18 May 2013

Flashback: The Chelsea Flower Show

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is put on each year by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in Chelsea, London, in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. The Queen is Patron of the RHS and typically attends the opening of the show in May each year, and other members of the royal family are sure to visit as well.

 As jewels go, this is a standard appearance for the Queen. Her standard day set of Queen Mary's Button Earrings and her Three Strand Pearl Necklace are worn today, with appearances early on from other options like the simple Pearl Stud Earrings. A brooch, of course, is required; though floral motifs are obvious choices, they share space with other more general designs and no one favorite stands out from the first 60 years of the Queen's reign.

The real standouts at the Chelsea Flower Show are actually not the jewels, but the headgear, to tell you the truth. Up until 1967 the Queen wore a hat, but from 1968 on she's gone hatless, arriving in either a headscarf or one of her hairnets studded with bows or little flowers...which is an interesting look, to say the least.

A selection of flower show appearances:
1952: Dorset Bow

1967: Teck Corsage

1977: Cullinan V

1982: Cullinan V



2007: Cullinan V

2012: Jardine Star

During her 2012 visit, the RHS presented their Patron with a special gift to mark her Diamond Jubilee: the Chelsea Iris Brooch. As of this writing, it has not been worn publicly. I am expecting (and hoping!) that it will be worn to the 2013 show, and I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes a Braemer Feather-type brooch, worn annually to the show from here out. We shall see.

Photos: British Pathe/PA/BBC/Telegraph/Getty Images/Reuters