30 November 2016

Audiences at Buckingham Palace

The Queen held audiences at Buckingham Palace.

Blue, the perfect spot for some sapphire love! I think we have Prince Albert's famous blue gem here. (Or it might possibly be the Sapphire Chrysanthemum.)

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

04 November 2016

The Jewels of The Crown, Episodes 1-3

The Crown, Netflix's new miniseries about the life of Queen Elizabeth II, is now available for streaming!

It's a gorgeous series. Claire Foy sold me on her portrayal of Elizabeth from her first scene, when she got the hand clasping just right (it sounds like a minor detail, but - thanks to this little blog - I've watched plenty of videos of The Queen in audiences and investitures, and I recognized it immediately). Matt Smith was a little harder to buy as The Duke of Edinburgh, until he nailed Philip's attempted jokes in a receiving line. John Lithgow's Winston Churchill might just be the best of them all.

I'm three episodes in, and loving it so far. Some people are sticklers for absolute historical accuracy in this kind of thing. I'm not; they're dramatizations for a reason, it's only understandable that the story gets altered. I am, however, a stickler for the details, and it won't surprise you that the accuracy of the jewels is the thing that tends to bug me first. In this case, though? They've taken great care with the details, more care than I usually see in a royal drama.

They've reproduced several famous pieces of The Queen's jewelry, and I'll be recapping those identifiable pieces here. Jewels on film are tricky. Fake stuff pretty much always looks like fake stuff, that's just the way it goes. So I judge based on how much attention a film pays to what really would have been worn, and not just on how closely they match the originals.

First up: Episodes 1-3. I'd issue a spoiler alert, but...well, you should know the story by now.

Episode 1: Photos of the cast filming the wedding were among the first looks at this production, and they immediately highlighted one of the trickiest parts about copying the jewels: the scale. But those photos also highlighted for me the amount of care they were taking with the jewelry, based simply on the fact that they even bothered to reproduce the Duchess of Teck Earrings in this much detail. Also represented here are the Queen Anne and Queen Caroline Pearl Necklaces, along with Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara, which looked great.

Episode 1: Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary are pretty much spot on in the jewel department. The Queen Mother did wear Queen Alexandra's Wedding Necklace and Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Brooch; Queen Mary did wear the Cullinan III and IV Brooch.

Episode 1: Ah, the Flower Basket Brooch! An essential, and this is absolutely the era when Princess Elizabeth would have worn it all the time.

Episode 2: That's an impressively faithful copy of the intricate Flame Lily Brooch (if a little on the big side) and it's a crucial one to nail as she returns to the United Kingdom after becoming queen.

Episode 3:  A bow brooch is essential, even if this one isn't identifiable as any in the real collection.

Episode 3: This would be the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara worn with Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Necklace. That seems a herculean task, copying that busy necklace, right? For the attempt alone, they have my respect.

To be continued... Jewel recaps of the next episodes are coming up later. Feel free to chat about the series as a whole here, and don't miss it streaming on Netflix now!

Photos: Netflix

03 November 2016

State Visit from Colombia, Farewell, and a Visit to Newmarket

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh bid farewell to the President of Colombia and Mrs. Santos as they left Buckingham Palace during their State Visit to the United Kingdom.
ITNSource screencap
There's no brooch! But don't worry, we'll get to it.

The Queen later visited Newmarket, where she unveiled her 90th birthday gift from the town, a statue of herself with two horses. She also opened the new National Heritage Center for Horseracing and Sporting Art.
For more: Zimbio gallery.

She just left it on her jacket, see. I love the idea of her wearing a gift from her parents when enjoying a day celebrating her support of racing, which is an inherited interest. Not that she needs a reason to wear this favorite gem, of course.

Three Strand Pearl Necklace

This trip reunited Her Maj with two of her former racehorses, and they seemed excited to see her and/or her carrots:

02 November 2016

Pitch@Palace and Audience at Buckingham Palace

The Queen joined The Duke of York at an event for Pitch@Palace, which was founded by The Duke to support entrepreneurs.
Well, I guess we really are in the mood for the Ruby and Gold Flower Brooch - that's two days in a row! This is a new brooch to pair with this outfit, but she does usually go for brooches that are heavily gold with this one.
Three Strand Pearl Necklace

Earlier, The Queen held an audience at Buckingham Palace.

Hard to see, but a classic in action.

Queen Victoria's Bow Brooch

01 November 2016

State Visit from Colombia, Welcome Ceremony and State Banquet

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh welcomed the President of the Republic of Colombia and Mrs. Santos at the beginning of the President's State Visit to the United Kingdom.
This is one of those times when I would love to be privy to the reasons behind a particular brooch selection, because rubies - the Ruby and Gold Flower Brooch, which has no known connection to these guests - are the last thing I would have paired with this outfit. They're not really that noticeable, I guess.
ITN screencap
Usually, The Queen just takes off her coat once inside with her guests (and, later, inspecting the state banquet setup), but by the time they reviewed the special Royal Collection exhibit with their Colombian guests, she had a total outfit change. She went ahead and leaned into the ruby theme with the Grima Ruby Brooch.
Royal Family Twitter

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall also assisted with the welcome ceremony. Camilla's got the green stones The Queen was missing: 
This Prince of Wales Feathers Brooch is one we haven't had a chance to cover here yet (it comes from Queen Alexandra), but it's a perfect match for her deep green outfit. A winner, and paired with her favorite pearl pendant earrings and her usual assortment of bracelets. She did receive a pair of emerald earrings when she and The Prince of Wales visited Colombia a couple years ago, but these were on display with the rest of exhibits, so sadly weren't worn.

The Queen, along with other members of the Royal Family, gave a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in the President's honor.
For more: Zimbio gallery.
We haven't seen a tiara event in a while, and I can't tell you how delighted I am that it's one of the colored stone options instead of one of the usual favorites! Her Maj's been dipping into those more often in the past couple years (she wore this one just last year for the China state banquet), and I love the variety. Her sapphire parure also picks up very nicely on the blue in the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, so that's well played.
(Many have also asked which orders the men are wearing. The Duke of Edinburgh also has the Order of Boyaca, I would imagine in a lower grade without the grand collar. The President has been given the Order of the Bath, which is often given to presidents when orders are exchanged.)

Collar and Star of the Order of Boyaca
Evening Watch

Besides, we've always got Camilla to hold down the white stone fort. Is it just me, or all these Greville Tiara + White Dress + Pearl Choker appearances starting to blend together?
British Monarchy screencaps
With the exception of the earrings, this is the same dress and jewels we saw at this year's State Opening of Parliament, which is the same as the State Opening the year before that. I mean, it suits her well, but I do like to complain.
Diamond Bracelet
Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II
Star, Riband, and Badge of the Royal Victorian Order

UPDATE: We now have video of The Queen's speech - observe her sparkly dress!

And with video comes a glimpse at some of the other royal ladies in attendance. (There are also additional tiaras in the video above worn by others, and maybe a glimpse of Princess Michael of Kent, but it's hard to tell.)

British Monarchy screencap
Princess Alexandra of Kent wore the Ogilvy Tiara in its pearl setting. She wears the sash of the Order of the Garter.

British Monarchy screencaps
I wish we had a better look at The Duchess of Gloucester, in the red dress, because she wore the Iveagh Tiara and we don't get to see that in use often. She's wearing the sash of the Royal Victorian Order.