21 August 2013

Flashback: State Visit from the United States, 2011

In May 2011, the British royal family welcomed President and Mrs. Obama for a state visit to the United Kingdom. Most of the trip was a roster of favorites for the Queen, but there were a few interesting choices to see:

Video: State Visit Arrival
To welcome her guests, the Queen chose the Cullinan V Brooch (plus her other regular day items); for the state banquet, a suite of diamonds and pearls.

Video: State Banquet
The Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara in its original pearl version, Queen Victoria's Pearl Drop Earrings, Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Necklace, the Queen's Pearl Evening Watch and a five strand pearl bracelet, perhaps Queen Mary's Pearl Bracelet, were all on display along with the Riband, Star, and Lesser George of the Order of the Garter. More interesting was the Queen's use of the full Teck Corsage Brooch, a piece she hadn't used in a long time, and her decision to leave all Royal Family Orders off for the night. (The Duchess of Cornwall was also there, in her standby Greville Tiara, along with other members of the royal family.)
State banquet (left) and return banquet (right)
The Obamas hosted a return banquet, something that used to be a standard part of a state visit but which we see less and less of these days. The Queen opted for emeralds, in the form of her Emerald Tassel Parure (necklace, earrings, bracelet, and ring) plus at least one other emerald ring and a gold evening watch. She also wore the most curious piece of all from this visit: a small flower brooch of sorts (see inset above). And here I must ask you: what do you make of this? I do not recall seeing this previously, nor have I found reference to the Obamas gifting the Queen with a brooch during the trip, which might be a potential explanation for a mystery appearance at a return dinner. Does anyone know more?

Photos: PA