From June 5-7, 2014, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh paid a State Visit to President Hollande of France.
We're coming up on the 2nd anniversary of this blog's launch, but this is the first outbound state visit for the Queen since we started. Those two years have been filled with people speculating that the Queen is slowing down, and her traveling days are over. Perhaps I'm creating my own narrative here, but it feels to me like this incredibly active French state visit contained an underlying message from the Queen to those speculative people: I'm not done yet.
And active certainly is the word for this trip. The Queen (and the Duke of Edinburgh, not to be forgotten) really turned it up for these three days in France. It was a meaningful trip, incorporating the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day, and that importance was reflected in the jewel selections. We got a new-to-us brooch plus some brooches we rarely see. There seemed to be an emphasis on the collection of the late Queen Mother, which you can certainly interpret as a tribute to the war efforts or to the landmark French visits of the Queen's parents. Any way you look at it, the trip was a treat all around from the jewel perspective.
Day 1: June 5
Setting the stage for the trip with a brooch from the Queen Mother
The first time the Botswana Flower Brooch was worn in public
The Williamson Diamond Brooch gets a showing
The debut of a new-to-us floral brooch
Day 2: June 6
Only the second outing of Queen Victoria's Fringe Brooch for the Queen, plus appearances from many fellow heads of state
Including a rarely worn ruby brooch from the Queen Mother
Day 3: June 7
Including another brooch not used often, the Irish Blossom
It's been a busy few days, but there's no rest for the weary; June is always one of the busiest months in the Queen's calendar and this year is no different. A few engagements are planned for the coming week, which ends with the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony. After that comes Garter Day and a week of Ascot appearances, and after that comes a trip to Northern Ireland. Then it'll be time for Holyrood Week in Scotland. That annual Balmoral break will be much needed this year!