31 March 2013

Easter Service

The Queen, accompanied by members of the Royal Family, attended Easter Service in Windsor.
Click above for an article and video from The Telegraph.
Happy Easter to you! No surprises from the Queen to report - as expected, she went for a nice spring-but-still-winter pastel outfit with an old standby brooch.


Photos: Telegraph screencap/PA

30 March 2013

The Five Aquamarine Tiara

The Five Aquamarine Tiara
This tiara, composed of five aquamarines set in a ribbon-like diamond surround, was worn once by the Queen during a 1970 trip to Canada before it disappeared back into the vault.
The Queen (left) and the Countess of Wessex (right)
Some suspected it had been broken up, but it was proven to be intact when it reappeared on the Countess of Wessex. Chances are it is a loan to the Countess, so we will include it here as technically a part of the Queen's collection.

Click here to read more at Order of Splendor.

Appearances:
19 October 2012: The Pre-Wedding Gala Dinner in Luxembourg (on the Countess of Wessex, at Order of Splendor)
31 October 2012: State Visit from Indonesia, State Banquet (on the Countess of Wessex, at Order of Splendor)

Photos: Cour grand-ducale

The Brazilian Aquamarine Parure

The Brazilian Aquamarine Parure Tiara
The President and people of Brazil gave the Queen a necklace and earrings of aquamarines and diamonds for her coronation in 1953. In 1958, they added to the set by giving her a bracelet and large brooch to match. The Queen has also added to the set, commissioning a tiara from Garrard in 1957 which was substantially changed in 1971. 
The rest of the parure (necklace, earrings, brooch, bracelet) and the Queen wearing parts of the set (the brooch alone, and the tiara, necklace, and earrings together)
The parure is still used for evening events today, and the brooch alone is occasionally worn on its own during the day.

Click here to read more at Order of Splendor.

Appearances: 
4 June 2013: Coronation Anniversary Service (Brooch only)
19 June 2012: Royal Ascot, Day One (Brooch only)
2011: Visit to Australia 
1982: Royal Maundy Service (Brooch only)

Photos: Getty Images/Royal Collection

28 March 2013

Royal Maundy Service

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, attended the Royal Maundy Service at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford.
Click above to see an article and video from The Telegraph.
Yummy rich blue, a hat that looks like it got caught in a fancy tornado, and the Albert for the win! This is the fifth year in a row for blue-toned outfit, I don't think anyone guessed Prince Albert's Sapphire Brooch would be it in the comments on the Maundy flashback. Were you surprised?

Photos:Telegraph screencap/Bauer Griffin

27 March 2013

Flashback: Easter Service

As the Supreme Governor of the Church of England and quite a religious woman herself, Easter is a special holiday on the Queen's calendar. She spends the day at Windsor Castle with her family, attending church in the morning.

This handful of Easter appearances are all within the Queen's Three Strand Pearl Necklace and
Queen Mary's Button Earrings phase.






The last few years have been mostly pearl and diamond brooches with a dash of the Queen Mother's collections, all worn on happy Easter pastels. Which brooch do you think we'll see next?

Photos: Getty Images/Corbis/PA

26 March 2013

Investiture at Buckingham Palace

The Queen held an Investiture at Buckingham Palace.
Click above for a video and article from the BBC.
And the Olympic investiture train rolls on, with gongs for Victoria Pendleton, Stella McCartney, and more. HM is very sparkly today; I thought she might forgo the brooch given the shoulder ornamentation, but she seems to have stuck one on top. Which brooch is the question: at first glance, I saw the Frosted Sunflower, but I want that one to take a rest so much that I'm happily seeing all kinds of other possibilities. Your opinions, please?

Unidentified Brooch

Photo:BBC screencap

25 March 2013

The Gold Trellis Brooch

The Gold Trellis Brooch
Occasionally used by the Queen today, this brooch includes a folded gold net or trellis work with five lilies or leaves in diamonds with ruby stems. It is another of her wedding gifts from 1947, and can be seen displayed with the rest at the time.
The wedding gifts on display; Gold Trellis Brooch circled
Exactly which wedding gift it might be is unconfirmed, but the present from the director of Garrard seems likely, as it was described as "a ruby and diamond trellis gold brooch". There are other unidentified brooches on the wedding gift list, though, including a "gold brooch set with diamonds and rubies in a trellised floral design" from the Principality of Monaco, or a ruby and diamond brooch from the Margravine of Baden, Prince Philip's sister. There are other possibilities for these gifts, though, including the Ruby and Gold Flower Brooch.
The Queen uses it occasionally these days, typically capitalizing on the gold and ruby tones in the brooch by wearing it with yellow, gold, pink, or red outfits.

Appearances:
30 October 2013: Audience and Investiture at Buckingham Palace
9 October 2013: Commonwealth Games Baton Relay Launch
1989: Easter Service

Photos: Getty Images/Corbis/PA

24 March 2013

Flashback: Royal Maundy Service

A staple on the Queen's calendar each year is the Royal Maundy Service, held on Maundy Thursday - the day before Good Friday, before Easter. Royal Maundy has been a tradition for centuries. It once involved the sovereign washing the feet of the poor in addition to giving them money and gifts; these days, the Queen hands out special purses of "Maundy money" to groups of pensioners (retirees) each year. A group of men and a group of women, each group equal to the sovereign's age at the time of the service, are selected by the local diocese to receive the coins. The service was normally held at Westminster Abbey, but the Queen opted to vary the location after her accession. In the course of her reign, Royal Maundy Service has been held at most of the major cathedrals in the country.

The first Maundy Service of the Queen's reign was actually the first official public engagement of her reign. For the first several years, she primarily wears a simple pair of pearl stud earrings, with a Three Strand Pearl Necklace.

1952, Westminster Abbey: Vanguard Rose Brooch
1953, St Paul's Cathedral: Dorset Bow Brooch
1954, Westminster Abbey: The Queen was not present, as she was away on a Commonwealth tour.
1955, Southwark Cathedral: No Brooch
1956, Westminster Abbey: Williamson Diamond Brooch

1957, St. Albans Abbey: Sapphire Chrysanthemum Brooch
1958, Westminster Abbey: Aquamarine Clip Brooches
1959, St George's Chapel, Windsor: No Brooch
1960, Westminster Abbey: The Queen was not present, due to Prince Andrew's recent birth.
1961, Rochester Cathedral: No Brooch

1962, Westminster Abbey: No Brooch
1963, Chelmsford Cathedral: Prince Albert's Sapphire Brooch
1964, Westminster Abbey: The Queen was not present, due to Prince Edward's recent birth.
1965, Canterbury Cathedral: Dorset Bow Brooch
1966, Westminster Abbey: Unknown Brooch

From about her 1965 appearance on, the Queen settles in to the earring/necklace combo for the Maundy Service that we see constantly today: Queen Mary's Button Earrings  and a Three Strand Pearl Necklace.

1967, Durham Cathedral: Unidentified Brooch
1968, Westminster Abbey: Not Pictured
 1969, Selby Abbey: No Brooch
1970, Westminster Abbey: The Queen was not present, as she was in New Zealand.
1971, Tewkesbury Abbey: No Brooch
1972, York Minster: Empress Marie Feodorovna's Sapphire Brooch

1973, Westminster Abbey: Unknown Brooch
1974, Salisbury Cathedral: Dorset Bow Brooch
1975, Peterborough Cathedral: No Brooch
1976, Hereford Cathedral: Not Pictured
1977, Westminster Abbey: Not Pictured
1978, Carlisle Cathedral: Australian Wattle Brooch
1979, Winchester Cathedral: Not Pictured
1980, Worcester Cathedral: Round Cambridge Emerald Brooch
1981, Westminster Abbey: Not Pictured

1982, St. David's Cathedral, Dyfed: Brazilian Aquamarine Parure Brooch
1983, Exeter Cathedral: Cullinan V Brooch
1984, Southwell Minster: Scroll Cambridge Emerald Brooch
 1985, Ripon Cathedral: Cambridge Pearl Pendant
1986, Chichester Cathedral: Prince Albert's Sapphire Brooch

 1987, Ely Cathedral: Queen Victoria's Bow Brooch
1988 Lichfield Cathedral: Frosted Sunflower Brooch
1989, Birmingham Cathedral: Modern Ruby Brooch
1990, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Cathedral: Cambridge Pearl Pendant
1991, Westminster Abbey: Not Pictured
1992, Chester Cathedral: Not Pictured
1993, Wells Cathedral: Gold Lace Work Brooch
1994, Truro Cathedral: Not Pictured

1996, Norwich Cathedral: Frosted Sunflower Brooch
1997, Bradford Cathedral: Pearl Trefoil Brooch
1998, Portsmouth Cathedral: Nizam of Hyderabad Rose Brooch
1999, Bristol Cathedral: Nizam of Hyderabad Rose Brooch
2000, Lincoln Cathedral: Modern Ruby Brooch

2001, Westminster Abbey: City of London Lily Brooch
2002, Canterbury Cathedral: Australian Wattle Brooch
2003, Gloucester Cathedral: Jardine Star Brooch
2004, Liverpool Cathedral: Cullinan V Brooch
2005, Wakefield Cathedral: Jardine Star Brooch

2006, Guildford Cathedral: Queen Adelaide's Brooch
2007, Manchester Cathedral: Grima Ruby Brooch
2008, St. Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral: Queen Mother's Ruby and Diamond Bouquet Brooch

The 2013 Royal Maundy Service is scheduled for Thursday, March 28th, at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford. Which brooch do you think we'll see?

Photos: British Pathé/PA/BBC/GettyImages//Peterborough Today/Salisbury/News&Star/Warwickshire Life/Corbis

23 March 2013

The Queen Mother's Ruby and Diamond Bouquet Brooch

The Queen Mother's Ruby and Diamond Bouquet Brooch
One of the Queen Mother's many brooches was this bouquet of sprays of diamonds and rubies tied with a diamond bow. As with the rest of her jewels, it passed to the Queen in 2002, following the Queen Mother's death.
The Queen Mother (left) and the Queen
It's a delicate and dainty piece, but actually pretty large for a brooch. It wasn't often worn by the Queen Mother, and it is not often worn by her daughter. I believe she's worn it only once in public so far, to 2008's Royal Maundy Service.

Appearances:
2008: Royal Maundy Service

Photos: Getty Images/Garrard

21 March 2013

On Our Queen

Last weekend, ITV premiered the documentary Our Queen, a behind the scenes look at the Queen's Jubilee year. I know many of you have seen it and enjoyed it, and several have asked for a designated place to chat - so here you go!

My favorite bits:
  • The flustered rejection of any chat about money by Karl-Ludwig Rehse, one of the Queen's dressmakers outside the palace. Excuse. Me. (I also found it interesting that Angela Kelly was nowhere to be seen.) 
  • All things Sophie. A sit down interview with the Countess of Wessex is extremely rare - I think this might be her first since her marriage? - and she proved to be both eloquent and funny. Plus, we actually got a glimpse of her at a state banquet, which is another rarity. 
  • Queen Margrethe's delight at the Queen's Bond parachuting stunt. Daisy: she's just like us. 
  • Charles' comments on Camilla. Because awwww.
That said, if you've seen a lot of royal documentaries, you probably won't learn much here. In terms of Jubilee documentaries, I still prefer last year's The Diamond Queen for the commentary and extra family interviews, but this was good fun nevertheless.

Did you see the documentary? What stuck in your mind?

Audiences at Buckingham Palace

The Queen received the Ambassador from the Republic of Lithuania and the High Commissioner for the Republic of Seychelles at Buckingham Palace.
Glad to reaffirm that she's back on her feet with more meetings at home, even if it is with an unfortunately placed contrasting stripe.


Photo: PA

20 March 2013

Baker Street Underground Station

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duchess of Cambridge, visited the Baker Street Underground station to mark the 150th anniversary of the London Underground.
Click above for a video from ITV.
So good to see our Lil' up and at 'em! Maybe she didn't look quite back to her old self following her illness (a little pale I think, perhaps a colored outfit instead of this cream summer tweed from Karl Ludwig with matching Angela Kelly hat would have livened her up a bit), but she's back at it.


The Queen on the Tube amuses me, and not just because you'll never find a newer, cleaner, less crowded Tube than the one the royals see when they come to visit. Looking back on the Queen's history on the Tube is another one of those moments of awe, when you realize just how much change she's seen in her reign.
She opened the Victoria Line in 1969 (wearing a rather luxurious fur coat), and the Piccadilly Line link to Heathrow in 1977 (wearing the Cambridge Pearl Pendant Brooch) - significant bits of the Tube indeed. She also visited Aldgate Station in 2010, where she was given her own personal Buckingham Palace station sign (wearing one of Queen Victoria's Bow Brooches).

Photos:ITV Screencap/PA/Reuters

18 March 2013

Empress Marie Feodorovna's Sapphire Brooch

Empress Marie Feodorovna's Sapphire Brooch
Empress Marie Feodorovna (née Princess Dagmar of Denmark) was the wife of Alexander III of Russia. She received this brooch, an oval cabochon sapphire surrounded by two rows of diamonds with a pear drop pearl pendant, as a wedding gift in 1866 from her sister and brother-in-law, the Prince and Princess of Wales (the future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra).
Empress Marie Feodorovna (facing forward; the brooch is on her dress) with her sisters Alexandra and Thyra and their father King Christian IX
It was one of the jewels that made it out when the Dowager Empress fled revolutionary Russia, but it wasn't to stay in Russian hands for long. Following her death many of her jewels were sold by her daughters, Grand Duchesses Xenia and Olga. The sale was aided by King George V and Queen Mary (and has been the source of much confusion ever since, often painting George and Mary in a poor light), and Mary purchased some of the items.
Queen Mary
Given her love of and zeal to preserve family history, Queen Mary must have felt a special draw to the brooch her late parents-in-law once gifted her husband's aunt, and she bought it in 1930. Records from the sale brokered by Hennell's show that the brooch's estimated value had originally been £2,700-£3,250; however, by the time Mary purchased it the market had taken a downturn, and the estimate dropped to £1,400-£1,900. She paid £2,375 for the brooch, over the estimated value. 
At far right, the Queen wears the sapphire portion without the pearl pendant
It was among the pieces remaining in Mary's jewel collection at the time of her death in 1953, and was inherited by the Queen along with the rest. She has worn it without the pearl pendant, though she primarily wears it in its full form. It's a jewel I'd love to see more of - it's so lovely I just wish it were a favorite.

Appearances:
25 February 2014: Audiences at Buckingham Palace
11 June 2013: Audience at Buckingham Palace 
2010: State Visit to the UAE and Oman  (Worn without pearl pendant)
1987: Easter Service
1973, 1980: Chelsea Flower Show 
1972, 1995: Royal Maundy Service 
Various Years: Christmas Broadcast  

Photos: Queen Elizabeth II/Leslie Field/Corbis/Getty Images

16 March 2013

The Australian Wattle Brooch

The Australian Wattle Brooch
During her Coronation tour of 1954, the Queen was presented with this brooch from the people and government of Australia. It depicts a spray of wattle (the national flower) with mimosa leaves and tea tree blossoms in white and colored diamonds. It's gotten a lot of use since that first tour, and sees outings even when the event is not directly related to Australia (something you can't say for many of her official gifts).

Read more at Order of Splendor.

Appearances:
2011: Visit to Australia  
2011: State Visit to Ireland 
2006: Royal Ascot
1986: 60th Birthday Balcony Appearance
1978, 2002: Royal Maundy Service 
Various Years: Chelsea Flower Show  
Various Years: Christmas Broadcast   

Photo: Royal Collection

The True Lover's Knot Brooch

Queen Mary's True Lover's Knot Brooch
The largest bow brooch in the Queen's collection is a diamond one acquired by Queen Mary from Garrard in 1932. The Queen inherited it in 1953 and usually saves it for evening events, important occasions, or for holding poppies on Remembrance Day.

Read more at Order of Splendor. 

Appearances:
2010: Remembrance Day
1998: State Visit from Japan
1983: State Visit to Sweden  
1982: State Visit from the Netherlands
1964: Chelsea Flower Show
Various Years: Christmas Broadcast   

Photo: Queen Elizabeth II/Leslie Field

The Burmese Ruby Tiara

The Burmese Ruby Tiara
Commissioned by the Queen from Garrard in 1973, this tiara includes two of the Queen's wedding presents: rubies from Burma, and diamonds taken from the Nizam of Hyderabad Tiara. It was the only ruby tiara the Queen used until the Oriental Circlet came into her possession following the Queen Mother's death.

Read more at Order of Splendor.

Appearances:
2009: State Visit from India 
2008: State Visit from France, State Banquet 
1982: State Visit from the Netherlands 

Photo: Queen Elizabeth II/Geoffrey Munn

The Oriental Circlet

The Oriental Circlet
Designed by Prince Albert and made by Garrard for Queen Victoria in 1853, this tiara was originally set with opals. They were switched to rubies by Queen Alexandra as the tiara began to pass from queen to queen. It was frequently worn by the Queen Mother, and passed to the Queen on her death in 2002. The Queen has only worn it once to date.

Read more at Order of Splendor.

Appearances:
1982: State Visit from the Netherlands (on the Queen Mother) 

Photo: Queen Elizabeth II/Geoffrey Munn

14 March 2013

The Vanguard Rose Brooch

The Vanguard Rose Brooch
In 1944, Princess Elizabeth launched the ship HMS Vanguard and was presented with this antique diamond brooch by Messrs. John Brown, the shipbuilder. It is in the shape of a wild rose with leaves, the stem tied with a small bow.
This was an early addition to the Queen’s jewel collection, coming before her wedding, her accession and coronation, and her many tours. It was worn often in those early years, but as the Queen’s brooch options expanded it was used less and less. Today it would be a rare spotting.

Appearances:
1952: Royal Maundy Service

Photos: Suzy Menkes/PA/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

12 March 2013

Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry

The Queen received the winner of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, Mr. John Agard, at Buckingham Palace.
And now she's cancelled her public appearances for the rest of the week, though business will carry on at Buckingham Palace. In happier news, a new documentary is coming with behind the scenes looks at the Jubilee year, and it looks like it will be quite interesting - it's already given the opportunity to analyze the Queen's Balmoral sitting room (click here). But be warned: you're in for tartan and thistle overload!


Photos:PA

11 March 2013

Commonwealth Day Reception

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were present at a Reception given by the Commonwealth Secretary-General at Marlborough House.
Click above for an article and video from the BBC.
Welp, I was afraid last week's illness might not be confined to last week, and I was right - the Queen pulled out of attending the Commonwealth Day Observance Service early today. Buckingham Palace is still stressing that there's nothing serious about her illness. She made sure to attend the evening reception, where she signed the new Commonwealth Charter.

Cullinan V Brooch

Each year, the Queen pre-records her Commonwealth message for broadcast, and this year's was recorded in February:
Judging by the outfit, this was likely on February 14th. She's wearing the Frosted Sunflower Brooch.


Photos:BBC screencap/PA

10 March 2013

Flashback: The Commonwealth Day Observance Service

Commonwealth Day, held on the second Monday in March, is a regular feature on the Queen's calendar. Each year, she attends a service of observance at Westminster Abbey, which is typically followed by a reception. (Of course, there are years where there has been an exception.) For the service, the Queen has worn a wide selection of her regular brooches in the past few years, all accompanied by her uniform of Queen Mary's Button Earrings and her Three Strand Pearl Necklace.

 2013: The Queen was not in attendance at the service, due to illness. She attended the evening reception.
2006: Queen Victoria's Bow Brooch. This Commonwealth Day was celebrated in Australia, where a service was held in Sydney.
2003: City of London Lily Brooch
2002: Grima Ruby Brooch

And that's as far back as we'll go!

Which year is your favorite?

Photos: Getty Images/Commonwealth Flag Project/Reuters/AFP/Corbis

07 March 2013

The Andamooka Opal Necklace and Earrings

The Andamooka Necklace and Earrings
The Queen's extensive post-Coronation tour of 1953-54 yielded several jewels for her collection. The South Australian government wanted to present their new Queen with a stone their region was known for, the opal, and set about finding the best example around. The chosen gem came from the Andamooka Opal Fields and had been found in 1949. Known simply as the Andamooka Opal, it is thought to be the finest opal ever discovered there and is praised both for the intensity of its colors and for its overall size.
The cutting and polishing was completed by John Altmaan, and the final stone weighs a whopping 203 carats. Adelaide company Wendts Limited set it into an ornate scrolled necklace made of diamonds set in 18 carat palladium and created a pair of matching earrings, each with an opal pendant. The demi-parure was presented to the Queen in Adelaide in March 1954 on behalf of the people of South Australia.
Wearing the necklace (but not the earrings) with the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara
The Queen gave the necklace a courtesy outing, if you will, during the same trip, but it seems to have been retired to the vault after that. The jewels she wears on a regular basis don't indicate any particular love on her part for opal, so the fact that she neglects to use this set isn't a huge surprise. But that said - I personally love a statement necklace, and I'd love to see someone new give this one a go.

Photos: Royal Collection/AAP Newswire