29 December 2016

2016: The Year in The Queen's Jewels

For the fifth year in a row, it's time to round up The Queen's year in jewels: the tiaras, the new stuff, my slightly nerdy tally of which brooches were worn the most, and more. (Previously: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012.) This has been an interesting year for jewel watching, but it was perhaps a year more interesting for what wasn't seen. Let us review:

The Most Popular Brooches 
The Queen wore more than 40 different brooches in her public appearances this year. That seems like a lot, but it's actually a bit of a reduction; last year, that number topped 60. (Standard disclaimer: This is my tally of appearances of brooches worn in public, as documented on this blog. Considering those appearances for which we could not agree on a brooch identification or could not see a brooch, and considering of course the many private events of the year, it is impossible to be comprehensive.)
  1. Queen Victoria's Bow Brooch
  2. Cullinan V Brooch 
  3. Pearl Trefoil Brooch tied with Prince Albert's Sapphire Brooch
  4. Jardine Star Brooch tied with Small Pink and Diamond Brooch
  5. Flower Basket Brooch tied with Frosted Sunflower Brooch tied with Kent Amethyst Brooch tied with Pearl Triangle Brooch tied with Singapore Peranakan Diamond Jubilee Brooch tied with Round Cambridge Emerald Brooch tied with Queen Victoria's 11 Pearl Brooch
What's missing here? The Cambridge Pearl Pendant and the Aquamarine Clips didn't make the list; the Frosted Sunflower and the Flower Basket are often higher in the ranks. Surprising shake ups from the usual brooches that top the pile.

The New and "New" Brooches 
This year also saw a slight reduction in new and new-to-her brooches debuted by The Queen. Just one new-to-her brooch emerged from The Queen Mother's collection, the Curved Aquamarine Clip Brooches. The delicate Cartier Diamond Rose Clip Brooch came on the scene at Ascot, and the Diamond and Pearl Navette Brooch might just have been a 90th birthday gift (at least, Her Maj surprised by wearing it three times already, a lot for a new brooch). She did receive at least one brooch for her big birthday: the Racing Post 90th Birthday Brooch, which has not been worn in public.

The Biggest Brooch Appearance
The Queen sometimes marks special occasions with brooches that are a little outside of the everyday selections, something she did in grand fashion for her 90th birthday service in June. The Richmond Brooch, larger than her normal daytime selections, was a surprise and a treat for this special occasion.

The Tiara Appearances
Following the cancellation of a March state visit from the King and Queen of Spain, we had to wait until May to see some sparkly headgear (the usual suspects: the Imperial State Crown and the George IV State Diadem) at the State Opening of Parliament. She surprised us in November, continuing 2015's revival of the colored gems by sporting her George VI and Modern Sapphire Suite to the Colombian state banquet. And then - because really, why not? - she wore the same thing for December's Diplomatic Reception.
Once again, perhaps the most interesting thing here is what isn't here: no sightings of the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara. Or, for that matter, any of the other diamond and pearl options (beyond the State Diadem and it's very specific use). The Girls will always be at the top of my favorite tiaras list, but I am loving the variety.

My Favorite Loan of 2016
The continued opening of Her Majesty's jewel vault to other ladies in the family is a continued delight. The Countess of Wessex debuting The Queen's Diamond and Gold Cuff gems in December is my highlight - not because of the jewels themselves, but because I love the possibility here. More jewelry scarcely worn by Her Maj being dusted off and given new life on a new generation of family members would be the best surprise and my biggest wish for 2017.

What was your favorite sparkly moment in The Queen's year?
Photos: Royal Collection/Queen Elizabeth II/Royal Family/Racing Post/Hancock's/Getty Images/BBC/SkyNews

27 December 2016

2016: The Duchess of Cornwall's Year in Tiaras

The Duchess of Cornwall certainly has her favorites. Even more so than The Queen does, really. If you needed any proof of that, well, 2016's tiara appearances are here to present their evidence:

Roger Harris/House of Lords 2016/via CC BY-NC 2.0
Take the Greville Tiara, pair it with the Four Strand Pearl Choker with Large Diamond Clasp, add in some earrings (these are the Everyday Pearl Pendants) and a brooch to anchor the Royal Victorian Order sash (the oval Art Deco diamond brooch here), pair it with this white ensemble, and you're set. This is the same outfit she wore to this event in 2015.

British Monarchy screencap
This time, that combo was paired with the earrings from the Pear Drop Diamond Demi-Parure, just for a little variety. Everything else is the same.

....and, ditto. Same outfit, same everything. The only switch up here is the diamond bow brooch that's anchoring her sash, although that's basically on the back and not terribly visible.

I don't think I've ever seen anyone have this many identical tiara appearances in a row. And if you check our round up of her tiara events from 2015, you'll see that she also favored this choker + tiara + white outfit combo last year. The outfit is great on her and this tiara fits her like a dream, but these events are all starting to blend together. Maybe just a bit of color in 2017? Pretty please?

25 December 2016

Christmas Broadcast, 2016

Merry Christmas! We're chatting about Christmas service appearances at the other blog here. And over here:

The Queen's annual message was broadcast on Christmas Day.
Royal Family video
Still suffering from a heavy cold, The Queen skipped the usual Christmas church services at Sandringham, so thank goodness the Christmas speech is recorded in advance. She spoke about unsung heroes from the Regency Room in Buckingham Palace while seated next to pictures of her husband and oldest son, and she wore an Angela Kelly-designed deep jade silk cloque dress with deep jade velvet trim at the neck and pockets. She also wore Queen Victoria's 11 Pearl Brooch, a favorite of the late Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Eagle-eyed brooch observers will note that she's chosen to wear the brooch on the opposite side from its normal position, which is unusual for her.

18 December 2016

New 90th Birthday Portrait

The Royal Family released a new portrait of The Queen and The Prince of Wales, taken earlier this year, to mark the end of Her Majesty's 90th birthday year.
Nick Knight
This is a sweet shot, apparently taken in just a few minutes - in true Windsor fashion, they have no time for posed photos - and with The Queen trying to hold back a laugh from a quip made by The Prince of Wales. This was just before Her Maj's big birthday celebration at the Royal Windsor Horse Show back in May, which explains why she looks a little low on the bling next to Charles and his tuxedo: her big brooch was on the jacket that went over this dress.

08 December 2016

The 2016 Diplomatic Reception

The Queen hosted the annual Diplomatic Reception for ambassadors at Buckingham Palace. The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke of Cambridge, and The Duchess of Cambridge were also present. 

Okay, let's address the best thing first: THIS PHOTO. This is RARE, folks. Pictures from the Diplomatic Reception are often not published at all; a proper group shot like this is a first. I'd like to send a fruit basket to the person that convinced them to do it, but instead I shall just express my enthusiasm in ALL CAPS. WOW. 

 To the gems! 

 The Queen: Her Maj is LOVING her sapphires of late. She's worn this suite to both the Colombian state banquet this year and the Chinese state banquet last year. 

Modern Sapphire Bracelet
Evening Watch
The Duchess of Cornwall: It's business as usual for Camilla. This is exactly what she wore to the Colombian state banquet and almost completely what she wore to the State Opening of Parliament before that, dress and all. So, all her tiara appearances this year are essentially the same.

Greville Tiara
Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II
Star, Riband, and Badge of the Royal Victorian Order
The Duchess of Cambridge: Kate is sporting the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara for the second time. She's also wearing the Diamond Pendant Earrings, her most recent vault loan (these go better with a tiara than her usual longer diamond earrings, I think), and is repeating the red Jenny Packham gown she wore to the Chinese state banquet.

Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara
Diamond Pendant Earrings
Wedding Gift Bracelet

The Gentlemen: This is one of the most formal events of the year, so the royal men wear knee breeches with the actual Garter from the Order of the Garter just below the knee. It's rare that we get to see this; this event is one of the last consistent examples of the Garter in use, but again, we don't always get to see inside.

Audience at Buckingham Palace, and The Queen's Christmas Staff Luncheon

The Queen received the First Minister of Wales for a private audience at Buckingham Palace.
Royal Family video screencap
For more: Zimbio gallery.

A lovely chance to see the larger Nizam Rose Brooch in action, but this wasn't the sparkliest event of the day.

December 6: The Queen had a pre-Christmas lunch with her staff at the Goring Hotel. 

 Her Maj added the Pearl Trefoil Brooch to her pink suit for this festive event (and an unexpectedly lively event, too: the  party was interrupted by a drunk intruder). You can see her leaving the hotel here.

07 December 2016

The Countess of Wessex Wears the Diamond and Gold Cuff Necklace

Another jewelry loan, we're on a roll...

The Countess of Wessex attended the Golden Hockey Ball.
Royal Family
The Countess of Wessex appeared this evening in the Diamond and Gold Cuff Necklace, a piece primarily worn by The Queen in the 1990s, and one not worn for several years. Sophie wore it with a repeated gray Bruce Oldfield gown. It looks bigger to me here - certainly more of a statement piece than it was in Her Maj's appearances - and while I don't love it with this gown, I do like it on Sophie.

Royal Family
The Countess of Wessex is gradually adding pieces to her repertoire. In the past few years, several jewels from The Queen's collection have appeared on Sophie, including the Silver Jubilee Pearl and Diamond Earrings, the Bahrain Pearl Drop Earrings, the Ruby Floret Earrings, the Five Aquamarine Tiara, the King Faisal Diamond Necklace. The vault continues to open. (Yay!)

06 December 2016

The Duchess of Cornwall at the Royal Variety Performance

I'm here for the Camilla + diamond sightings. (And for Camilla informing Lady Gaga that she's also known as Gaga - to her grandkids.)

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall attended the Royal Variety Performance.
Ahhhhh, yes, those are some diamonds. This is the second time we've seen her Pear Drop Diamond Demi-Parure in full this year, and we also spotted the earrings at the recent state banquet. It never fails to dazzle in its simplicity, does it?
Funnily enough, the last time we saw this necklace - at the British Asian Trust Gala - we also saw this dress, pretty much, just in navy and black. As Kate stocks up on her Preen dresses, so Camilla stocks up on her lacy gowns, I guess. (This one must be by Bruce Oldfield too.)

02 December 2016

Investiture at Windsor Castle

The Queen held an Investiture at Windsor Castle.
Sky screencaps

This is a great investiture brooch, easy for us to spot from the side and all. (Priorities.) The Queen must agree, because the last time we saw it was also at a Windsor Castle investiture ceremony.

01 December 2016

Goodenough College Visit and Audiences

The Queen visited Goodenough College, London.
For more: Zimbio gallery.

'Twas a day for gold and rubies, I guess. Small rubies here...

The Queen also held audiences at Buckingham Palace

...larger ones here. She was without the Grima Ruby Brooch earlier this year - it was on display with her birthday fashion exhibition at the Palace of Holyroodhouse - and has now squeezed in two appearances for the year. She must be pleased to have it back.

30 November 2016

29 November 2016

Princess Alexandra's 80th Birthday Reception

The Queen, accompanied by other members of the Royal Family, hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace celebrating the work and patronages of Princess Alexandra of Kent in her 80th year.
For more: Zimbio gallery.
Two matching cousins in their tasteful suits, pearls, and diamond floral brooches, what's not to love? The Queen wore her lovely Flame Lily Brooch and Princess Alexandra wore her six petal diamond flower brooch. (Her Maj also has one like this, of course; it's a common design.) Special shout-out to The Countess of Wessex, while we're at it, because that is an excellent red dress.

24 November 2016

Service of Thanksgiving for The Duke of Edinburgh's Award

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by The Earl and Countess of Wessex, attended a Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey to celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

This is a pretty purple dream, isn't it? Purple with rich velvet trim, the perfect background for a rich little amethyst. (But I'm less in love with the flower on the hat, I must say.)

Royal Family Twitter
The Wessexes were in attendance, of course, because they're the ones carrying the DoE Award flag for the family these days. The Countess wore a Bruce Oldfield outfit and Jane Taylor hat she first wore to The Queen's Diamond Jubilee service in 2012 - and now here, for another diamond anniversary service.
Good jacket, jaunty little hat, maybe a touch too much happening on the skirt, but still, it's easy to see why this has become one of her "special occasion" outfits.

22 November 2016

The Queen Mother's Curved Aquamarine Clip Brooches

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother had a few pieces of aquamarine jewelry she wore around the 1930s and 1940s, including the Aquamarine Pineflower Tiara now in The Princess Royal's collection, and the Aquamarine Art Deco Brooch now worn by The Queen. She had another set of two aquamarine clip brooches dating from that period, also now worn by The Queen:

The Queen Mother wearing her Curved Aquamarine Clip Brooches, 1954
These small clips have aquamarines and diamonds and a distinctive curved end shape. The jewels are likely the ones described by Leslie Field in The Queen's Jewels, dating them from at least 1935:
In the 1930s she [Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, then The Duchess of York] had a pair of curved diamond and aquamarine clips. She was wearing these in 1935 when she brought her two daughters to Norman Hartnell's salon in Bruton Street to have a fitting for their bridesmaid's dresses for the marriage of Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester.
The Queen Mother wore them as a set or individually, on her hat. They were not among her favorites in her later years.
The Queen wears her mother's brooches
Royal Family Instagram
The Queen inherited these brooches along with the rest of her mother's jewels and possessions in 2002. She's just debuted them now (November 22, 2016), on a suit she usually pairs with the Aquamarine Clip Brooches that she received from her parents for her 18th birthday and which have been favorites ever since. A little more aquamarine variety in her collection can't hurt, right?

24 December 2017: Church at Sandringham
22 November 2016: Royal Life Saving Society Reception

Royal Life Saving Society Reception, and Audiences at Buckingham Palace

The Queen, accompanied by other members of the Royal Family, hosted a reception for the Royal Life Saving Society at Buckingham Palace.
Royal Family Instagram
At first, I though these were the regular Aquamarine Clip Brooches - which was pretty delightful, considering we were just discussing the fact that they haven't been worn much this year. But they are actually something even more delightful: a debut! These two aquamarine clips are pieces from The Queen Mother's collection, worn for the first time by The Queen. (See the link below for more on this debut.)

It's a big day for HM's gem collection, considering The Duchess of Cambridge also borrowed her Diamond Pendant Earrings for the first time tonight. (More on that appearance on the other blog tomorrow.)

Earlier, The Queen held audiences at Buckingham Palace.

Speaking of favorites that we haven't seen much this year, I'm preeettttty sure this is the Frosted Sunflower, which is somehow only just making its fourth appearance in 2016.

17 November 2016

Audiences at Buckingham Palace

The Queen held audiences at Buckingham Palace.

We're mid-November, and this is only appearance #3 for the year for the Aquamarine Clips! These brooches have been near the top of our annual list of favorite brooches each year this blog has been around. Will they miss the cut in 2016?
Engagement and Wedding Rings 

November 16: The Queen held an audience at Buckingham Palace.

And the Flower Basket is also having a bit of a sparse year: this is appearance #4.

Flower Basket Brooch

15 November 2016

Queen's Commonwealth Canopy Reception and Audiences at Buckingham Palace

The Queen, accompanied by other members of the Royal Family, hosted a reception for The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy forestry initiative at Buckingham Palace.

A couple of lovely suits, plus Princess Alexandra's can't-miss delight. She's a treasure.

Engagement and Wedding Rings 

Earlier, The Queen held audiences at Buckingham Palace.

This is a lovely dress, and also - alas, for us - total brooch camouflage. ETA: This also appears to be the Cullinan V.

13 November 2016

Remembrance Sunday

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by other members of the Royal Family, attended the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph, London. The service honors those that have died in armed conflicts.
Sgt Ross Tilly/UK MoD Crown Copyright

The Queen kept things simple at today's service, holding her traditional cluster of poppies with her favorite bow brooch.

Three Strand Pearl Necklace

As always, she was joined by several members of the Royal Family in uniform to lay wreaths at the Cenotaph.
Sgt Ross Tilly/UK MoD Crown Copyright

And other members of the Royal Family watched from the balcony above:
Sgt Ross Tilly/UK MoD Crown Copyright
The Duchess of Cornwall  wore again her Four Strand Pearl Choker with Large Diamond Clasp, along with her Everyday Pearl Pendant Earrings. Her brooch is a regimental badge from her late father's regiment, and it formerly belonged to The Queen Mother. The Countess of Wessex also wore a regimental badge, from the Rifles.

Interestingly, The Duchess of Cambridge has been loaned another piece from The Queen's jewel vault: the Bahrain Pearl Drop Earrings. These earrings were created using pearls given to Princess Elizabeth as a wedding gift. Much like the Silver Jubilee earrings recently worn by Kate, this pair has been loaned to Sophie in the past. They've also been worn fairly recently worn by The Queen herself, who chose them for last year's Festival of Remembrance.

12 November 2016

Festival of Remembrance

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by other members of the Royal Family, attended the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

An interesting brooch choice from The Queen tonight: the Bronte Porcelain Brooch, which has seen one appearance a year since its 2014 debut. It seems a bit of a busy brooch for anchoring a poppy, but then most do (apart from the bow brooches, of course, which are her most popular pick for the job).

Engagement and Wedding Rings 

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall returned from their tour of Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain just in time to join the large group of royal family members also present for the Festival. Camilla wore her favorite pearl choker these days, the Four Strand Pearl Choker with Large Diamond Clasp, as well as a large pearl bracelet she's worn before.


For more images from this year's Festival of Remembrance, click here. We'll have another post on Sunday covering the traditional service at the Cenotaph.

09 November 2016

Francis Crick Institute Opening

The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh and The Duke of York, officially opened the Francis Crick Institute in London.
For more: Zimbio gallery.

Ooh, this would have been a prime opportunity to put the pendant on this brooch. I would have appreciated the extra emerald today. Oh, I'm not really complaining - I'm rooting this brooch on to make it onto the list of the year's favorites for the second year in a row, actually. (Appearance #4 and counting!)

08 November 2016

Co-operation Ireland Reception and Investiture at Buckingham Palace

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh attended a reception for Co-operation Ireland, of which The Queen is joint patron.

The delicate filigree of the Singapore brooch is holding up pretty well on this textured suit, but it's nothing compared to the unmistakable Cullinan V Brooch on the new portrait Her Maj unveiled.

Also today, The Queen held an Investiture at Buckingham Palace.

No sign of a brooch, so far.

07 November 2016

The Jewels of The Crown, Episodes 7-10

Netflix's The Crown intends to cover one decade of The Queen's reign per season, and season 2 is already in production. Until then, we'll wrap up our coverage of the famous jewel reproductions spotted in season 1 (see coverage of episodes 1-3 here and episodes 4-6 here).

Episode 7: Just a little something for those who have wondered how the men keep their sashes when dressed in white tie. Buttons! This is true.

Episode 8: And here we go again with Princess Margaret wearing things (the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara) she never wore. In this case, however, they’re actually doing it on purpose. Fictional Margaret is getting ready to host the Diplomatic Reception while The Queen is off on the coronation tour, and she decides to borrow a tiara without permission. (The "State Diadem" or the "Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara", she suggests to her dresser.) This is about the rebellious personality they're trying to convey instead of accuracy. Not that that will stop me from noting that, should one have found one’s self in the mood for a little light jewel thievery at the time (ahem), one would have discovered that this tiara was with The Queen on her trip.

Episode 9: Here's The Queen getting ready to go for dinner at Downing Street at the end of Churchill's tenure. (You'll note a diamond bar brooch on the back of the sash, nice touch.) She really did dine at Downing Street, and she really did wear the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara for the occasion. Here's real life vs. the show:

Understandably, they swapped the George VI Festoon Necklace (worn in real life) for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Necklace, since they didn't remake a ton of jewels for this season.

They did well by Clementine Churchill's jewels and orders, too. I believe she is wearing the Order of the British Empire, of which she was a Dame Grand Cross.

Episode 10: Twirling at Balmoral gives us our first and only glimpse of The Queen Mother in a tiara. The series' portrayal of Queen Elizabeth was a low point for me - at times it seemed she was only there for maneuvers against The Duke and Duchess of Windsor - but the combination of the Greville Tiara and Queen Alexandra's Wedding Necklace is spot on.

Episode 10: The Lover's Knot Tiara played a surprisingly large role in this season. The Queen certainly wore it in these early years, but it was never one of her signature pieces. I suppose it is just one of the family's more famous tiaras overall, and it will certainly come in handy when they get to the Diana years. What I really can't believe is that we saw no sign of the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, which would be my first priority when recreating Her Maj's diadems.

Episode 10: The show sneaks in one final tiara with the George IV State Diadem. They appear to be recreating Baron's 1953 portraits of The Queen here, where she wore the City of London Fringe Necklace. Generic pieces are filling in for the rest of the look, the earrings apparently representing the Greville Chandelier Earrings that were worn for the real sitting.

And that's a wrap! I may pick on the jewels - because, well, I just can't help it - but I thoroughly enjoyed the show overall. They say it's the most expensive television show ever made, and I believe it. It's extremely well done, and well worth your time.

Photos: Netflix and via Getty Images

06 November 2016

The Jewels of The Crown, Episodes 4-6

We're back with our next installment complaining about analyzing the jewels of The Crown, Netflix's new series about the life of Queen Elizabeth II. The series is combining recreations of famous pieces from the royal collection with many more generic pieces, and we're taking a look at the identifiable ones here. Plus chatting about the series as a whole, of course! (If you missed Episodes 1-3, click here.)

Episode 4: Pearls everywhere, all the time! There are various pearl necklaces used, but the one mimicking The Queen’s favorite triple strand necklace is pretty well done.

Episode 5: This made me smile, because while this particular combination of jewels has never been worn by Her Maj in public – the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara and Queen Alexandra's Wedding Necklace, with the Duchess of Gloucester's Pendant Earrings – it is a combo I've long hoped to see. Points for reading my mind. Of course, The Queen wouldn’t have worn this necklace because it was with her mother, and they may be cutting things a little close with the timeline on the tiara and earrings and other jewels that were inherited from Queen Mary.

Episode 5: Coronation scenes in movies never fare very well when judged on how good the jewels look, do they? The crown(s) are the hardest things to replicate.

Episode 5: In real life, Princess Margaret wore the Cartier Halo Tiara to the coronation, and I’m really surprised they didn’t do that here. It's not like it's hard to find a replica of that one these days. Instead, we have a tiara that vaguely resembles a couple pieces owned by Queen Mary. The Queen Mother is pretty faithful to history, in the circlet of her crown with three collet necklaces and Queen Victoria’s Fringe Brooch. Next to her at the actual event would have been The Princess Royal (Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood), who was dripping in sapphires and diamonds and probably knew where her Royal Family Orders should go.

Episode 5: The Duchess of Windsor doesn’t have a huge role in this, but her husband sure does. (The ex-King Edward VIII is played very well by Alex Jennings. He also played Prince Charles in The Queen, and I found myself hoping they'd just keep him on and change the hair color for future seasons.) Her jewelry is perfect, though:
Above is The Duchess of Windsor's real ruby and diamond feather brooch from Van Cleef & Arpels, which Wallis wore positioned the way it was in the series.

Episode 6: A great deal of the first season deals with the saga of Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend. I don't think they captured Margaret very well, honestly, and they really didn't capture her jewels. I can understand reusing the pieces on hand, but Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Necklace on Princess Margaret does stretch the limits of my imagination.

To be continued...This is not the last time we’ll see Princess Margaret wearing something she’s not supposed to wear. More in our next and last installment!

Photos: Netflix, Van Cleef & Arpels