29 April 2016

Flashback: The Wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, 2011

Prince William married Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011 (perhaps you recall...). No better time than their fifth wedding anniversary to revisit that most famous recent royal wedding - with, of course, a focus on our blog's primary subjects and the jewels they displayed.

Defence Images Flickr, via CC BY-NC 2.0
The bride accessorized her Alexander McQueen wedding gown with a tiara on loan from The Queen, the Cartier Halo Tiara. Revisit my post on The Duchess of Cambridge's wedding gown here.

Though The Queen still wears outfits from other couturiers, there wasn't much doubt that she'd select one from her personal assistant for this huge royal event. Angela Kelly designed this single crepe wool primrose dress with hand sewn beading at the neck in the shape of sunrays and matching double crepe wool tailored primrose coat. Ms. Kelly also designed the matching crepe hat with handmade silk roses and apricot-colored leaves.

With her standard daytime pearls and earrings, The Queen chose the True Lover's Knot Brooch from Queen Mary. It was a significant choice not only in theme - these knots are symbols of love, friendship, affection - but also in size. This brooch is most frequently used for evening events, with the exception of special events such as this one.

The Duchess of Cornwall's brooch choices were also symbolic, in their own way; the Van Cleef & Arpels Cosmos collection has a design based in part on the four leaf clover. Camilla has a pair of these brooches and a pair of Cosmos earrings, and she wore either one large and one small brooch or one large brooch and one earring as a brooch. She also wore her Everyday Pearl Pendant Earrings and a favorite single strand of pearls with her Anna Valentine-designed champagne silk dress and hand-embroidered duck egg blue and champagne coat. Jimmy Choo shoes, a Philip Treacy hat, and an Anna Valentine clutch completed her elegant and understated outfit.

Video: Full wedding broadcast
Just in case you feel like wasting a few hours of your day on this noble cause, the full wedding broadcast is above.

Photos: British Monarchy screencaps unless otherwise noted

27 April 2016

The Duchess of Cornwall's Diamond Moth Brooch

The Duchess of Cornwall wearing her Diamond Moth Brooch
Among the jewels debuted in 2015 by The Duchess of Cornwall was this Diamond Moth Brooch, a design which has also been referred to as a butterfly. She first wore the brooch in public at a memorial service for the Duke of Wellington and at a Buckingham Palace garden party the same day in May 2015.

In Malta, 2015
Commonwealth Secretariat Flickr (cropped), via CC BY-NC 2.0
The general design of The Duchess' brooch is not wholly unique; there are others of this general shape to be found. One that seems to be an exact match is the example below, a Late Art Deco Diamond Platinum Moth Brooch offered for sale on 1stDibs by Macklowe Gallery in New York (now marked as sold).
The diamond brooch with emerald eyes is listed as being made circa the 1930s, with a width of 2.25 inches and a length of 1.13 inches. It is further described as follows:
An Art Deco platinum brooch with diamonds. The brooch has 6 old European-cut diamonds with an approximate total weight of 1.20 carats, 1 old European-cut diamond with an approximate total weight of .50 carats, 236 single-cut diamonds with an approximate total weight of 7.10 carats, and is further set with 22 rose-cut diamonds with an approximate total weight of .10 carats. Approximate total carat weight of the moth is 8.9 carats. The mix and patterning of the various diamond cuts adds to the brilliance and dimension of this moth. 
We can't be sure of how The Duchess of Cornwall's brooch came to reside in her collection or of its origin. It is not surprising, however, to see her continue to add to her collection of insect brooches, regardless of the source. With butterflies and dragonflies and stick insects and more, her fondness for these creature brooches is clear. (It is not a fondness that I can say I share, though I do appreciate the Art Deco design of this particular piece.)
The Duchess' brooch

18 June 2016: Royal Ascot, Day 5
10 May 2016: Service for the VC & GC Association
25 December 2015: Christmas Service
27 November 2015: Malta Visit: Day 2, CHOGM Opening Ceremony
12 May 2015:  Buckingham Palace Garden Party and Wellington Memorial Service

25 April 2016

The Queen’s Oban Brooch and the Opening of the Scottish Parliament, 1999

Scottish Parliament via CC BY 2.0
On July 1, 1999, The Queen opened the new Scottish Parliament. The importance of the historic occasion was felt in every detail, including The Queen’s choice of outfit. Her team made the decision to break from her usual couturiers and sought out a Scottish designer.
Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Sandra Murray's thistle-inspired creation was a triumph. The purple coat in a silk-wool blend was worn over a green silk-crepe and lace dress and was paired with a matching plumed hat from Philip Somerville, specially dyed gloves, and bronze shoes and purse. The Queen's jewelry was also a reflection of the importance of the event, as she upgraded to a larger double strand of pearls and the larger version of her pearl and diamond button earrings
 Scottish Parliament via CC BY 2.0
My favorite part of the outfit was the Isle of Skye tartan shawl, draped over her shoulder in the style of a fly plaid. The plaid brooch she used to secure the shawl is one that is primarily - entirely, perhaps - associated with this single event.
The Queen's Oban Brooch
Referred to as "Her Majesty's Oban brooch" in Elizabeth: Reigning in Style by Jane Eastoe, the brooch is a traditional style of Scottish jewelry featuring what is most likely a Cairngorm stone at its center and an engraved surround of silver metal. Cairngorm is a smoky quartz found in the Cairngorms mountain range in Scotland, and decorative items worn with traditional Highland dress - such as this brooch - have long been popular uses. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were fans of the stone, as they were of Highland dress and of all things Scotland. Prince Albert purchased several "Scotch brooches" and "Perth brooches" in the 1840s, according to the Royal Collection. The Queen herself received a gold and Cairngorm brooch as a wedding gift from His Majesty's Medical Household in Scotland.*
A Cairngorm and silver brooch purchased by Prince Albert, 1847/8; the brooch was featured in a special Balmoral Castle episode of Antiques Roadshow, and is in the Royal Collection
BBC screencap
As Princess Elizabeth, The Queen was pictured wearing a brooch such as the one she wore to open the Scottish Parliament as a pin to hold her tartan sash in place at dances. Today, on the very rare occasion we see her with such a sash, she is likely to use a regular diamond brooch to pin it in place. For the 1999 opening of the Scottish Parliament, however, a traditional brooch was a lovely choice to make.

This outfit is currently on display as part of the exhibit Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The exhibition is the largest display yet of The Queen's fashion, and runs at Holyroodhouse from April 21 - October 16, 2016, at Buckingham Palace from July 23 - October 2, and at Windsor Castle from September 17 - January 8, 2017.

The Queen will officially open the new Scottish Parliament session this year on July 2. 

*With thanks to Kristina!

22 April 2016

Visit from President and Mrs. Obama

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh welcomed the President and First Lady of the United States, Barack and Michelle Obama, to Windsor Castle for a private lunch.
For more: Zimbio gallery.
A birthday brooch for the birthday queen, a fab Oscar de la Renta dress for FLOTUS, and a flat screen for movie time, just in case lunch gets boring.

The Obamas arrived by helicopter and were driven back to the castle by The Duke himself. I enjoy the bit of confusion this caused, as you can see (and hear, from the press) in the video. Not your standard head of state greeting, but a lovely informal one nonetheless.

All other photos: Kensington Palace
The Obamas continued their family-style royal welcome in the evening, dining with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry at Kensington Palace.

Little peek inside Apartment 1A, anyone? (The Cambridge's home, in case you weren't aware.)

Prince George was even allowed to stay up past his bedtime to personally thank the Obamas for the rocking horse they gave him when he was born.

Greeting your first US president in your pajamas and your wee bathrobe - now, that's style. Welcome to the factoid that will grace every Did you know... list about George's life from now right through his own 90th birthday.

21 April 2016

Birthday Beacon Lighting, and Yet Another Television Feature

The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, and The Duchess of Cornwall, lit the first in a series of beacons for Her Majesty's 90th Birthday at Windsor Castle.
I thought we might have a second outfit and a different brooch here, but it won't hurt us to look at the Jardine Star again. Camilla also stuck to her usual selections, not much of note.

Perhaps they were saving it up for the private dinner hosted by Charles at Windsor Castle this evening. A reported 71 guests, including senior members of the Royal Family and some European royals, celebrated the milestone with The Queen. It was a black tie affair with dinner in the Waterloo Chamber and a special concert.


Also, the BBC tonight added their own tribute to the mountain of features for HM's birthday. Elizabeth at 90 - A Family Tribute aired tonight; we previewed it last week here. (If you're keeping track, we've had Our Queen at 90, then The Queen at 90, and now Elizabeth at 90, so clearly there can be no more as all the possible title options in the whole world have already been taken.)
BBC screencap
Jokes aside, this was my favorite feature so far in terms of new footage and what felt like some real family moments. Narration by The Prince of Wales and comments from family members while they watch some previously unseen family films gave this a more personal feel. Lady Sarah Chatto was a lovely surprise; even a fellow queen regnant, Queen Margrethe, pops up to add her thoughts. The Queen watches some of the footage too.

Jewel-wise, the behind-the-scenes Coronation footage is a jewel spotting dream, and the Greville Chandelier Earrings and Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace are literal shining stars. Do watch it if you can.

Elizabeth at 90 - A Family Tribute is available on BBC iPlayer here, but it is geoblocked for audiences outside of the UK.

Update: It is also on YouTube, for now. You can watch below (thanks Miss Aotearoa!).

The Queen's 90th Birthday Walkabout

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh met crowds in Windsor on the occasion of Her Majesty's 90th birthday, and officially launched The Queen's Walkway.

A beautiful spring-themed return for the Jardine Star, in spring green wool and silk weave by Angela Kelly! So lovely. All together now: Happy birthday to you...

Three Strand Pearl Necklace

British Monarchy Twitter

Birthday fun galore continues now and later. Plenty of portraits and another television feature can be found in posts from the past two days, and there's more to come. We'll return later for the beacon lighting with The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, and The Duchess of Cornwall.

20 April 2016

More New Birthday Portraits and Another Television Feature

Three official photographs by Annie Leibovitz have been released for The Queen's 90th birthday.
Annie Leibovitz/British Monarchy
And here's the portrait everyone's been waiting for since the rumors began! Photographed by renowned portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz at Windsor Castle just after Easter, The Queen is in casual mode surrounded by her two youngest grandchildren and her five great-grandchildren.

Here's the line up: James, Viscount Severn (age 8) and Lady Louise Windsor (12), children of the Earl and Countess of Wessex; Mia Tindall (2), daughter of Zara and Mike Tindall; Princess Charlotte (almost 1), daughter of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; Savannah Phillips (5), daughter of Peter and Autumn Phillips; Prince George (2), son of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; and Isla Phillips (4), daughter of Peter and Autumn Phillips.

Little Mia Tindall holding her great-granny's purse gives this snap some serious charm, and how fabulous is it to see The Queen holding Princess Charlotte?

Also in this portrait set, a beautiful picture with her only daughter, The Princess Royal:
Annie Leibovitz/British Monarchy

Of course,corgis and dorgis Willow, Vulcan, Candy and Holly, had to join in for third photo:
Annie Leibovitz/British Monarchy


In other birthday news, Sky News aired their own birthday tribute to The Queen, The Queen at 90. This features an interview with The Duke and Cambridge as well as a joint interview with The Earl and Countess of Wessex. You can watch below:

Royal Mail 500th Anniversary, and Alexandra Gardens Bandstand Opening

The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, visited Royal Mail Windsor to mark the 500th anniversary of the Postal Service. The couple then visited Alexandra Gardens, Windsor, to officially open the new bandstand.

The Rose Gold Brooch is a lovely complement for this bright cerise Stewart Parvin coat (with a silk dress in a floral pattern of cerise, orange and lavender, per the official description) and Rachel Trevor Morgan hat. A cheery way to kick off this week's birthday events, no?

Coming up, on that note: The Queen and The Duke will do a walkabout in Windsor tomorrow (April 21, her actual birthday), and Her Maj will unveil a plaque for The Queen's Walkway. In the evening, the couple will be joined by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall as The Queen lights the first in a series of beacons for her 90th birthday. The Prince of Wales will also reportedly hold a private family dinner for her.

On Friday, on a non-birthday note: The Queen and The Duke will host a private lunch at Windsor Castle for President and Mrs. Obama, who will dine with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry in the evening.

Photo: British Monarchy Twitter
At today's event, The Queen also viewed the four generation portrait commissioned for her official 90th birthday stamps. You can read more about the photograph, and her clever brooch selection, in my last post.

19 April 2016

90th Birthday Commemorative Stamps, and a New Portrait

A commemorative stamp for Her Majesty's 90th birthday, featuring a special family portrait, has been released.
Ranald Mackechnie/Royal Mail
Nothing like a four generation portrait to mark a grand occasion! The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge, and Prince George posed for photographer Ranald Mackechnie in summer 2015 in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace. The portrait was taken for a set of commemorative stamps from the Royal Mail, hence why Prince George is standing on some foam blocks above. That's a little behind the scenes look at what it took to get everybody lined up just right:  
Royal Mail
The Telegraph has a fascinating look into the secret shoot and the precision the required by the photographer.

The coordination is perfect, not only in their matched blue clothes, but in the jewels. This is technically a four generation portrait of current and future monarchs, but The Queen stretched it to five generations by selecting a favorite brooch of her late mother's, the Queen Mother's Shell Brooch. A touching gesture, and just what The Queen does best.

The Royal Mail have released a full range of official stamps for the big birthday:
Royal Mail

You can purchase the stamps here online.

The Queen is in fact due to visit the Royal Mail Windsor on Wednesday, to mark the 500th anniversary of the Postal Service.

18 April 2016

Index: The Queen's Bejeweled Birthday Presents

What do you get the woman who has everything? Well, a bejeweled birthday present never hurts. Most of what The Queen receives as birthday presents remains private (of course and as it should be, particularly in regards to personal gifts), but there are still some jewels from her vault that can be identified as past birthday gifts. These items come almost entirely from her earlier years.

As we approach her 90th birthday this week, I'm compiling those gifts we've covered here in this index. I wonder what she'll receive this year? Surely some goodies await...

Note: This index only includes jewels that have been covered on this blog and which have been identified as birthday gifts. (Please feel free to add more in the comments!) There are others that have not been covered yet, as well as pieces of jewelry that are open to speculation as to whether they were birthday presents or gifts for other occasions. Click on the name of the jewel for more information. 

1944, 18th Birthday 
Though The Queen likely received some smaller jewels for earlier birthdays, things really started to pick up when she turned 18: the Sapphire and Diamond 18th Birthday Bracelet from her father, the Cartier Halo Tiara from her mother's collection, and the Aquamarine Clip Brooches from her parents. Of all the birthday gifts we can identify, the aqua clips are by far the most popular, still appearing on the list of her favorite brooches year after year.

1945, 19th Birthday 
The Sapphire and Ruby Flower Spray Brooch came with matching earrings as a gift from Princess Elizabeth's parents, and is today scarcely seen.

Wartime, No Year Specified 
Some of these early gifts were items from her mother's jewelry collection, passed on to Princess Elizabeth. The practice was not unusual during the war and not unusual for a Royal Family at any time, really, since jewels pass down through generations anyway. The Queen Mother's Multi-Color Leaf Brooch is an early example, in Princess Elizabeth's collection since at least 1946.

1947, 21st Birthday 
The year Princess Elizabeth turned 21 was a prosperous year for her jewel box, as it included not only a big birthday but also her wedding. Her birthday coincided with a trip to Africa by the Royal Family, where she picked up the South African Necklace (later altered to provide for a bracelet as well, and still what she is said to call her "best diamonds"), and the Flame Lily Brooch, among other gifts. Her parents contributed another piece from Queen Elizabeth's jewels, the Greville Ivy Leaf Brooches. The Diplomatic Corps gave a pair of diamond floral earrings.

1986, 60th Birthday
The Queen received one kilogram of Welsh gold from the Gwynfynydd mine for this birthday. The gift likely went towards the tradition of Welsh gold wedding rings in the family, perhaps providing for The Earl and Countess of Wessex's rings.

2016, 90th Birthday
So far, the Racing Post 90th Birthday Brooch is the only confirmed birthday gem. Let's hope there's more to come.

Photos: Royal Collection/Queen Elizabeth II/DR

16 April 2016

The Cartier Halo Tiara

The Cartier Halo Tiara
Another tiara known by several names (mainly as the Scroll Tiara, prior to 2011; the Halo Tiara, Cartier Halo Tiara, or Queen Elizabeth's Halo Tiara since then; I have also written about it as the Halo Scroll Tiara), this was made by Cartier in 1936 from diamonds and platinum. It was given by The Duke of York to The Duchess of York shortly before they became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. It doesn't seem to have been worn very often by her; she favored larger pieces as queen.

As shown in the Cartier archives
The Cartier tiara was given to Princess Elizabeth as an 18th birthday gift in 1944, another wartime birthday "re-gift". I suspect this may have been The Queen's first tiara, but (to my knowledge) she has never been pictured wearing it. By the time she started wearing tiaras in public, she was married and had more options at her disposal. She loaned it to Princess Margaret and Princess Anne, who both used it as young women. They both stopped borrowing the tiara as their own collections grew.

Video: The tiara sparkles at The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding

After a few decades in the vault, The Queen loaned the Halo Tiara to Catherine Middleton for her wedding to Prince William in 2011. As of this writing, we have not seen The Duchess of Cambridge wear the tiara again. It was on loan to a Cartier exhibit in France when it came time for her first post-wedding tiara appearance, so she moved on to the Lotus Flower Tiara and then on to the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara.  The Duchess' wedding earrings, diamond gifts from her parents that match this tiara, have also not been seen publicly since the wedding.

Read more about the tiara here, in my original post at Order of Splendor.

Photos: Royal Collection/Queen Elizabeth II, Cartier Archives

13 April 2016

Investiture at Windsor Castle

The Queen held an Investiture at Windsor Castle.
Finally, a current event for us after Easter, and an actual brooch we can see to boot. The Cambridge Pearl is a perfect investiture brooch - plenty big to spot from the side.

12 April 2016

"Elizabeth at 90 - A Family Tribute" Preview

BBC One joins in the birthday documentary fun with Elizabeth at 90 - A Family Tribute, airing on The Queen's actual birthday, April 21.

This one sounds interesting. The filmmaker, John Bridcut, was granted special access to The Queen's personal family films, including material never before seen by the public. These films were shot by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh as well as by her late parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Members of the Royal Family will add their comments to the tribute.

Prince Harry: "I still view her more as the Queen than my grandmother. You have this huge amount of respect for your boss and I always view her as my boss – but occasionally as a grandmother."

The Princess Royal:  "Don't forget there's a very double-edged sword. People tend to forget when she passed the longest reigning monarch, that was only because her father died so young. So you know for her that's a very mixed blessing, and you know it's a record that she would much rather not have been able to pass."

Princess Alexandra, who has never before given an interview (!), speaking about growing up with The Queen and Princess Margaret during World War II: "One thing I do remember is the hand-me-downs, which were invaluable. Because of the clothing coupons, it was quite difficult to get hold of clothes. So they were very kind to me, my cousins – I think it was Princess Elizabeth mainly – they let me have one or two of their dresses. There was one blue one, with seagulls all over it, and it's always stayed in my mind!"

The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge, and The Duke of Kent will also be interviewed.

Photo: Jonathan Partridge/Crux Productions/BBCOne
{By the way, this photo has brought it to my attention that we have no recorded outings for the Jardine Star Brooch since November of last year. Practically unthinkable for such a fave.}

Update: Here's a link for the trailer!

11 April 2016

The Queen Mother's Multi-Color Leaf Brooch

The Queen Mother's Multi-Color Leaf Brooch
This Art Deco brooch with a staggered frame of diamond baguettes and a vein of pavé-set diamonds features cabochon sapphires in a range of shapes in the middle and is dotted with small amethysts, emeralds, and a ruby.
The Duchess of York, 1934
It was made by Cartier in London as a gift from The Duke of York (later King George VI) to The Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) in 1928. This was one of The Queen's wartime birthday gifts from her parents, one of a few jewels she received in this fashion. Re-gifting things, so to speak, was not at all unusual in a family where jewels regularly pass down the generations, and was a smart choice during the austerity of the war.
The Queen, 1954
The Queen Mother used the Leaf Brooch as a jaunty hat ornament in addition to a lapel brooch in her day, while The Queen tends to use it in regular brooch fashion. When she does wear it, that is - this is another piece of jewelry that would be rare to spot today. An appearance in 1997 may have been its last public outing. If it's a Cartier leaf brooch she's wearing today, odds are it will be the Queen Mother's Palm Leaf Brooch instead.

Photos: Royal Collection/Queen Elizabeth II, via Getty Images, Tom Meigan/National Library of Australia

09 April 2016

Flashback: State Visit to India, 1983, Evening Events

Following her elaborate tour of India in 1961, The Queen's next visit to India came in November of 1983. The state visit coincided with that year's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), held in New Delhi, and served as the tail end to a larger tour that included state visits to Kenya and Bangladesh.

There were at least two evening events during the trip (plus, of course, the traditional CHOGM banquet with all the present leaders), and both included wonderful colored stone sets without their usual tiara pairings. Depending on your tiara tastes, this might make for an improvement. You decide...

For the state banquet, The Queen left her sapphire tiara at home and instead paired the George VI Sapphire Necklace and Earrings with Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik Tiara. I love this, perhaps even more than when she pairs these jewels with the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara - the simple lines of the Kokoshnik really let the sapphires stand out. Knowing that the Modern Sapphire Tiara isn't a favorite for one and all, I wonder if this match improves the sapphire set for you? (You can also just barely see what looks like her Sapphire Cluster Ring on her hand.)

I find myself in a similar situation with Her Maj's choice for another evening event, the necklace and earrings from the Brazilian Aquamarine Parure. Personally, I am really (okay, really) not a fan of the tiara that was created for this parure. Seeing the other pieces without it always increases my admiration for the stones themselves - because they are, no matter your design preferences, unimpeachably impressive. Agreed?

Photos: via Getty  Images

07 April 2016

The Sapphire and Diamond 18th Birthday Bracelet

The Sapphire and Diamond 18th Birthday Bracelet
King George VI's apparent fondness for sapphires was notably documented through gifts to his wife and his eldest daughter, with examples like the Queen Mother's Sapphire Flower Brooch and the George VI Sapphire Suite still in use today. That preference for blue stones and the preference he and his wife had for Cartier jewels came together in this bracelet, which he gave to Princess Elizabeth in 1944 as an 18th birthday present.
The bracelet features square sapphire stones separated by diamond links and accented with diamond loop details, a delicate gem that could be used for special day events (such as the christening of Princess Anne in 1950, shown above) or for evening events.
Today, though, it seems to fall between categories when it comes to public appearances: dressier than what The Queen wears during the day now, but not as big as the sapphire bracelet she acquired to wear with her George VI and Modern Sapphire Parure. Plus, some of the sapphire sets she's been given over the years (the Dubai Looped Sapphire Demi-Parure, the Sapphire Tassel Demi-Parure) have their own matching bracelets. We don't see much of this birthday bracelet, and I think it's ripe for a resurgence.

Photos: Royal Collection/Queen Elizabeth II, via Getty Images

05 April 2016

Flashback: Commonwealth Visit to India and Pakistan, 1961

The Queen's visit to India and Pakistan in 1961 was the first of a reigning monarch since the countries won independence from the United Kingdom in 1947. She and The Duke of Edinburgh also visited Nepal and Iran in a trip that lasted from January through March.

The royal tour of India and Pakistan is captured in a multi-part film by British Pathé. It's splendid, in that glorious way old news reports always are, with coverage that sounds over the top to our modern ears (this one captures the "Entire Journey in the Magic of Technicolor," even). It's also the best way to understand the lavish reception that greeted The Queen and Prince Philip. The crowds were enormous, the displays were incredibly colorful. Check it out:

Part 1, above; see here for Part 2, and Part 3
The Queen's hat style was really getting interesting around this time, on a sartorial note, and her brooch style still included some fabulously large choices. The trip also highlights a time before The Queen was tied to the same earring and necklace combination every day. Two, three, and four strands of pearls can be seen in these reels, as well as her simple Pearl Stud Earrings.

And, of course, there were the tiaras. As was typical of trips at this time, there were multiple tiara occasions; I've highlighted only some of those with ties to our recent discussion about jewels with Indian connections. Given our discussion about the appropriateness of wearing such pieces in the region, it's interesting to see how The Queen herself handled it. In India, she wore the Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace, and in Pakistan, a few key pieces:

The Coronation Necklace and Earrings, featuring the Lahore Diamond pendant, made the trip to Pakistan to join Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik Tiara in a very sparkly and very classic evening display.

The connection of the Coronation set may not be well known, but another set with ties better known was also present:
The Queen's favorite version of the Cambridge Emeralds and the Delhi Durbar Parure returned to the region for the first time since the 1911 Delhi Durbar for which pieces of the set were made. Of course, her favorite version happens to be heavy on the Cambridge emerald part of the equation and less on the same Delhi Durbar portion worn by Queen Mary in 1911. Mary's green stones were in the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara, the Delhi Durbar Necklace and Earrings and Bracelet (not pictured), and the Round Cambridge Emerald Brooch. She's also wearing the Order of Pakistan (the sash has since changed). Personally, I don't expect to see any of these particular pieces loaned out anytime soon, but it is food for thought after our recent discussion.

Photos: British Pathé / AP screencaps, via Getty Images

02 April 2016

The Diplomatic Corps Diamond Floral Earrings

On this blog, we've already covered several jewels given to The Queen as birthday gifts over the years (from her youth, really, since we're not often privy to what she receives today). As we mark Her Majesty's 90th birthday, we'll be looking at a few more presents from birthdays past, starting right here... 

The Diplomatic Corps Diamond Floral Earrings
The Queen's jewel vault rapidly expanded in 1947, as gifts large and small poured in for her 21st birthday in April and for her wedding in November. These floral earrings, delicate designs with curved diamond petals around a central diamond stone, were a 21st birthday gift from the Diplomatic Corps. They featured prominently in a set of 1951 portraits by Yousef Karsh which have appeared on everything from Canadian money to biographies and beyond over the years.
In her younger years, the Diamond Floral Earrings were a solid choice for even her most formal tiara-clad occasions. They were an exceptionally lovely match for the jewels given to her as wedding presents by the Nizam of Hyderabad (with the necklace as seen above, or with the dismantled tiara as seen in this post), picking up on the floral motifs present in those Cartier designs.
Wearing the earrings in 2008
Today, obviously, she has a great many more earring options at her disposal, and the Diplomatic Corps Diamond Floral Earrings have been mainly a black tie event selection in recent years. They are every bit as lovely on The Queen today as they were when they were received, and I only wish we could see them more often.

Photos: Yousef Karsh/Random House/Taschen/Amazon/Getty Images