31 July 2017

The Pearl and Diamond Leaf Brooch

Attending the commemorations for the centenary of the beginning of the Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium, The Duchess of Cambridge wore a brooch borrowed from The Queen's jewel vault. The Pearl and Diamond Leaf Brooch is a large piece featuring three big pearls at the center of a diamond leaf shape.

The Duchess of Cambridge wears the Pearl and Diamond Leaf Brooch

This piece is something of an obscure member of The Queen's brooch collection. Its provenance is so far unknown and its appearances are scarce; The Queen most notably wore it during a State Visit to South Korea in 1999 (you can see a photo of her wearing it here at the Royal Jewels of the World Message Board). Now the brooch has joined the growing collection of pieces loaned by The Queen to other members of the Royal Family, a collection which certainly makes one wonder if Her Majesty has recently been sorting through some of the many pieces she never wears these days.

Brooches are not really a regular part of The Duchess of Cambridge's wardrobe, but her use of the Pearl and Diamond Leaf Brooch - together with the Collingwood Pearl and Diamond Earrings from the collection of the late Diana, Princess of Wales (first worn for the Spanish state banquet) - adds a nice touch of extra formality for a significant remembrance occasion.

Appearances (on The Duchess of Cambridge):
10 November 2018: Festival of Remembrance 

31 July 2017: Passchendaele Centenary Commemoration

27 July 2017

The Duchess of Cornwall's Saudi Emerald Demi-Parure

Continuing our feature on Camilla's most impressive official gifts, in honor of her 70th birthday...

What is assumed to be the last of the three demi-parures (one ruby, one sapphire, and one emerald) collected by The Duchess of Cornwall on her March 2006 trip to Saudi Arabia with The Prince of Wales was finally debuted in June 2009, at a Royal Gala Performance of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.

The Duchess of Cornwall wears the Saudi Emerald Demi-Parure (Necklace, Earrings, Bracelet) 

This set's centerpiece is an emerald and diamond necklace of a simple design, square emeralds in diamond frames strung in a row. The design is not unique; the Maharaja Jam Saheb of Nawanagar had a nearly identical one. (They are not likely to be the same; The Duchess' is most likely a newer creation.) A matching pair of earrings in this set uses single square emeralds in diamond frames as pendants, and a matching bracelet features a row of small emeralds surrounded by diamonds.

The Saudi Emerald Demi-Parure Necklace
British Asian Trust

Like the Saudi Sapphire Demi-Parure, the provenance of this emerald set is officially unconfirmed. It is assumed to be part of the bounty given to The Duchess of Cornwall by members of the Saudi royal family based on the description of the gifts included in the official gift list, the style of the jewels themselves, and the timing of their debut. It is also possible she received jewels on King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's state visit to Britain in 2007. If these emeralds were an official gift, that means the jewels are not Camilla's private property; she is responsible for the gifts on behalf of The Queen (in right of the Crown).

Wearing the necklace with the Pear Drop Diamond Demi-Parure Earrings, 2017
British Asian Trust Screencaps

The 2009 debut of the Saudi Emerald Demi-Parure is the only time to date that the matching earrings (and possibly also the bracelet) have been worn. Subsequent outings have featured Camilla's favorite Pear Drop Diamond Demi-Parure Earrings instead. The necklace has been worn only a handful of times - but that still makes it the most used necklace of the pieces assumed to be official Saudi gifts. She typically wears it with an green velvet gown that she favors when not in one of her usual white gowns.

2 February 2017: British Asian Trust Gala
2010: State Visit from South Africa

25 July 2017

The Duchess of Cornwall's Saudi Sapphire Demi-Parure

Continuing our feature on Camilla's most impressive official gifts, in honor of her 70th birthday...

On her official visit with The Prince of Wales to Saudi Arabia in March 2006, The Duchess of Cornwall picked up three sets of jewelry centered around magnificent necklaces as gifts from members of the Saudi Arabian royal family: a ruby necklace, an emerald necklace, and a sapphire necklace. Although the ruby debut made the biggest headlines - and prompted the disclosure of the gifts' provenance - the necklace assumed to be the sapphire gift actually received the first public debut.

The Duchess of Cornwall debuts her Saudi Sapphire Demi-Parure Necklace in 2006, worn with her Diamond Flower Pendant Earrings

First publicly worn to the Prince's Trust Gala in November 2006, the necklace features a diamond base with nine sapphire and diamond pendants. Matching sapphire and diamond earrings were later worn with the set. These pieces were Camilla's choice to wear to the state banquet held for King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia at Buckingham Palace in 2007, leading me to speculate that sapphire demi-parure was specifically a gift from the late King himself. Official gifts are not The Duchess of Cornwall's private property, as explained more fully in our feature on the Saudi Ruby Demi-Parure.

The single sapphire pendant, worn with the earrings that belong to this demi-parure

The full necklace has only been worn a couple of times to date. In recent years The Duchess has, however, worn a single sapphire pendant on a delicate chain; this pendant is the same style as the pendants on the necklace and could either be one of the pendants repurposed or could be an additional feature of the parure. It makes a lovely accessory for the flowing salwar kameez-style evening ensembles Camilla favors, but I wish we saw more of the full necklace. It is, in my opinion, the most attractive of her Saudi sets.

24 July 2017

Church at Balmoral

July 23: The Queen attended services at Crathie Church, Balmoral.

The Balmoral break has begun! The Queen will stay on another property on the estate until the castle closes to the public on July 31st, after which time she'll officially take up residence at the castle and we'll officially start our annual big Balmoral break post to gather all other sightings. Until then, I believe I spy the petite Greville Scroll on its first 2017 appearance.

22 July 2017

The Duchess of Cornwall's Saudi Ruby Demi-Parure

The Duchess of Cornwall is celebrating her 70th birthday this month, and that's all the reason we need to celebrate by featuring a few of her most opulent official gifts. To start:

The Duchess of Cornwall wears her Saudi Ruby Demi-Parure, 2007

Attending a white tie concert at Philadelphia's Academy of Music during a United States tour with The Prince of Wales in 2007, The Duchess of Cornwall stopped traffic by debuting a necklace that is nothing short of outrageous. Glittering away above her sleek burgundy velvet Robinson Valentine gown was a bib necklace featuring 36 perfectly matched oval rubies nestled in a trellis of diamonds. Much smaller - and harder to see beneath her hair - were a pair of matching earrings, each with a pendant ruby surrounded in diamonds. She may also have worn a matching bracelet tucked under her sleeve.

The appearance won praise for Camilla's glamorous look while also sparking plenty of debate about the necklace and its origins. The royal couple's office at Clarence House - which, like most royal households, is generally reluctant to divulge jewelry details - initially stated that the jewel was a gift from an official tour and declined to name the generous party. When questions continued to be raised about disclosure of official gifts and even whether that explanation was being used as an excuse to dodge taxes and import duties, Clarence House released a list of official gifts received on royal tours for the first time. They've done so every year ever since.

The section of the gift list referencing the jewels in question

The list revealed the ruby necklace to be a gift given to The Duchess of Cornwall from a member of the Saudi Arabian royal family during the couple's March 2006 tour of the country. The list also revealed that the ruby demi-parure was far from the only gift she picked up; she also received necklace sets in sapphires and emeralds. Richard Kay later reported in the Daily Mail that the ruby parure was given to Camilla by billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. In press reports, the value of the necklace was estimated at wildly differing amounts from £100,000 to £5 million (all figures which should be taken with a healthy grain of salt).

Sapphire and emerald necklaces debuted by The Duchess around this time have been pinpointed as the other gifts from this tour. (More to come on those shortly!) The Middle Eastern monarchies are known for their extravagant gifts of jewelry to visiting royal women, but I can't think of another royal who has picked up so much extravagance on one trip. It's staggering.

Here, a small look at the earrings. They appear to be pear-shaped rubies surrounded by diamonds.

Of course, these pieces are not Camilla's private property. As stated in the Royal Gift Guidelines of 2003:
Official gifts are not the private property of the Member of The Royal Family who receives them but are instead received in an official capacity in the course of official duties in support of, and on behalf of The Queen. As such, Members of The Royal Family are responsible for such gifts on behalf of The Queen (in right of the Crown).
The Duchess of Cornwall can store and use these gifts during her lifetime; on her death, any official gifts will be passed to the sovereign, who will decide if the gifts become part of the Royal Collection of if they should continue to be held in right of the Crown by her successors. Gifts from heads of state or hosts on official tours will generally be considered part of the Royal Collection.

This particular breastplate/necklace hasn't been worn again since its initial appearance. This is not surprising; controversy aside, it's not really the type of thing that can be thrown on with any old dress. This one practically requires a dress made specially for its use. She did, however, debut another similarly extravagant - and possibly also Saudi - ruby set in 2015 (another one with a feature to come shortly!).

19 July 2017

The Sapphire Jubilee Snowflake Brooch

Attending an event at Canada House to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada's confederation today, The Queen added another brooch to her collection to celebrate her own milestone anniversary.

The Sapphire Jubilee Snowflake Brooch
Sgt Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall
The Governor-General of Canada, David Johnston, presented The Queen with the Sapphire Jubilee Snowflake Brooch from Canada. The brooch recognizes Her Majesty's Sapphire Jubilee in 2017, marking 65 years on the throne.

Sgt Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall
Appropriately, it does so with sapphire stones. The sapphires contained in the brooch come from a deposit of sapphires discovered in 2002 on near Kimmirut on Baffin Island by brothers Seemeega and Nowdluk Aqpik. Coming from Canada's only known deposit of sapphires, these Beluga sapphires are stones that have a natural blue color that does not require heat to enhance.

Hillberg & Berk
The brooch includes 48 sapphires of varying sizes, shapes, and colors, weighing 10.19 carats in total. The blue stones are arranged with the darkest blue colors at the center, surrounding a diamond dome. The sapphires fade into lighter colors as they approach the edge of the brooch, creating an ombré effect. The stones are surrounded by more than 400 diamonds from northern Canada, weighing 4.39 carats in total, and the brooch is set in 18K Canadian white gold.

Hillberg & Berk
The design, inspired by the Canadian Arctic, is a one-of-a-kind snowflake shaped like the North Star. The brooch was designed and crafted by Hillberg & Berk. The Canadian jewelers also created the Saskatchewan Tourmaline Flower Brooch that was gifted to The Queen in 2013. The center diamond dome around which the snowflake is based is a special Hillberg & Berk touch, recalling their signature Sparkle Ball collection.

Hillberg & Berk
The Sapphire Jubilee Snowflake Brooch measures 61 mm tall and 66 mm wide, or about 2.5 inches square. It's slightly larger than the Maple Leaf Brooch, which is 55 mm x 50 mm, and is right in the size range of The Queen's usual favorite brooches.

The Queen receives the brooch at Canada House from the Governor-General
Royal Family
The Queen smiled as she received this stunning brooch in its beautiful wooden box, and waited until the following year to debut it. She has worn her other Hillberg & Berk brooch on several occasions, and I hope she will be just as fond of this one.

25 June 2021: Canadian Armed Forces Call
2 February 2020: Church in Norfolk
18 August 2019: Church at Balmoral
18 June 2019: Royal Ascot, Day 1
21 May 2019: Buckingham Palace Garden Party
14 July 2018: Visit from The King and Queen of the Belgians

Visit to Canada House

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visited Canada House, London, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada's confederation.
Royal Family

Surprise, surprise: the Maple Leaf Brooch is back! I know some of you will join me in wishing for a little more Canada brooch variation - she has the Enamel Maple Leaves Brooch plus a smaller diamond maple leaf brooch, if she wanted to stick to the leaf theme - but this one is certainly the best known Canada link in the collection. And it could be a good long while before we see it again, once the 150th anniversary events are done.

Royal Family

The Queen actually picked up another new Canada brooch during today's event! Check out her new Sapphire Jubilee Snowflake Brooch here.

18 July 2017

Audience at Buckingham Palace

The Queen received David Johnston, Governor-General of Canada, and his wife Sharon Johnston during a private audience at Buckingham Palace where he relinquished his appointment as Governor-General of Canada.

I'm picturing a giant countdown clock at the palace, ticking away the moments until Her Maj finally gets to depart for Balmoral. But first, there is more Canada business to take care of: receiving the outgoing Governor-General here, and a reception tomorrow at Canada House. Gotta polish up that Maple Leaf Brooch one more time...

16 July 2017

The Duchess of Cornwall's 70th Birthday Portrait

A new portrait of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall by Mario Testino was released to mark The Duchess' 70th birthday on July 17th.
Mario Testino/Clarence House

If Camilla collected any serious gems for her milestone birthday, none were on show for her official birthday portrait (which, to be fair, was taken back in May). The portrait's very much a reflection of her day-to-day jewel style, though, showing her favorite earrings and a favorite selection from her collection of signature pearl chokers. I'm sure she was plenty bedecked for her private birthday party at Highgrove on Saturday, anyway.

I'll just be over here waiting for a portrait of these two in their full gala splendor to be released. Waiting and waiting some more...

14 July 2017

State Visit from Spain, Farewell

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh bid farewell to King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain, at the end of their State Visit to the United Kingdom.
For more: Zimbio gallery.

"What's that you said up there? You're leaving? Already??"

Well, SIGH. That most fabulous of State Visits is over. With an elegant ballerina-inspired ensemble for Queen Letizia, classic pearls for Her Maj, and a tie fit to make a librarian swoon for Philip, they said their goodbyes.

Can we get another monarchy-to-monarchy state visit on the Windsor schedule real quick like? Before I go into withdrawal?

13 July 2017

New Scotland Yard Opening

The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, officially opened the new headquarters of the Metropolitan Police at New Scotland Yard, Victoria Embankment, London.

Several people have commented on how quickly The Queen is reusing her outfits lately, and this is no exception; it was used for a garden party in May. (It was worn the day after the Manchester terrorist attack. Relatedly, if perhaps coincidentally, this visit was originally scheduled to take place the day after the Westminster attacks in March, and was postponed to now.)

Royal Family
Once again, The Queen's brooch choice has been influenced by the golden buttons on this Stewart Parvin coat, and she's selected the Singapore brooch. It really has become a modern favorite, this brooch.

12 July 2017

State Visit from Spain, State Banquet

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, along with other members of the Royal Family, hosted a state banquet at Buckingham Palace for The King and Queen of Spain during their State Visit to the United Kingdom.

My wish for the Spanish state banquet was the Oriental Circlet and Queen Victoria's Crown Rubies. (Which is...pretty much my constant wish.) My prediction was that we'd get at least something from Queen Victoria, you know, because of the family ties and all. Her Majesty, however, is full of surprises.

House of HM the King

It's not just the Brazilian Aquamarine Parure that surprises me - and that is, by itself, a surprise; we haven't seen the tiara used since 2011 - it's the dress! There's color on The Queen's dress, are you seeing this? For someone so dedicated to her white dresses, even this amount of embroidery is a departure. Anyway, with all of this, she's wearing Spain's Order of the Golden Fleece (the red bow on her shoulder).

Order of the Golden Fleece

CasaReal Screencap

 Meanwhile, we are very much back to Business As Usual for The Duchess of Cornwall's state banquet gear: the same choker she wore for the welcome ceremony, with her regular diamond tiara. There is, however, a new pair of earrings! Another pair from Van Cleef & Arpels, and there's more info in the link below. 

Four Strand Pearl Choker with Large Diamond Clasp
Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II
Star, Riband, and Badge of the Royal Victorian Order
 Art Deco Diamond Brooch on her shoulder, previously worn
Diamond Bracelet, not yet covered here but regularly worn

CasaReal Screencap

I went into detail on The Duchess of Cambridge over at the other blog, but her loans require mention here too. Mainly, this is the first loan of the Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace, which the palace referred to today as the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Bandeau Necklace. It's one I've been hoping to see on her, as I know many of you also have. A treat!

Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara
Collingwood Pearl and Diamond Earrings (from the private collection of the late Diana, Princess of Wales)
Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace
Diamond Bracelet (possibly one of the two she's borrowed from The Queen in the past)

That's that. Again, more in depth coverage and coverage of others in up in full at the other blog, so check it out!

The Duchess of Cornwall's Van Cleef & Arpels Snowflake Earrings and Pendant Necklace

The Duchess of Cornwall's impressive collection of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry has grown once again. For the Spanish state visit, she debuted a pair of the maison's Snowflake Earrings, a part of their Snowflake High Jewelry collection inspired by (what else?) flakes of snow.

Van Cleef & Arpels Snowflake Earrings, Large Model
The earrings come in large and small sizes; The Duchess of Cornwall has the large model. These earrings are made of round diamonds in platinum and white gold. They have 190 stones and weigh in at approximately 13.73 carats. Van Cleef & Arpels lists their retail price at $138,000; Luxury Exchange has a pair for sale at $82,645.

The Duchess wears them at the Spanish state banquet, 2017
As with most of Camilla's VC&A items, provenance is unconfirmed but I assume they were acquired by either Camilla herself or by The Prince of Wales. What we do know is that these sparkled like mad in action - which is a wonderful surprise when it comes to The Duchess of Cornwall, whose hair often hides the earrings below. They're a great fit for her.

Snowflake Earrings and Pendant with Snowflake Chain

Snowflake Pendant, Large model
In 2018, The Duchess debuted a matching necklace. It is the Pendant with Snowflake chain; this also comes in large and small models, and Camilla has the large model. Made with 85 round diamonds totaling approximately 6.05 carats, and platinum, the necklace retails for $71,000.

12 July 2017: State Visit from Spain, State Banquet

State Visit from Spain, Welcome Ceremony

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh welcomed King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain at the beginning of their State Visit to the United Kingdom.
House of HM the King

The Queen has hosted state visits from King Felipe VI's parents and from his maternal grandparents during her reign. A triple generation State Visit tradition! Just one of the fun facts you get when one of the world's longest-reigning monarchs meets up with one of the world's newest monarchs.

House of HM the King

The classic Shell Brooch was on duty today, shining brightly from her magenta coat. Her Majesty matched both His Majesty (nice tie work, Felipe!) and the other Her Majesty, Queen Letizia's yellow ensemble coordinating nicely with the yellow accents on this Rachel Trevor-Morgan hat.

Royal Family

The queenly pair really stepped up the coordination game once inside Buckingham Palace for lunch and a gaze around the Royal Collection's special State Visit exhibition, because the yellow flowers on QEII's dress really stand out. As usual, the brooch was transferred off the coat to the dress beneath.

Engagement and Wedding Rings 

The Duchess of Cornwall was an array of her usual favorite jewels and her usual favorite ivory shade and her usual favorite statement hats ("statement" being an understatement in this case) for her part in the welcome ceremony. Her Diamond Stick Insect Brooch is said to have been a gift from her late father, and it is one of her favorites; we have not yet covered it here.

Everyday Pearl Pendant Earrings
Four Strand Pearl Choker with Large Diamond Clasp
Diamond Stick Insect Brooch
Gold Chain Bracelet with Multi-Color Stones
Engagement and Wedding Rings

In case you aren't a regular reader of the other blog, you'll find right here an open post for Day 1, with full coverage of Queen Letizia's outfits from the day as well as a livestream link and details for tonight's state banquet. Come on over!

11 July 2017

Queen's Award for Enterprise Reception and Audience at Buckingham Palace

We have another multiple brooch day on our hands - and this one must be aiming for some kind of total carat weight record...

The Queen gave a reception for the Queen's Award for Enterprise at Buckingham Palace.
For more: Zimbio gallery.

Starting off with a Cullinan, natch. This was Her Maj's choice for this event last year, too.

Engagement and Wedding Rings 

Earlier, The Queen received the Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, for an audience at Buckingham Palace.

Fitting her brooch to her prime minister adds another hefty amount of carats to the day's picture. The Australian Wattle was in order for the Australian PM, of course. (And, you'll notice, even it can barely do battle with those ubiquitous floral prints.)

10 July 2017

Flashback: The Engagement of Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, 1947

It's been seventy years since The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh announced their engagement. Seventy!

First confirmation of the engagement came in the Court Circular on July 9, 1947, where an announcement read: "It is with the greatest of pleasure that The King and Queen announce the betrothal of their dearly beloved daughter, The Princess Elizabeth, to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, R.N., son of the late Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Andrew (Princess Alice of Battenberg), to which union The King has gladly given his consent."

On July 10, the happy couple made their first official public appearance together.

It was also, of course, the first public appearance of a jewel that hasn't left The Queen's side since: her diamond engagement ring, made with diamonds taken from a tiara that belonged to her fiancé's mother (this one). The bride-to-be also wore a double strand of pearls around her neck and a brooch on her shoulder. We don't have a confirmed provenance for the Six Petal Diamond Flower Brooch, but I've always wondered if it had a special origin since she chose to wear it on engagement day, or if she just chose at random from what was then a much smaller jewel collection. (Update: The brooch was likely a 21st birthday gift from palace staff.)

Pearls, a brooch, and The Duke of Edinburgh by her side: some things never change.

07 July 2017

Holyrood Week: Royal Society of Edinburgh Visit

The Queen, Patron, visited the Royal Society of Edinburgh to present the Royal Medals.

That's a wrap on Holyrood Week for 2017! I think Her Maj saved her best outfit of the week for last. And her best brooch of the week, too, for one can never go too wrong with Jardine Star.

The Queen now has a bit more business to take care of in London before her upcoming Balmoral break, including one big event: next week's State Visit from Spain.

06 July 2017

Holyrood Week: Highland Spring Factory Visit

The Queen visited the Highland Spring factory in Blackford.
Royal Family

These buttons cry out for one of the pearl and diamond brooches, right? Instead, this is the outfit's second appearance with a gold and diamond brooch. Maybe next time!

Royal Family

05 July 2017

Holyrood Week: Canal Opening, Stirling Castle Visit, and Audience at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh officially opened the Queen Elizabeth II Canal and visited The Kelpies in Scotland, followed by a visit to Stirling Castle for a service marking the 70th anniversary of The Queen's appointment as Colonel in Chief of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.
Royal Family
For more: Zimbio gallery.

Today is a rare triple brooch day, including a doubled up badge appearance! Badges from both the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders and the Royal Regiment of Scotland (of which the Highlanders are a part) made the cut for the first events of the day - although just the Highlanders badge was transferred over to the dress when the coat was removed.

Cpl Ben Maher/MoD/Crown copyright 2017

Today was also a triple horse day, which HM probably appreciated as much as we here appreciate a triple brooch day. The royal couple met a pair at The Kelpies, and then HM had to defend her posy of flowers from a hungry mascot.

Also today, The Queen received the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, for an audience at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
For more: Zimbio gallery.

Our third brooch of the day has been getting quite a workout over the past year, hasn't it? I don't think the Maple Leaf has seen this much action since it was a Queen Elizabeth fave during World War II. A country's big birthday will do that do a brooch, I suppose. You can see the brooch a bit better on video:

And you can add this to the list of reasons she carries her handbag inside the "house": so nobody takes her spot.

04 July 2017

Holyrood Week: Audiences, Investiture, and Garden Party

The Queen received the First Minister of Scotland and the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament for audiences at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Her Majesty also held an Investiture at the Palace.
For more: Video at  YouTube.

The brooch many thought may have been a 90th birthday present last year finally makes a 2017 appearance. It really does look like an eye from a distance...

Engagement and Wedding Rings 

The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh and The Duke of York, attended a Garden Party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
For more: Zimbio gallery.

I'm so curious to hear what everyone thinks of this new outfit. It's a lot of pink with the most sugary of pink brooches, plus a lot of textures. The pink buttons are a step too far for me. (Beneath the ever-present pearls, really?)

Royal Family

03 July 2017

Holyrood Week: Ceremony of the Keys

The Queen arrived at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, at the start of her annual week of Scottish engagements. Her Majesty was presented with the Keys of the City which she returned in the traditional Ceremony of the Keys. A Guard of Honor mounted in the Forecourt of the Palace was reviewed. 
Cpl Ben Maher/MoD/Crown copyright 2017

June's annual traditions roll right into July's annual traditions, and The Queen's working week in Scotland. Plus her other usual tradition of wearing the appropriate military badge for the occasion, of course.

Royal Regiment of Scotland Badge

01 July 2017

New Portrait for the 150th Anniversary of Canada's Confederation

A new portrait of The Queen has been released to mark the 150th anniversary of Canada's confederation, as well as The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall's current Canadian tour and Canada Day.

A very happy Canada Day and happy 150th birthday to you, Canada! The Queen of Canada is here to celebrate with you in copious amounts of gold and diamonds. To the press release:

In the portrait by Canadian photographer Ian Leslie Macdonald, Her Majesty is pictured wearing the Canadian maple leaf brooch she inherited from her mother in 2002. The brooch, which is made of platinum and set with diamonds, was given to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother by her husband, King George VI, and was worn for the first time during the Royal couple’s visit to Canada in 1939. Over the years, the brooch was loaned to Princess Elizabeth (1951), The Duchess of Cornwall (2009) and The Duchess of Cambridge (2011) during their first visits to Canada. 

“Her Majesty has served Canada with steadfast devotion and remarkable skill for 65 years,” the Governor General said. “The release of this photographic portrait of The Queen wearing the maple leaf brooch is a fitting image of her love for this country and its people on the 150th anniversary of Confederation.” 

Just like Her Majesty's December message for the confederation anniversary, the diamond Maple Leaf Brooch was the obvious choice. She is otherwise wearing her standard set of day jewels, although the usual gold watch she wears - which was a gift to her on her first Canadian tour in 1951 - does take on a bit of extra meaning on this occasion.

The Maple Leaf Brooch does blend in an awful lot on this gold background, which is unfortunate. But all that gold certainly does make for a seriously regal picture.