26 April 2017

Audience at Windsor Castle

The Queen received the President of Guyana for a private audience at Windsor Castle.

That's not a bad view they've got there, eh? The Queen is in her more "casual" pearls, as she often is at Windsor, with a brooch we saw four times last year (and yet I still didn't think we'd seen it in a long time. Must not be making much of an impression...).

25 April 2017

Motability 40th Anniversary Ceremony

The Queen, Patron, hosted a ceremony at Windsor Castle to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Motability, a charity providing vehicles to disabled people and their families.
For more: Zimbio gallery.

The Queen presented keys to new vehicles to some families as part of this event, which I assume she managed to do without shouting "You get a car! You get a car!", as I most certainly would have done.

22 April 2017

Newbury Races

The Queen attended Newbury Races at Newbury Racecourse.

All smiles today, because that birthday luck kicked in belatedly: The Queen's horse Call to Mind was a winner on her second day at Newbury!

21 April 2017

Newbury Races

The Queen, accompanied by The Princess Royal, attended Newbury Races at Newbury Racecourse.

A very happy 91st birthday to Her Maj today! She spent the day indulging in one of her favorite pastimes. Would have been nice if she'd had a little extra birthday luck, but it was not to be; her horse, Maths Prize, lost today.

16 April 2017

Easter Service

The Queen and members of the Royal Family attended Easter Service in Windsor.

Her Maj's coat is bright as an Easter egg as usual. I'm surprised by the dress underneath, I wouldn't have guessed it went with this coat if we hadn't seen them together. The brooch, on the other hand, is no surprise; the Queen Mother's Shell Brooch has been worn for Easter service a couple times in the past.

Enjoy your Easter, and we'll see you at the other blog tomorrow to check out the rest of the family fashions!

13 April 2017

Royal Maundy Service

The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, attended the Royal Maundy Service at Leicester Cathedral.

Ooh, second (relatively) rare brooch selection for the week: the Botswana Flower Brooch, given to The Queen in 2007 and first worn in 2014. This Angela Kelly coat is the by far the best background the brooch has had to date; it previously appeared on white and yellow jackets, but the design really stands out on a darker color.

Royal Family
The Maundy service has been a traveling affair during The Queen's reign, held at a different church each year. According to the palace, after today's service in Leicester, The Queen has now visited every Anglican cathedral in England for the Royal Maundy Service. Another landmark for a landmark reign.

11 April 2017

Visit to Bedfordshire

The Queen, Patron of the Zoological Society of London, and The Duke of Edinburgh opened a new center for elephant care at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. They also visited Priory View, an independent living scheme for older residents, during their day of engagements in Bedfordshire.

Here's a bit of an unusual brooch selection: the Daffodil Spray, which might be part of a set of brooches given by The Sultan of Oman, is only on its fourth appearance. (Asking for two amethysts in a row would have been too much, I suppose.)

Royal Family
Any day with a Rachel Trevor Morgan hat + Stewart Parvin coat combo's a good day, anyway.

Something else to love: The Queen and The Duke feeding bananas to an elephant. It's the little things, you know.
That's Donna the elephant. The Queen also had a chance to check in on Elizabeth the elephant, who was born last year and was named after Her Maj in celebration of her 90th birthday. (Unsurprisingly, HM was very interested in the care of the elephants and quick to compare it to keeping horses.)

07 April 2017

Lord Snowdon Memorial Service

The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh and Members of the Royal Family, attended a Service of Thanksgiving remembering Lord Snowdon at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey.
For more: Zimbio gallery.

It's been over a year since we last saw the Amethyst Bouquet Brooch. It looks perfect with this velvet-trimmed purple ensemble; I may even like it better here than the Kent Amethyst, which was worn when this outfit debuted last year. Good choices all around for this event, purple having been considered a color of half-mourning in eras past.

Three Strand Pearl Necklace

Also of sparkly note: Lady Sarah Chatto wore her pearl and diamond wedding earrings, which belonged to her mother. I wouldn't have pegged her to be the one that would get the most use of Princess Margaret's jewels, but she reliably wears some at every royal event she attends, and it's wonderful to see.

05 April 2017

Royal Lancers Guidon Presentation

The Queen, Colonel-in-Chief, presented a new Guidon to The Royal Lancers in a ceremony at St. George's Hall, Windsor Castle. The Duke of York, Deputy Colonel-in-Chief, was also in attendance.  
The Queen also added an honorific suffix to the regiment's name to mark her 70th year as its Colonel-in-Chief and in recognition of the regiment's service and loyalty to herself and to her mother, Queen Elizabeth. The regiment will now be known as The Royal Lancers (Queen Elizabeths' Own).
Sgt Rupert Frere RLC/MoD Crown Copyright 2017
For more: Telegraph article and video, Zimbio gallery.

It's Easter Court for The Queen right now, the month or so around Easter she traditionally spends based full time at Windsor Castle. That means public engagements are a little slower, though she was snapped out riding late last month and Prince Philip was seen carriage driving. I'm glad that one of these sparse engagements involved the wearing of a skull and crossbones brooch.

Sgt Rupert Frere RLC/MoD Crown Copyright 2017
Okay, despite the fact that it amuses me greatly to imagine Her Maj owning an entire collection of skull brooches for her personal use, this is obviously a regimental badge. The Royal Lancers gave this diamanté brooch to their Colonel-in-Chief in 2015, and this is the second time we've seen hear wear it.

03 April 2017

The Duchess of Cornwall at a Gala Dinner in Florence

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall attended a gala dinner in Florence, Italy, where The Prince was presented with the Renaissance Man of the Year Award. The couple are on an official visit to the country. 
Clarence House Instagram
For more: Zimbio gallery.
Serious diamond alert! Camilla's Pear Drop Diamond Demi-Parure made another appearance tonight, with a red Anna Valentine dress and a bracelet or watch which is new to me.

I'm surprised a gown that's not technically full length got the full necklace treatment, only because Cams has proven to be quite fond of using the Pear Drop Diamond Earrings with other things, like her collection of pearl chokers. Surprised but delighted, obviously. Sparkling diamonds and a colorful dress are all we need here.

01 April 2017

The Queen Mother's Diamond Flower Earrings

The Queen Mother wears her Diamond Flower Earrings
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was fond of these earrings, each of which features a central round diamond surrounded by marquise diamond "petals" to create a flower shape. Their origin is not precisely known, although a gift from King George VI or one of the jewels Queen Elizabeth commissioned herself would be the best guesses. They were in her collection for decades, becoming particular favorites in her later years. The earrings were inherited by The Queen in 2002.

Video: The Queen Mother wore the earrings in 1995
The Diamond Flower Earrings illustrate some of the differences between the jewelry selections of The Queen and her mother. These were regular options for daytime wear for Queen Elizabeth, who was even known to wear the Greville Peardrop Earrings for the occasional special day event. But for The Queen, who is so tied to her usual pearl earrings for daytime (and who generally includes pearls for day even when she strays from those), these all-diamond earrings are strictly an evening option.

The Queen wears the Diamond Flower Earrings with the George VI Festoon Necklace, 2009
They're not even a frequent evening option for The Queen, at that; she wore them a couple times in 2009 and that's about it so far. I'd love to see her loan them to The Countess of Wessex or The Duchess of Cambridge, where they might get more use. They're lovely earrings that could be favorites again for someone.

29 March 2017

Flashback: State Visit from Spain, 1986

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain are headed to the United Kingdom for a state visit in 2017 after postponing a planned 2016 visit due to political difficulties. Two state visits happened between the two countries during the reign of Felipe's father, King Juan Carlos I: Spain to the U.K. in 1986, and the U.K. to Spain in 1988. The 1986 state visit took place in late April at Windsor Castle.

ITN video screencaps. See video here.
The Spanish couple were greeted on arrival by The Prince and Princess of Wales. Queen Sofia rarely wears hats, but on this occasion she chose to fall in line with what she knew her hosts would wear and donned a large black chapeau.

The Queen greeted her relatives (Elizabeth, Philip, Juan Carlos, and Sofia are all descendants of Queen Victoria) wearing the Cambridge Pearl Pendant Brooch.

For the evening state visit, QEII pulled out one of her favorite combinations: Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik Tiara, the Greville Chandelier Earrings, the George VI Festoon Necklace, and the True Lover's Knot Brooch. Queen Sofia brought her best and brightest as well, wearing the massive Fleur de Lys Tiara.
On this occasion, the sovereigns awarded each other orders that are not the highest rank for their respective countries. Juan Carlos was given the Royal Victorian Chain (he's wearing it around his neck in the photo above); Elizabeth was given the Order of Carlos III (which she wore with her Royal Family Orders). They awarded each other higher orders later (the Order of the Garter for Juan Carlos in 1988, the Order of the Golden Fleece for Elizabeth in 1989).

ITN video screencaps. See video here.
Prince Philip and Prince Charles both received the Order of Carlos III. (You can see Philip also wearing the actual Garter from the Order of the Garter around his leg in the first state dinner photo.) Queen Sofia was not given a British order. The Queen Mother, who almost never wore foreign orders, was present in the Order of the Garter and the Greville Tiara.

This state visit also included a white tie return dinner with tiaras. Pictures are harder to come by; here is one selection showing multiple family members in attendance (from both countries). The Queen wore the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara with pearls and Queen Sofia repeated the Fleur de lys Tiara.

The Spanish state visit will be June 6 to June 8, and we'll take a look at the 1988 state visit before then.

23 March 2017

The Queen Mother’s Rock Crystal Brooch

The Duchess of Cornwall wears The Queen Mother's Rock Crystal Brooch, 2012
UK in Sweden via CC BY-ND 2.0
The Duchess of Cornwall is fond of this delicate oval brooch featuring a rock crystal disk with a diamond center and a diamond frame. Small details in black on the sides and center are likely onyx (or possibly enamel). The rock crystal has a frosted, translucent appearance and appears to be etched.

The Queen Mother, then The Duchess of York, wears the brooch on her hat, 1927
State Library of Queensland, via Wikimedia Commons
Although the brooch was largely unknown until The Duchess started wearing it, it has been in the royal family for at least 90 years. It was part of the collection of the late Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, who fashionably perched it on her hats in the 1920s and 1930s. The then-Duchess of York and her husband were regular patrons of Cartier, who made multiple Art Deco brooches using the combination of crystal, diamond, and onyx; Cartier thus seems a likely candidate for creator of this brooch.

Lucy the Kitten makes a play for the brooch, 2010
The Rock Crystal Brooch would have passed to The Queen in 2002, who included it among the many other pieces from The Queen Mother’s collection she has loaned to The Duchess of Cornwall. Camilla wears it regularly, and its appearance can vary from highly visible (on a dark outfit) to practically invisible (on a light outfit), thanks to the translucent crystal revealing the color of the fabric behind.

22 March 2017

Audience at Buckingham Palace and Dame Vera Lynn Tribute

The Queen held an audience at Buckingham Palace.

The Queen today received Letters of Credence from Thailand's Ambassador to the United Kingdom, who is wearing a black armband (and whose wife is clad in black) as part of the continued national mourning for the October death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. I mention this because you'd be forgiven for thinking it was related to today's terrible incident near Parliament, after which the gates of Buckingham Palace were closed. (I believe the audience was completed prior to those events. Her Majesty's next scheduled event happens to be a long-planned visit to the Metropolitan Police tomorrow, to open their new headquarters building. Perhaps things will be postponed or will take on a different purpose.) UPDATE: The Queen's visit to New Scotland Yard tomorrow has been postponed.

A brooch was probably worn, though it can't be seen.
Engagement and Wedding Rings 

Also, The Queen also made an unofficial appearance at the London Palladium on March 18th for a concert in honor of Dame Vera Lynn's 100th birthday.
 See her arrival here. She wore Queen Victoria's Bow Brooch. (h/t to Franck)

Queen Victoria's Bow Brooch

18 March 2017

The Duchess of Cambridge's Diamond Chandelier Earrings

The Duchess of Cambridge wears the Diamond Chandelier Earrings, 2016
The Duchess of Cambridge has worn this interesting pair of earrings on several occasions. The chandelier earrings each have three thin strands of round and baguette diamonds supporting a large pear-shaped diamond pendant and a diamond arc below; at the very bottom rests a fringe of three additional strands of round and baguette diamonds. The combinations of diamond cuts is reminiscent of the Greville Chandelier Earrings, but the design is far more delicate.

The Duchess debuts the earrings
The Duchess first wore these earrings for a BAFTA dinner in Los Angeles in 2011, while she and The Duke of Cambridge were on the first royal tour of their marriage. It was announced then that the earrings had been loaned to her by The Queen. Neither The Queen nor any other royal lady is known to have worn these earrings in public prior to that occasion, but that's not entirely unusual; as we've seen here, pieces can go unworn in the royal collection for decades at a time if they are not in favor with their royal owner. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother seemed especially prone to this, and I do wonder if these earrings were in her collection before passing to The Queen and being loaned to The Duchess (purely my speculation).

Regardless, they now have a prime showcase on The Duchess of Cambridge. They are her favorite "major event" earrings, for use with tiaras and occasionally at other evening events, and she wears them well.

Note: I refer to them in the title as The Duchess of Cambridge's Diamond Chandelier Earrings not as an indication of ownership or provenance, but as an easy identifier. 

17 March 2017: Visit to Paris
22 June 2016: Houghton Hall Gala Dinner
8 December 2015: Diplomatic Reception
20 October 2015: State Visit from China, State Banquet
3 December 2013: Diplomatic Reception
9 July 2011: Visit to Los Angeles 

16 March 2017

National Army Museum Reopening

The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh and The Duke of Kent, Patron, reopened the National Army Museum, Chelsea, London, following its refurbishment.

We've previously seen this outfit worn with Prince Albert's Sapphire Brooch, and I find that I'm sorely missing a sapphire this time around. The Queen Mother's Palm Leaf Brooch disappears into the background on this coat, which is a sad thing to happen to a cluster of diamonds.

There's a case to be made that the real outfit of the day came in the form of a flashback, anyway.

Richard Watt/MOD Crown Copyright 2017

Her Maj came face to face with her own uniform from her days as an Honorary Brigadier in the Women's Royal Army Corps, 1949-1953, which is on display at the museum. Take a detailed look below:

14 March 2017

Audiences at Buckingham Palace

The Queen held audiences at Buckingham Palace.

Let the brooch guessing game begin, again. (And since someone will ask about HM's vibrantly attired guest - because seeing the resplendent national dress, uniforms, etc. worn by those presenting credentials is always a highlight - I will tell you in advance that she is Her Excellency the Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Marie Ndjeka Opombo.)


13 March 2017

Commonwealth Day and Baton Relay Launch

Double brooch day!

The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh and The Earl of Wessex, launched the XXI Commonwealth Games Baton Relay outside Buckingham Palace.

Kicking off on a bright note, the outfit is a delight but the brooch is not the best (this is the second time we've seen it in a month, which is more than enough for me). I preferred this cerise Stewart Parvin coat with the Diamond and Rose Gold Brooch.

Royal Family
Three Strand Pearl Necklace

The Queen and other members of the Royal Family attended the Commonwealth Day observance service at Westminster Abbey.

Keeping the brightness going, this Angela Kelly outfit wasn't just a spot of sunshine in a sea of dark suits, it was the perfect background for a wonderful brooch surprise: the Australian Wattle! The brooch hasn't been seen in action since 2014. Sooooo many diamonds. Watch how it glints in this video, towards the end. You can't even see the entire thing, and yet it's like a strobe light on her shoulder. Yum.


The Duchess of Cornwall also pulled a double jewel day. 

Her favorite Four Strand Pearl Choker with Large Diamond Clasp accompanied her purple suit for the Commonwealth service. Later, when she and The Prince of Wales attended the Commonwealth Secretary's reception, the suit was the same and the jewels were swapped out for her set of pansy brooches, always a favorite with this outfit.
Clarence House

No complaints about the purple theme here, you know. (The Queen is usually the one that attends this reception, but Charles and Camilla took her place this year.)

10 March 2017

The Queen Mother's Lily Brooch

Queen Elizabeth kept some loose diamonds at Cartier, the jewelry firm where she and her husband, King George VI, were regular patrons. In 1939, jewelers were commissioned to create a floral brooch with a lily motif from some of those stones.

Queen Elizabeth wears her Lily Brooch, 1951
British Pathe, see video here
The result is one of the longer brooches in the royal collection. Popularly referred to as the "foot long" brooch (actual measurement: around 6.75 inches long), it contains just over 200 of Queen Elizabeth's own diamonds plus an additional 52 added by Cartier. The piece is shown in detail in The Queen's Diamonds by Hugh Roberts, where it is noted that joints in the thin stem originally allowed the brooch to be worn in different positions, but these have since been fixed in place.

The Queen debuts the brooch, 2010
The Queen Mother's use of the brooch seems to have been most heavily concentrated in the 1950s. It passed to The Queen in 2002, and she first wore it for the South African state banquet in 2010. Unfortunately, with her fondness for white evening dresses, the real scale and design of the brooch blended into the background.

Royal Images via Ministry of Defence
Now, in 2017, we have a chance to really admire the brooch. An official portrait included in the program for the Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial unveiling shows the true scale and magnificent detail of Queen Elizabeth's Lily Brooch. It's much larger than the brooches The Queen wears for daily engagements, and is probably difficult to place, but it makes an impressive statement.

Thanks to David for the tip! 

2010: State Visit from South Africa

09 March 2017

Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial Unveiling

The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, and other members of the Royal Family attended the unveiling and dedication of the Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial, Victoria Embankment Gardens, London. The memorial honors "the contributions by Her Majesty’s Armed Forces and all UK citizens who were deployed in the Gulf region, Iraq and Afghanistan from 1990-2015."
PO Phot Owen Cooban/UK MOD Crown Copyright 2017

The scene stealer of the day is probably the toddler who had more interest in having a little fit (i.e., in being a toddler) than in presenting a bouquet to The Queen, which certainly seems to have amused The Duke of Edinburgh. As has been said many times, the royals tend to enjoy it when things don't go according to plan.

Royal Family

But you can't miss Her Maj, resplendent in blue. Queen Mary's Russian Brooch is always a treat to spot, and I love the angle you in the pic below, displaying the depth of the brooch. The showcase stones really do stick out from their diamond setting.

Three Strand Pearl Necklace

P.S.: The rest of the family will be coming up tomorrow on the other blog!

03 March 2017

Royal Welsh Leek Presentation, and the Royal Welch Fusiliers Badge

The Queen, Colonel-in-Chief, presented leeks to The Royal Welsh regiment to mark St. David's Day at Lucknow Barracks, Tidworth, Wiltshire.
Royal Family

She presented leeks today, but I like to think that an opportunity to meet the new regimental goat, Llywelyn, was reason enough for a visit.

This is a new outfit for Her Maj, a heather wool tweed coat and fuchsia pink dress from Karl Ludwig with a matching hat by Angela Kelly. This is a very typical hat design for HM and for Ms. Kelly, but it seems a bit lower than usual, maybe? I mean, it has baby koosh balls on it and I'm still liking it, so something's different.

The Queen wears the badge in 1989
The brooch - which was transferred to the dress when the coat was removed - is, of course, a regimental badge. It represents the Royal Welch Fusiliers, one of the regiments amalgamated into The Royal Welsh in 2006, and features the regiment's red dragon symbol. Like other badges, it's only worn for events pertaining to the regiment in question, which means it's not seen too often.

Royal Welch Fusiliers Badge

28 February 2017

Charterhouse Opening

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh opened a museum and learning center at the Charterhouse, London.
For more: Zimbio gallery.

She's looking lovely today, but: NO BROOCH. Your Maj, I'm shook.

27 February 2017

UK-India Year of Culture Reception

The Queen, accompanied by other members of the Royal Family, hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace to launch the 2017 UK-India Year of Culture.

The first amethyst appearance of the year is always an occasion to celebrate, in my book. (And yes, The Duchess of Cambridge was there, and yes, we'll be chatting about her outfit on the other blog.)

Royal Family

23 February 2017

Investiture at Buckingham Palace

The Queen held an Investiture at Buckingham Palace.

We do have a brooch here, elusive though its identification is proving to be so far. Update: Mystery solved! Thanks to eagle-eyed commenters who saw footage on the news (Scarf Addict kindly shared an image in the comments), we know that this is the Flower Basket Brooch.

21 February 2017

Female Permanent Secretaries Reception, and Audiences at Buckingham Palace

The Queen hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace celebrating past and present women in government leadership (Permanent Secretaries).

I love this, wearing a brooch that belonged to a notable female leader for a reception recognizing women in government. Today was the first sapphire appearance of her Sapphire Jubilee year, and...

Engagement and Wedding Rings

Earlier, The Queen held audiences at Buckingham Palace.

...it was actually a double sapphire day. Several of you noted that you hoped to see this pink sapphire on my list of Her Maj's top sapphires, and while it didn't make my cut, I also can't argue.

16 February 2017

Audience at Buckingham Palace

The Queen received the new Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, J. Michel Doyon, and Pauline Théberge for a private audience at Buckingham Palace.

In today's edition of Mildly Interesting Coincidences: this brooch was used last year for an audience with another Canadian lieutenant governor. (Okay, mildly might have been an overstatement.)