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.