30 April 2013

State Visit from the UAE, Welcome Ceremony and State Luncheon

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh welcomed the President of the United Arab Emirates , His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, at the beginning of his State Visit to the United Kingdom. The welcome was followed by a State Luncheon at Windsor Castle.
Click above for an article and video from IBTimes.
This state visit's a bummer: no state banquet, only a state luncheon. That means no tiaras. Le sigh.

Queen Mother's Palm Leaf Brooch
Photos: IBTimes Screencap/PA

28 April 2013

The Antique Girandole Earrings

The Antique Girandole Earrings
Girandole earrings are a classic style which became popular around the 18th century. They often have a very delicate construction and include three pendants, the central pendant being lower than the other two. This particular pair of diamond earrings are the best example of this style we see the Queen wear. They include a large round diamond top and three pear drop pendants in what looks to be an antique setting.
We don't know much about these earrings, though. Leslie Field, in her book The Queen's Jewels, refers to them in passing as "antique diamond girandole earrings" and mentions that Queen Victoria had been partial to the style in her day. The Queen has been wearing them since the early 1970s, at least.
They're a popular match with necklaces like the King Khalid Diamond Necklace, the King Faisal Diamond Necklace, the Diamond Pear-Shaped Pendant Fringe Necklace, or the George VI Festoon Necklace. These are all necklaces which entered the collection without their own pre-matched earrings (as part of a parure or demi-parure), so it's easy to imagine the Girandole Earrings as a purchase intended to fill that certain hole in the vault. However, they could also have been a gift or something discovered in the jewel collection.

16 June 2014: Garter Day
2010: State Visit to the UAE and Oman 
2007: CHOGM Dinner
2005: State Visit from China
1991: Balmoral Ghillies Ball
1991: State Visit to the United States
1988: Official Visit to the Netherlands
1978: State Visit to Germany
1972: State Visit from the Netherlands
1967: Visit to Malta 
Various Years: State Opening of Parliament  
Various Years: The Garter Service
Various Years: CHOGM Dinners 

Photos: Getty Images/Corbis/PA

26 April 2013

Flashback: Official Visits to the Netherlands, 1988 and 2007

The Queen has visited the Netherlands a few times during her reign, including an in-depth state visit during Queen Juliana's reign. During Queen Beatrix's tenure (1980-2013), she's paid two official visits, both celebrating the ties between the British and the Dutch.

The Queen arrived in Holland in July 1988 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Glorious Revolution that brought William of Orange to the British throne as William III, who reigned alongside his wife, Mary II. The visit was held under tight security following IRA attacks in the Netherlands. Additionally, protests were anticipated from Dutch gay rights groups following the passage of discriminatory legislation in Britain. But everything went ahead without major difficulty, and the Dutch royal family welcomed the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh with open arms. Her arrival outfit included her standard Pearl Trefoil Brooch, hard as it is to see it on this sort of Pollock-does-bumblebees outfit.

More day events included a visit to Osterbeek War Cemetery (above, left), and an appearance with another firm brooch standard: the Frosted Sunflower (above, center and right).

The evening entertainment didn't include a tiara event, but there were diamonds nevertheless (and aquamarines, for Queen Beatrix). The Queen wore her King Faisal Diamond Necklace and Antique Girandole Earrings, in addition to a diamond bracelet and I assume a diamond evening watch.

The second visit was a quick one: a single day in February 2007. (Actually, this one is included on the list of outbound state visits on the British Monarchy's site, though it didn't include many of the trappings you'd usually associate with a state visit.) The speedy trip was in order to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the English Church in Amsterdam, and also included a swing by the International Court of Justice in The Hague and a private lunch with Dutch royal family. The Queen wore one of her standby outfits and one of her standby brooches, the Flower Basket Brooch.

And that ends our look at the visits between these two queens. But they've obviously met many times, under many circumstances, and are said to be good friends - Beatrix apparently pays private visits to see Elizabeth from time to time. The Queens Regnant Club is so very exclusive, it must be nice to kick back and chat with someone that gets it. I'm sad to see her go...but I can't deny, I would love to see the new King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima hit the U.K. on a state visit!

Photos:ANP/gahetNA/Getty Images/Bauer Griffin/Corbis

24 April 2013

Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace

The Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace
This necklace was one of The Queen’s wedding gifts from her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth; the palace has referred to it as the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Bandeau Necklace. It was part of the Greville bequest, the collection of jewelry left to Queen Elizabeth by the Hon. Mrs. Ronald Greville when she died. Mrs. Greville purchased the necklace from Boucheron in 1907.

The necklace on display with the rest of the wedding gifts, and a detail of the center
The intricate piece is set in silver and gold and features single rubies between diamond flowers. It’s an interesting bandeau format, a deep v-shape culminating in a diamond pendant. The Queen did shorten it, as she tends to do with necklaces, by removing the two smaller floral pieces (these are the pieces you see in the photograph at the beginning of the entry - to my knowledge, they have not been converted to earrings).

The Queen wore the necklace more frequently in her younger years, but as her collection widened, her use of this one decreased. It is a statement necklace to be sure, and even shortened it conflicts with her higher necklines. After the 1980s, the bandeau necklace rested unworn in her vault.

The Duchess of Cambridge debuts the necklace
It rested in the vault until 2017, when The Queen loaned it to The Duchess of Cambridge for the Spanish state banquet. In 2018, it made a surprise reappearance on The Queen herself, sparkling in use once again.

19 April 2018: CHOGM Dinner 
12 July 2017: State Visit from Spain, State Banquet (on The Duchess of Cambridge)
1983: State Visit to Sweden
1982: State Visit from the Netherlands
Various Years: State Opening of Parliament 

Photos: Royal Collection/Leslie Field/Life/Getty Images

23 April 2013

Flashback: State Visit from the Netherlands, 1982

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will abdicate in favor of her son, Willem-Alexander, on April 30th. In her honor, we'll flashback to some of the formal visits made between the two queens during Beatrix's reign, starting with the very glittering state visit Queen Beatrix and her husband, Prince Claus, made to the United Kingdom in November 1982.

With Queen Beatrix at the arrival and exchange of gifts
The Queen (wearing the Frosted Sunflower Brooch) and the Duke of Edinburgh greeted Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus with many members of the British royal family in tow. (For video of the arrival, click here and then click on "Play Clip.") Later at Buckingham Palace, the group stepped outside to view a very special gift from Beatrix: Valentine, a bay gelding, the perfect gift for a horse-loving monarch. The Queen wore the Dorset Bow Brooch and her customary triple strand of pearls.

The state banquet, with the Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Beatrix, and Prince Claus
In the evening, the Queen hosted a state banquet at Buckingham Palace. She wore the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara with pendant pearls along with the Duchess of Gloucester's Pendant Earrings and Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Necklace. She wore the riband and star of the Order of the Netherlands Lion, with her sash anchored by the Kensington Bow Brooch. On her other shoulder, she wore the royal family orders of her father and grandfather; on her wrists, a bracelet (it's hard to tell which one) and an evening watch.

Click here for video of the state banquet, at which you can see other pieces of jewelry currently in the Queen's collection, including the Princess of Wales in the King Khalid Diamond Necklace, which she borrowed for the evening, and the Queen Mother in the Greville Tiara (currently on loan to the Duchess of Cornwall) and the necklace from Queen Alexandra's Wedding Parure. As for Queen Beatrix, she is wearing her impressive Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara.

The return banquet
Queen Beatrix hosted a return banquet at Hampton Court Palace where even more glitter was on display. The Queen went for rubies, wearing her Burmese Ruby Tiara, the Ruby Floret Earrings, the Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace, the County of Cornwall Bracelet, and a diamond evening watch. She wore the same orders as the first evening, and anchored her sash with the True Lover's Knot Brooch.
The Queen Mother, the Princess of Wales, and Queen Beatrix at the return banquet
The Queen Mother also opted for rubies, which are now in the Queen's collection: the Oriental Circlet and Queen Victoria's crown rubies. And the Princess of Wales once again borrowed a necklace from her mother-in-law, the Four Row Japanese Pearl Choker. Her tiara, the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara, was a lifetime loan. Queen Beatrix wore Queen Emma's Diamond Tiara, though if you click here (and then click "play clip") to see video from the banquet, you'll see it was quite out-sparkled by her diamond festoon necklace.

Though we only saw two tiaras from Lilibet during the state visit, there were actually three tiara events.
The customary banquet at the Guildhall is not generally attended by the Queen (who is represented by family members), but Queen Beatrix dazzled in her large Mellerio Sapphire Tiara. It was just one of the additional events the Dutch Queen undertook during her state visit.

And that (as we let out a collective sigh about the glittering days that were) is just a taste of the 1982 state visit. In our next flashback, we'll take a look at some of the Queen's visits to the Netherlands.

Photos: Corbis/ANP/gahetNA

22 April 2013

Queen Mary's Cluster Earrings

Queen Mary's Cluster Earrings
These earrings were made for Queen Mary in 1922 of a central large diamond surrounded by two rows of diamonds set in platinum with millegrain edging. According to Hugh Roberts in The Queen's Diamonds, the large diamonds originally set in the center were the Mackinnon diamonds, one of Queen Mary's wedding gifts. Those were later removed for use in Queen Mary's Floret Earrings, and were replaced in the cluster earrings by another two diamonds from her wedding gifts, these from the Bombay Presidency.
Queen Mary
The cluster earrings passed to the Queen in 1953, and she's used them for evening and cocktail events ever since. They are a large and impressively sparkling addition to her earring collection.
Their sparkle can sometimes make them hard to identify when in use, I think. They end up appearing as a single large diamond, and they're not the only large round pair of earrings in the collection. Particularly, the Diamond Cluster Earrings that I have identified here as a separate pair seem as though they could be the same pair depending on the angle.

14 October 2019: State Opening of Parliament
17 June 2019: Garter Day
23 October 2018: State Visit from The Netherlands, State Banquet 
6 July 2018: Order of the Thistle Service
7 July 2016: Order of the Thistle Service
27 July 2012: Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics
2011: Visit to Australia 
2006: Private Birthday Dinner
1953: Christmas Broadcast  

Photos: Royal Collection/Leslie Field

21 April 2013

Flashback: The Queen's Birthday

The Queen has two birthdays, a fact which seems to be a favorite on trivia lists compiled about Her Majesty. She has an official birthday in June, with a better chance for good weather for her parade and balcony appearance, in addition to her actual birthday. The Queen was born on April 21, 1926 at the London home of her maternal grandparents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore.

The Queen usually passes her April birthday quietly, either going about her business as usual or spending the day privately. In 2011 the day fell on Maundy Thursday, so she attended the Royal Maundy Service; in 2012, she spent the day at the Newbury Races. It's the landmark birthdays that inspire the big celebrations, and snippets of those are our flashback topic today.

Video: Excerpt from the 21st birthday speech
The Queen's 21th birthday, in 1947, occurred during a family tour of South Africa. Wearing a simple double strand of pearls, she gave what would become one of her most famous speeches.

Left: 50th birthday. Center: 60th. Right: 70th.
Her 50th birthday, in 1976, included family photos (wearing the Cambridge Pearl Pendant Brooch, among other standard jewels). Her 60th, in 1986, was a pretty big national celebration including a balcony appearance (wearing the Australian Wattle Brooch). But her 70th was far more low-key, as she greeted crowds at Sandringham wearing the Sapphire Chrysanthemum Brooch. This was in 1996, during a particularly bad time for the monarchy, and the occasion was low profile at the Queen's request.

In contrast, by 2006 the monarchy was in a much better place in terms of public opinion, and the festivities for the Queen's 80th birthday spanned the whole year. Multiple occasions took on a special birthday theme, but (as with all the years shown here), we'll only attempt to capture a few here.
80th Birthday Walkabout
The day began in Windsor, where the Queen, dressed in cheery pink with the City of London Lily Brooch on her shoulder, went on a walkabout among the crowds.
Dinner at Kew Palace
In the evening, she attended a private family dinner organized by Prince Charles at Kew Palace. The family came outside to watch the fireworks set off for the occasion, and the Queen sparkled in what looks like Queen Mary's Cluster Earrings, the Pear-Shaped Pendant Fringe Necklace, and several diamond rings.

L to R: Lunch for fellow 80-year-olds, opening birthday cards, St. George's Chapel service
Other events surrounding the big day included a lunch and reception for other 80-year-olds celebrating their birthdays on the same day (wearing the Cambridge Pearl Pendant Brooch), a break to open some of the thousands of birthday cards and so on she received (wearing the Frosted Sunflower Brooch), and a Service of Thanksgiving at St. George's Chapel in Windsor (wearing the Aquamarine Clip Brooches).

L to R: BBC visit, St. Paul's service, Children's Party, Commonwealth luncheon
There was also a special visit to the BBC (wearing the Carrington Sapphire Feather Brooch) who were celebrating the 80th anniversary of their royal charter. A second, more public, Service of Thanksgiving was held in June at St. Paul's Cathedral followed by a lunch at Mansion House (for which she wore the Frosted Sunflower Brooch). Two thousand children were invited to Buckingham Palace to "celebrate the magic of books" at the Children's Party at the Palace later in June, where the Queen wore the Pearl Triangle Brooch. There was also a lunch given by the Commonwealth, at which she wore the Cullinan V Brooch.

L: Windsor Horse Show dinner, R: Ritz party
There were more formal occasions, too, including a special dinner during the Windsor Horse Show, which she attended wearing her Sapphire Tassel Demi-Parure and various sapphire rings. She chose sapphires too for an event to finish out the birthday year: a private party for family and friends held at the Ritz in December. She wore her most impressive sapphires, the George VI and Modern Sapphire Set (earrings, necklace, and bracelet), and also some sapphire rings.

Today (2013), the Queen marks her 87th birthday. She's spending the day privately, but that won't stop us from wishing her a very happy birthday and many happy returns!

Photos: Royal Collection/PA/Corbis/Getty Images

20 April 2013

Newbury Races

The Queen attended Newbury Races at Newbury Racecourse.
Click here for a photo gallery.
Here's an interesting one: brooch on the dress only and not the coat (often, the brooch will get transferred if HM takes her coat off).

Photos:Getty Images

19 April 2013

Newbury Races

The Queen attended Newbury Races at Newbury Racecourse.
We get to see a brooch we only saw once last year, and she even had a winner for the day! Not a bad way to start one's birthday weekend.

Photos:Getty Images/Bauer Griffin

17 April 2013

The Funeral of Baroness Thatcher

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh attended the funeral of The Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM at St. Paul's Cathedral, London. Margaret Thatcher was Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990.
Click here to see video of the guest arrivals from the Guardian. Also, click here to see highlights from the service from the Telegraph.
The Queen doesn't attend many funerals; the last one for a British politician was for Sir Winston Churchill. But this is indeed a fitting tribute to her longest serving Prime Minister, regardless of the controversial politics and regardless of what is often made of the relationship between the two powerful women.
As for the jewels, bow brooches are a standard pick for this sort of thing - certainly something in white is preferred.

Photos:Guardian screencap/Getty Images

15 April 2013

The Duchess of Gloucester’s Pendant Earrings

The Duchess of Gloucester's Pendant Earrings
One of the Queen’s frequently worn pairs of earrings are these ornately scrolled frames of diamonds set in gold and silver with detachable pearl drop pendants. They came from Princess Mary, the Duchess of Gloucester, who passed away in 1857 and left them to her niece, Princess Mary Adelaide, the Duchess of Teck. Mary Adelaide in turn left them to her daughter, the future Queen Mary, on her death in 1897.
The Duchess of Teck, wearing the original earring tops and the pearl pendants without the diamond frame
The earrings originally featured the scrolled frame and pearl pendant hanging from what we call the Duchess of Teck Earrings, with a central pearl surrounded by diamonds in a square formation. The tops were detachable, and were worn on their own by both the Duchess of Teck and by Queen Mary. Queen Mary finalized the separation when she gave the tops alone to her granddaughter Princess Elizabeth as a present. She added a brilliant diamond to the remaining pendants to create the Duchess of Gloucester Pendant Earrings we know today. I refer to them as two separate pairs of earrings since they continue to be used separately.
The Queen inherited the Gloucester earrings from her grandmother in 1953, and has made frequent use of them since. They are a particular favorite match with two other favorite diamond and pearl pieces: the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara in its pearl setting and Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee Necklace.

2005: Official Visit from Norway 
1991: State Visit to the United States
1982: State Visit from the Netherlands
1978: State Visit to Germany 
1972: State Visit from Germany 
1972: State Visit to France
1972: State Visit from the Netherlands
1967: State Visit from Saudi Arabia
1965: State Visit to Germany   
1958: State Visit to the Netherlands
Various Years: State Opening of Parliament  
Various Years: The Garter Service
Various Years: CHOGM Dinners 

Photos: Royal Collection/Leslie Field/Getty Images

14 April 2013

The Kensington Bow Brooch

The Kensington Bow Brooch
Perhaps the least stylized design in the Queen’s collection of bow brooches is the Kensington Bow Brooch, yet another item from the collection of the late Queen Mary. The Kensington Wedding Gift Fund committee presented Princess May of Teck with this brooch from the inhabitants of Kensington at her home at White Lodge, Richmond, as a gift to mark her 1893 wedding to the Duke of York, the future George V. Made by Collingwood & Co., it consists of two rows of diamonds set in silver and gold tied in a bow around a single large diamond, with a detachable pavé-set baroque pearl pendant.
The brooch can be seen on the drawing of some of Mary's wedding gifts, and on her bodice as she's dressed for the 1897 Devonshire House Ball marking the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria
Mary was born at Kensington Palace and spent much time there throughout her life, and she paid special attention to her gift. She wore it for both the coronation of King Edward VII and her own coronation with King George V. The Queen inherited the brooch in 1953.
It’s used often as an evening brooch, for securing a sash at the shoulder and as a companion to the other diamond and pearl jewelry the Queen uses. As with her other bow brooches, it also does duty for remembrance occasions as a clasp for the traditional poppies. She usually leaves the pearl pendant on, but has worn the brooch without the drop.
This one also has a particularly sad use in its past: she wore the brooch at the Queen Mother’s funeral in 2002, seen above on the far right.

11 November 2017: Festival of Remembrance
1982: State Visit from the Netherlands
1978: State Visit to Germany
1972: State Visit from Germany
1965: State Visit to Germany   
1958: State Visit to the Netherlands
Various Years: Remembrance Events

Photos: Royal Collection/Leslie Field/Corbis/APL

12 April 2013

The Sapphire Tassel Demi-Parure

The Sapphire Tassel Demi-Parure (Necklace, Earrings, Bracelet)
This set of sapphires and diamonds is centered around a necklace of multiple diamond strands which come together in a central knot accented by a sapphire, with a tassel of three diamond strands with sapphire pendants hanging below. It also includes earrings, each with a cluster of three sapphires surrounded by diamonds. The Queen tends to wear a bracelet with multiple sapphires separated by diamonds with diamond straps with the set which may be a part as well, though no official information has been released so it is hard to tell what is technically a part of the set. She wears sapphire rings with all of the above, though I've never seen them well enough to know if any belong specifically to this set.
Though no information on the set's provenance has been released, we can make an educated guess: this was worn to the state banquet during the 2007 state visit from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, which is a strong indication that it is a Saudi Arabian gift. Some speculated at the time that it could have been a gift from King Abdullah when he was the crown prince, though when the gift was received is unknown (it's been worn publicly since at least 2002).

2011: The Garter Service
2006: 80th Birthday Dinner at the Royal Windsor Horse Show 

Photos: Getty Images/PA

10 April 2013

Investiture at Windsor Castle

The Queen held an Investiture at Windsor Castle.
Ha! Last appearance, I said thank goodness it's not the Flower Basket Brooch - and now, look what we've got. (To be clear, my objection is only to the Flower Basket plus that one pink outfit. Not the brooch on the whole.)

Photo: PA

08 April 2013

The Carrington Sapphire Feather Brooch

The Carrington Sapphire Feather Brooch
Another of the many presents given to Princess Elizabeth for her wedding to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten in 1947 is this brooch, a diamond feather with a sapphire center. It was given by the jewelry company Messrs Carrington and Company Limited.
The wedding gifts on display, with the feather brooch circled
This is sometimes confused with a diamond feather brooch given by Empress Eugénie to Princess May of Teck (Queen Mary) as a wedding gift, but as it is clearly visible in the photos existing from the exhibit of Princess Elizabeth's wedding gifts, it is a match for the Carrington brooch on the gift list.
The wedding gift list states that this is a sapphire brooch, but the Queen pairs it with purple outfits in addition to blue ones. Feather brooches are classic and this one is particularly fine, with an added bit of versatility thanks to the purplish hue of the central stone.

22 February 2019: Royal Army Chaplains' Department Prefix Centenary
21 May 2014: Buckingham Palace Garden Party
14 March 2014: Royal Holloway Visit
2010: Royal Ascot
2006: Commemorating 80th Anniversary of BBC Royal Charter

Photos: Getty Images/Corbis

05 April 2013

Visit to Slough

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Slough, including the Mars chocolate factory.
Click above to see a video from CBS News.
Oh, I'm so glad she didn't wear the Flower Basket Brooch again with this outfit! Much better to stick with pink, methinks.

Photos:CBS News screencap/Bauer Griffin

04 April 2013

British Film Industry Reception

The Queen held a reception at Windsor Castle celebrating the British film industry.
Click above to see an article and video from the Telegraph.
They gave her an honorary BAFTA, excellent. She can put it next to her complete set of Olympic medals, in the "It's Good to be Queen" section of the Royal Collection.

Photos:Telegraph screencap/PA

03 April 2013

Sapphire Rings

The Queen has several sapphire rings to wear with the rest of her blue jewels. Three were shown in photographs released in advance of the publication of Angela Kelly's book Dressing the Queen.

Sapphire Cluster Ring
The first is a basic sapphire cluster ring, featuring a central oval sapphire surrounded by diamonds. This might remind you of the sapphire and diamond engagement ring worn by Diana, Princess of Wales and now by the Duchess of Cambridge, though this sapphire is smaller and the diamonds are larger in relative size. This is a classic design, and it can be spotted accompanying the sapphire set based around pieces given by the Queen's father, King George VI. The ring is not usually mentioned as part of the same set, though, and I don't believe a provenance is known. As this is a basic design, it is also possible multiples exist in the same basic form.

Sapphire Diamond-Shaped Ring
The second is a diamond-shaped design featuring alternating rows of diamonds and sapphires. Here again, I don't believe a provenance is known for this ring. It is sometimes worn together with the sapphire cluster ring and the Queen's engagement and wedding rings when sapphire jewels are worn.

Sapphire and Ruby Coronation Ring
Left to Right: the ring shown in Dressing the Queen, Queen Victoria's Coronation Ring, and the Sovereign's Ring made for William IV
The third includes a ruby cross on a sapphire background, surrounded by diamonds. This looks to be a match for the coronation rings, two rings belonging to the Crown Jewels. The larger ring is called the Sovereign's Ring, and was made for King William IV in 1831 by Rundell, Bridge & Rundell; this ring was worn by the Queen at her coronation. A near identical ring in a more petite scale was made for Queen Victoria in 1838 again by Rundell. The delicate band on the ring shown in this group seems to match Queen Victoria's version. This is interesting because the coronation rings are listed among the coronation regalia kept at the Tower of London, and are not thought to be used for private occasions. It may be that the Queen's personal collection includes a copy of Queen Victoria's ring.

2006: 80th Birthday Royal Windsor Horse Show Dinner and Private Birthday Party 
1983: State Visit to India 
1953: The Coronation (Sovereign's Ring)

Photos: The Royal Collection/PA