28 August 2013

Flashback: State Visit to Ireland, 2011

One of the more significant trips of the Queen's recent years was the state visit she and the Duke of Edinburgh paid to the Republic of Ireland in May 2011. Of all the places the Queen's been (and that's most everywhere by now, really), this was a first. In interviews given to mark the Diamond Jubilee, family members said how thrilled she was to finally be able to go to Ireland, and how pleased she was the trip was such a success. It was a jewel success, too!

An interesting mix of brooches (this first appeared on the other blog), top row, left to right: Queen Victoria's Bow Brooch, the Grima Ruby Brooch, and the Australian Wattle Brooch. Bottom row, left to right: Prince Albert's Sapphire Brooch, the Aquamarine Clip Brooches, the Irish Silver Spiral Brooch (a gift from the President), and the Round Cambridge Emerald Brooch, worn without the pendant. These were all worn with her standard button earrings and three strand pearl necklace.

For the state dinner at Dublin Castle, the Queen brought out a symbolic piece: the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara. 

Video: The Queen's speech
She paired this with Queen Mary's Floret Earrings and the Diamond Pear-Shaped Pendant Fringe Necklace, plus a diamond bracelet and her current favorite diamond evening watch. Her white gown featured a top with more than 2,000 silk shamrocks and an Irish harp appliqué made from crystals that was created specially for the occasion. 
Incorporating a special symbol into the Queen's dress specific to the country she's visiting is something she's done many, many times over the years - another of those gestures of diplomacy that always seem to be well appreciated.


Photos: Getty Images/PA

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

19 August 2013

The Sapphire and Ruby Flower Spray Brooch and Earrings

The Sapphire and Ruby Flower Spray Brooch
This brooch was a birthday gift to then-Princess Elizabeth from her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, in 1945. Made by Cartier, it's a rather adorable spray of two flowers: one pink, made of pink sapphires with a row of rubies surrounding the diamond in the center, and one blue, made of blue sapphires and a diamond center. The stems and leaves are gold, with one leaf of pavé-set diamonds.
Princess Elizabeth and baby Prince Charles
According to Leslie Field's The Queen's Jewels, the gift also included a matching pair of earrings "in the shape of miniature flowers on tiny stems", which are likely the ones seen above. The earrings, to my knowledge, haven't been seen in many years. The brooch, however, is still in use, though its outings are rather rare.

Appearances:
2011: Visit to Australia
1990: Christmas Broadcast 

Photos: Leslie Field/Royal Collection/Queen Elizabeth II/Baron

16 August 2013

The Sri Lankan Flower Spray Brooch

The Sri Lankan Flower Spray Brooch
While on a state visit to Sri Lanka in October 1981, the Queen was given this brooch by the Mayor of Colombo. The brooch is a spray of various types, colors, and cuts of precious and semi-precious stones to represent flowers, each with a gold stem and tied at the base with a gold bow. There are also two golden leaves at the base.
This large brooch has earned the honor of being worn for "regular duty", if you will - events outside of those specifically tied to Sri Lanka (a rather rare honor, when one considers the tremendous number of gifts the Queen has collected over the years which are rarely seen after they are accepted). In recent years in particular it has gained a few notable appearances, and it's nice to see her in some different colored stones and semi-precious stones too, for a change.

Appearances: 
11 March 2015: Audience at Buckingham Palace
2011: Visit to Australia

Photos: Royal Collection/Queen Elizabeth II/Corbis

14 August 2013

The Queen Mother’s Sapphire Flower Brooch

The Queen Mother's Sapphire Flower Brooch
This blue flower brooch includes a diamond center and six petals made from groups of sapphires, each tipped with diamonds depicting the curl of the petal edge. It came from the collection of the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and is identified by Leslie Field in The Queen’s Jewels as an anniversary present from her husband, King George VI. The King does seem to have been a fan of sapphires, having chosen them for several gifts over the years.
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the Queen
Following the death of the Queen Mother in 2002, this brooch (along with the rest of her collection) passed to her daughter, the Queen. It hasn’t been a favorite for the Queen so far, but its use of dimension and quantity of sapphires make it a notable addition to the collection.

Appearances:
2011: Visit to Australia, CHOGM Opening Ceremony

Photos: Commonwealth Secretariat/Getty Images/AP

12 August 2013

Flashback: Visit to Australia, 2011

In October 2011, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh headed out for an 11 day tour of Australia. The trip coincided with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth. It was a jam-packed trip, which for us means one thing: loads of jewels.

Brooches aplenty (this first appeared on the other blog):
These of course were worn with her standard three strand pearl necklace and button earrings.

There was a bit of evening fare, too.
For a reception in Canberra, she sported Queen Mary's Cluster Earrings, a longer three strand pearl necklace, and one of her evening watches. For the CHOGM banquet, she wore the blue Sovereign Badge of the Order of Australia and along with that the blue of the Brazilian Aquamarine Parure - tiara, earrings, necklace, and bracelet. (A notable appearance as her selections of her colored stone tiara options are few and far between these days.) She also wore her Diamond Evening Watch.

This trip was billed by many as the Queen's last trip to Australia - speculation, of course, as the palace wouldn't offer any insight there, though that speculation has become easier to believe in the time since. (It has already been announced that the Queen will skip CHOGM 2013 in Sri Lanka, sending the Prince of Wales in her place.) If it was indeed her last trip, it was quite a good one to go out on, no?

Photos: Getty Images/Pool/PA

09 August 2013

The Greville Peardrop Earrings

The Greville Peardrop Earrings
These diamond earrings date from 1938 and include large pear-shaped diamonds (20.66 and 20.26 carats), each suspended from one emerald cut and one pentagonal diamond. Set in platinum, they came from Cartier and were part of the large jewelry collection of Mrs. Greville, the society hostess that bequeathed her gems to Queen Elizabeth on her death in 1942.
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
They were among the pieces in the bequest that were destined to become favorites of Queen Elizabeth's, both during her husband's reign and during her tenure as the Queen Mother. She wore them in the evening, often pairing them with the Greville Tiara, and she even wore them during certain special day events. On her death in 2002, they passed to the Queen.
The Queen
They haven't been worn often in public since 2002, but they aren't the only such diamond earrings in the Queen's collection. The Queen still seems to prefer the Coronation Earrings when an earring like this is called for.

Appearances (all prior to 2002 on Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother):
2011: State Visit from Turkey, State Banquet
1986: Wedding of The Duke and Duchess of York
1963: Wedding of Princess Alexandra and Angus Ogilvy 
1960: Wedding of Princess Margaret and The Earl of Snowdon
1960: State Visit from France  

Photos: Royal Collection/Daily Mail/PA

08 August 2013

Guard Inspection at Balmoral

The Queen inspected the Royal Scots Borderers at the gates of Balmoral Castle, Scotland, to mark the official start to her summer break.
Click above for more from the Daily Mail.
She's been up in Scotland for a while now, but this marked the start of her official residence at the main house - she's been staying at another property on the estate up to now. And this was a lovely little arrival outfit, no?


Photos:PA/PacificCoastNews

06 August 2013

Flashback: State Visit from Turkey, 2011

During the Queen's Balmoral break this year, we'll be flashing back to recent state and other visits received and made, and the jewels they brought out to play. 

In November 2011, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh hosted the President of Turkey and Mrs. Gul for their state visit to the United Kingdom. The Queen wore some of her favorite gems, but she also made a few interesting choices - which we love, obviously.
At the arrival, the Queen wore a lovely white outfit - one of my recent favorites - along with her standard earrings, triple strand of pearls, and the Queen Mother's Shell Brooch on her shoulder. (Though the star of the show was Mrs. Gul's major footwear, really.)

That evening, there was a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.
 
In her customary white evening gown, the Queen wore some of her favorite pieces, including the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, the Coronation Necklace, her usual Diamond Evening Watch, and Queen Mary's Chain-Link Bracelet. But she also made a few more interesting choices: this event was her public debut of Queen Victoria's Fringe Brooch, chosen because the piece has a Turkish connection, and she wore this in the center of her gown, another unusual choice. Her normal brooch spot was occupied by the Order of State of Republic of Turkey. She also differed from her normal earring selection (she usually wears the Coronation Earrings with the Coronation Necklace) and wore the Greville Peardrop Earrings.

She chose the Delhi Carved Emerald Brooch to bid the Turkish couple farewell - we've seen it a few times this year, but it's an uncommon selection overall, and a nice way to wrap up the visit.

Photos: WPA Pool/Getty Images