these kids talk about at these things? Too bad Liz is too polite to let 'em all have it: "You remember that time you wanted to do that stupid thing and I talked you out of it? You're welcome. No need to thank me in the history books."


The Cambridge Pearl Pendant Brooch

The Cambridge Pearl Pendant
This large pearl button surrounded by diamonds with a pearl pendant comes from the Duchess of Cambridge, Queen Mary’s grandmother, and has passed down to the Queen. Read more at Order of Splendor.

20 April 2014: David Bailey Portrait
27 March 2014: Visit to the City of London (No Pendant)
19 March 2014: Audiences at Buckingham Palace
27 February 2014: Audience at Buckingham Palace
6 November 2013: Audiences at Buckingham Palace (No Pendant)
24 October 2013: Audiences at Buckingham Palace
25 June 2013: Audiences at Buckingham Palace
25 December 2012: Christmas Message, 2012
29 November 2012: State Visit from Kuwait, Farewell
24 July 2012: Lunch at Downing Street
18 May 2012: Diamond Jubilee Sovereigns’ Luncheon
8 April 2012: Easter Service
2010: Visit to Canada 
2006: Luncheon for Fellow 80-Year-Olds 
2005: Festival of Remembrance
1999: Chelsea Flower Show 
1985, 1990: Royal Maundy Service 
1983, 2007: Order of Merit Presentation  
1977: Piccadilly Line to Heathrow Opening 
1976: 50th Birthday Photos 
Various Years: Christmas Broadcast   

23 July 2012

IOC Reception

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh gave a reception for the members of the International Olympic Committee at Buckingham Palace.
They gave her a set of medals! So that's the necklaces for the next two weeks sorted, then. (That's what I'd do. Prance around the palace in them, at least.)


Prince Albert's Sapphire Brooch

Prince Albert's Sapphire Brooch
Given to Queen Victoria by Prince Albert the day before their wedding, this large sapphire surrounded by diamonds has been passed down from queen to queen ever since. Read more at Order of Splendor.

17 February 2014: Reception for the Dramatic Arts
29 November 2013: Windsor Guildhall Visit
21 June 2013: Royal Ascot, Day Four
28 March 2013: Royal Maundy Service
18 December 2012: Cabinet Meeting
7 August 2012: Balmoral Garden Party
23 July 2012: IOC Reception
2011: State Visit to Ireland
2000: Order of Merit Presentation  
1987: Christmas Broadcast 
1982: Christening of Prince William
1981: Chelsea Flower Show 
1963, 1986: Royal Maundy Service  

21 July 2012

King George Day, Ascot

The Queen visited Ascot for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
She pays a weekend visit to her own racecourse just like I do! (And by "racecourse", in my case, I mean the couch.)

Photo: Getty Images

19 July 2012

Visit to the North East, Day 2

Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen finished her two day visit to the North East in celebration of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee. The royal couple visited Leeds and Saltaire.
Hey, look! I do believe we have a match for our previous mystery brooch! Well, that's something, even if it's still a mystery piece (see the brooch post linked below).

Photos:WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Tudor Rose Brooch

The Tudor Rose Brooch
This unknown brooch or badge seems to have a representation of the famous five petal red Tudor rose with its white center at the top. The element it sits on appears to be studded with stones of a more purple tone. Lacking further details, I will call it the Tudor Rose Brooch for now.

The fact that it made two appearances fairly close together - possibly its first appearances - suggests to me that it could be a recent gift, acquisition, or newly found treasure out of the vault. That, of course, is just speculation.

12 February 2013: Audiences at Buckingham Palace
5 December 2012: Audiences at Buckingham Palace
19 July 2012: Visit to the North East, Day 2
8 July 2012: Church at Sandringham

18 July 2012

Visit to the North East, Day 1

Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen began her two day visit to the North East in celebration of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee. The royal couple visited Tyne and Wear, Durham, and Stockton-on-Tees.
Lilibet in orange sherbet! (I'm so very hungry today.) And also, the Jardine Star again. Will it be making a run for this year's most worn brooch? Oh, the suspense is just too much to bear.

Photo: Evening Chronicle Twitter Feed (@EveningChron)

17 July 2012

Audience with the High Commissioner for Jamaica

The Queen received the High Commissioner for Jamaica, Mrs. Aloun Ndombet-Assamb, for an audience at Buckingham Palace. She also conducted several other audiences.
This is the Pearl Trefoil Brooch, though you might have to take my word on that or just reaaaaalllly squint hard.

Photo: Getty Images

The Pearl Trefoil Brooch

The Pearl Trefoil Brooch
The Pearl Trefoil Brooch has three top loops which mimic the three-fold trefoil design present in architecture, heraldry, and more. It's sometimes called a quatrefoil, as there is a bottom scroll detail as well (though it differs from the top three). It includes five pearls - the largest in the center, plus one in each direction - nestled in an undulating diamond setting.
This one does not have a known origin, and with a classic design like this it's hard to make any guesses. She's worn it since the 1980s, at least, and it is one of her "all purpose" brooches that can be worn on any sort of outfit.

31 March 2014: Windsor Grey Statue Unveiling
20 March 2014: Lieutenant Governors Reception
6 March 2014: Reed's School Visit
19 January 2014: Church at Wolferton
27 November 2013: Audiences at Buckingham Palace
1 September 2013: Church at Balmoral
24 July 2013: Visit to Kensington Palace 
26 June 2013: Audience at Buckingham Palace
7 June 2013: BBC Broadcasting House Opening
16 May 2013: Audiences at Buckingham Palace
13 January 2013: Church at Sandringham
24 October 2012: Audiences at Buckingham Palace
21 July 2012: King George Day, Ascot
17 July 2012: Audience with the High Commissioner for Jamaica
15 May 2012: Visit to South London
21 April 2012: Newbury Races 
29 March 2012: Engagements in Greater London 
2007: Royal Ascot
2003, 2011: Easter Service
1998: Chelsea Flower Show 
1997: Royal Maundy Service
1988: Official Visit to the Netherlands 
Various Years: Christmas Broadcast

Photos: Corbis/Polfoto/PA

15 July 2012

Updates from the Past

As time allows, I add events and jewels worn in the past by the Queen. I'm currently working my way back through the 2012 events which occurred before the blog started. These posts are dated back to when they actually occurred, so they don't appear on the front page of the blog. In case you missed them, here are this week's past event and jewel updates: 

12 July 2012

Visit to the West Midlands, Day 2

Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen finished her two day visit to the West Midlands in celebration of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee. The royal couple visited Birmingham and Shropshire.
I was rather surprised the Flame Lily Brooch didn't make the cut for the Buckingham Palace diamond exhibit - after all, it is the one she wore when she first stepped foot on British soil as queen - but perhaps she knew she needed it for this event: the brooch was made by Eric Kippin, whose son lives in Shropshire today.

Photos:WPA Pool/Getty Images

11 July 2012

Visit to the West Midlands, Day 1

Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen began her two day visit to the West Midlands in celebration of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee. The royal couple visited Hereford and Worcester.
Just when you think the Jubilee madness has stopped, the tours kick up again! The Dynamic Duo will be at this until the end of the month.

Photos:Getty Images

The Queen Mother's Palm Leaf Brooch

The Queen Mother's Palm Leaf Brooch
One of the Queen Mother's favorite brooches was this palm leaf, created for her by Cartier from stones already in her collection in 1938. It includes a center of brilliant diamonds of varying shapes inside a curved diamond border.
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
The Queen Mother wore it throughout her life. It can even be spotted in the iconic "Three Queens in Mourning" photograph taken after the death of King George VI.
Three queens in mourning: Elizabeth II, Mary, and Elizabeth
The current queen inherited the brooch when her mother passed away in 2002, and she's placed it on her list of favorites just as her mother once had.
Queen Elizabeth II
Prior to learning any sort of official information on the brooch - from the recently published The Queen's Diamonds, by Hugh Roberts - I, like many jewel watchers, had called this one the Paisley Brooch, and so it will always remain in my mind.

30 April 2013: State Visit from the UAE, Welcome Ceremony and State Luncheon
1 November 2012: Jubilee Stained Glass Window Unveiling
11 July 2012: Visit to the West Midlands, Day 1
19 May 2012: Diamond Jubilee Armed Forces Parade and Muster 
11 May 2012: Diamond Jubilee Pageant Tea Party
12 March 2012: Commonwealth Day Observance 
2011: Visit to Australia  
2010: Visit to Canada 
2010: Chelsea Flower Show  
2009: Christmas Service 
2009: Royal Maundy Service  

Photos: Getty Images/Corbis/BBC

10 July 2012

Meeting the President of France

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh received the Olympic Torch at Windsor Castle. Her Majesty later hosted the new President of France, Francois Hollande, for tea during his visit to Britain.
Showing off the French skillz. Respect. Not sure that quite makes up for the gift disparity (she gave him signed and framed portraits of herself and Philip, he gave her a Sevres porcelain statue of Poseidon's wife Amphitryon on the back of a sea horse because she likes horses so very much), but okay. Blame that one on the diplomats.

Photo: Pool/Getty Images

08 July 2012

Church at Sandringham

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh attended church near Sandringham.
Staying well away from Wimbledon, QEII popped up wearing red and a brooch (click for pictures)...but what brooch? Guesses?
UPDATE: This seems to have been worn again on July 19, 2012.

Three Strand Pearl Necklace

Photo: Ian Burt via Daily Mail (Heavily cropped and manipulated for detail)

07 July 2012

On The Queen's Diamonds

As many of you know, Buckingham Palace's summer exhibition this year focuses on diamonds for the Diamond Jubilee year. Accordingly, a book on Her Majesty's diamonds was released in May. The Queen’s Diamonds by Hugh Roberts is the first truly authorized account of the personal jewels at the Queen’s dispense. It’s published by Royal Collection Publications and Hugh Roberts is a former director of the Royal Collection, so you know you’re in officially good hands.

Having had my copy for several weeks now and having read it cover to cover, I thought I’d share my thoughts for those still on the fence about whether to invest in the book or not.

The Basics: This is a big book, large reference size and more than 300 pages. The photography is excellent and most pictures depict the jewels life-size or larger. There’s also a fair number of interesting shots of the backs of the jewels, which is always enlightening. And of course, photographs of the jewels in use are also included. It’s organized into sections by queen: Adelaide, Victoria, Alexandra, Mary, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth II. After a short intro to each, the jewels are given individual sections.

The Good: The first thing that impressed me was that it starts with Queen Adelaide; so many books pick up with Queen Victoria and the jewels that preceded her, rare though they might be, don’t get this kind of attention. The references are also superb, and the copious footnotes (including source attribution) hold many gem insights of their own.

Beyond that, there are two areas where I feel the book truly shines: first, in Queen Mary’s jewel meddling, and second, in the Queen Mother’s collection. When it comes to Queen Mary, we have always known that she loved her jewels and she didn’t hesitate to switch things around, but prior to this book her exact switches and some of the sources of the jewels for the new pieces she created were a mystery. This book solves many a question in that department for long-time admirers of the royal jewels. It also gives us the first real quality source of information about the Queen Mother’s jewels, and fills in many blanks with regards to provenance of some of her favorite pieces.

The Not-So-Good: There were two areas of slight disappointment for me with this book (and truly, just slight). First, the section on Elizabeth II’s jewelry is essentially limited to pieces already covered in previously published books on the Queen's jewels. I, like many, had been hoping for a more comprehensive look at items added during Elizabeth II's reign, but it was not to be. This is understandable, though: it’s easier and less of an expression of wealth in some ways to talk about items with a long history. Discussing the items acquired in the more recent past is a far touchier subject, and we must remember that many of these pieces are still her private property.

Secondly, there are several photographs in the book which show more “mystery” pieces, but these pieces are not mentioned. I found it a bit odd that no attempt of an explanation in the captions was made. Again, that’s me hoping for a level of detail which is likely unattainable. Overall, there is more than enough detail here to outweigh these concerns.

I’ll add a third point which was not for me a disappointment, but might be of use to those deciding whether to purchase this book: you should be aware that it is precisely what it claims to be – it is about the Queen’s diamonds. Not other stones. There are pearls and a splash of emeralds on show here, but only as they relate to important diamond pieces. In that respect, it’s not a comprehensive glance at the Queen’s collection; if you’re looking for information on her sapphires or something else, you’re out of luck.

Overall: I’m hugely impressed with this book, and feel it is very much worth the price. If you make jewel watching a hobby, this should own an essential spot on your bookshelf.

Click here for the book at Amazon. It's available elsewhere too, of course.

If you've read the book, what did you think?

06 July 2012

Holyrood Week, Day 5

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, visited Perth on the final day of Holyrood Week.
Ruffles on the pockets and sleeves? Hmm. Personally, I don't need my Lilibet with extra precious added in.


The Six Petal Diamond Flower Brooch

The Six Petal Diamond Flower Brooch
The Queen has had this brooch since she was Princess Elizabeth. It's composed of six diamond petals surrounding a large single diamond collet. Each diamond petal has a row of larger diamonds down the center.
The exact origins of the brooch are not known. She memorably wore it for the photo call showing off her engagement ring and fiancé in 1947, so it obviously has personal significance for Her Majesty.

28 January 2014: Thornham Village Hall Opening
23 June 2013: Al Habtoor Royal Windsor Cup
1 June 2013: Epsom Derby
6 July 2012: Holyrood Week, Day 5
15 March 2012: Re-Opening Kensington Palace 
10 February 2012: Audiences at Buckingham Palace 
2007: Royal Ascot

Photos: PA/Vogue/Life

05 July 2012

Holyrood Week, Day 4: Order of the Thistle Service

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by the Princess Royal and the Countess of Strathearn, attended a Thistle Service at St. Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh for the installation of Prince William, Earl of Strathearn, as a Knight of the Thistle and attended a lunch as guests of the Knights of the Thistle.
It's just like Garter Day, only greener, and with more bagpipes.

Photos:Getty Images/PA

The Star of the Order of the Thistle

The Queen wears the Star of the Order of the Thistle on her left side
The Star, or breast star, of the Order of the Thistle consists of a silver saltire (St. Andrew's cross) with rays in between the arms. In the center, a thistle is surrounded by the Order's motto, Nemo me impune lacessit ("No one provokes me with impunity"). The Queen wears a bejeweled version, but we don't get to see it often as she's more frequently seen wearing the insignia of the Order of the Garter.
Stars can really be works of art and jewels all on their own. Click here to see the Thistle Star worn by Queen Victoria at the Royal Collection.

Other Featured Thistle Insignia:
The Collar and St. Andrew
The Mantle and Hat

5 July 2012: Order of the Thistle Service

Photos: Bauer Griffin/Wikipedia

The Mantle of the Order of the Thistle

The Mantle of the Order of the Thistle
Just like its fellow order, the Order of the Garter, the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle's insignia includes the Mantle, also called a robe, cloak, or cape. The Mantle is made of dark green velvet lined with white taffeta, elaborate green and gold cords, and white ribbons at the shoulders. The Thistle Collar, with the St. Andrew as a pendant, is draped over the Mantle across the shoulders. The Queen, as Sovereign of the Order, has a longer train on her Mantle and she is attended by a Page of Honour who is tasked with managing it.
The Queen's Star on her Mantle
The Mantle has an enlarged version of the Star of the Thistle on the left shoulder. The Star features a thistle on a gold background, surrounded by a green circle with the Order's motto, Nemo me impune lacessit ("No one provokes me with impunity") written in gold letters. This is centered on a silver St. Andrew's saltire (the cross, an X, as depicted on the Scottish flag) with rays in between the arms. As with the Garter Mantle, the Queen also has a different Star on her Mantle than other Knights and Ladies.
When the Mantle is worn, the distinctive velvet hat with its white feather plume is also worn. It's ornamented with a medallion with the thistle and the Order's motto.

Excluding portrait sittings, the Mantle and hat are worn for the Order of the Thistle service at St. Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh and could be worn for other highly ceremonial occasions.

Click here for more information on the Order of the Thistle from the British Monarchy's official website. Click here for more on the general use of order insignia in all royal countries from Order of Splendor.

Other Featured Thistle Insignia:
The Collar and St. Andrew
The Star

5 July 2012: Order of the Thistle Service