26 January 2016

The Greville Bow Brooch

Looking at the contents of the Greville bequest, it's immediately notable how few of the Greville jewels can be identified, and it's immediately hard not to imagine what wonders may have gone unworn since the Hon. Mrs. Ronald Greville left her treasures to Queen Elizabeth in 1942. The case of the Greville Bow Brooch makes such speculation even harder to resist.
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, wearing the Greville Bow Brooch
At a Royal Film Performance in 1961, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother wore an enormous diamond bow brooch. This may have been the only time she wore it in public. It didn't surface again until the 2012 publication of The Queen's Diamonds by Hugh Roberts, where you can find it beautifully pictured in its full glory with even more information.
Video: The 1961 Royal Film Performance
Roberts traces the brooch back to a 1900 commission from Boucheron by Mrs. Greville, who had a diamond tiara dismantled and made into another tiara (perhaps the one that would ultimately become what we know as the Greville Tiara) and what was probably this bow brooch. The large stones and large size would have fit right in with the rest of Mrs. Greville's collection, which was inherited by Queen Elizabeth in 1942.
When Queen Elizabeth died in 2002, the brooch was inherited by The Queen. It has yet to reappear in public. Given that the brooch is larger than most of the brooches in use by the royal family, it's not surprising that it has been left in its box. Still, it's certainly a jewel made to make a statement, and I hope we'll see that statement made again sometime in the future.

Photos: via Getty Images,  British Pathe screencaps