12 May 2015

Jewels of VE Day Commemorations

The British royals were out in force this weekend to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied Forces' victory in Europe in May 1945. VE Day was such an important part of the Queen's life that they've recently made a film about it, so you know the royals celebrated in style!

The Queen started off the weekend in Windsor, where she and the Duke of Edinburgh lit the first of a series of celebratory beacons to launch the weekend of commemorations.

Friday was the actual anniversary of D-Day, May 8. The Queen chose a brooch for the occasion, the Queen Mother's Aquamarine Art Deco Brooch, that may actually be the one worn by the Queen Mum on the balcony at Buckingham Palace on VE Day. We're discussing the possibility over here, so stop by and weigh in with your thoughts.

The Duke of York and Princess Beatrice were also in attendance at Friday's beacon lighting.

On Saturday, the Countess of Wessex traveled to Guernsey and Jersey to celebration the 70th anniversary of their liberation. Her dress honored the traditional green color of Guernsey.

For Jersey's traditional red, Sophie added an important bit of jewelry. She wore a gorgeous pair of ruby and diamond earrings that were loaned to her by the Queen. They're the Queen's Ruby Floret Earrings, which coordinate with the Burmese Ruby Tiara. For much more on Sophie's entire ensemble, as well as her part in the commemoration ceremonies, head over to Anna's blog.

On Sunday, the royals attended a service at Westminster Abbey.

The Queen wore an important brooch, the Cullinan V Brooch, for the church service. (You can read more on the stunning history of the Cullinan diamond and its various forms here.)

As she usually does for events that are related to the military, the Duchess of Cornwall wore the cap badge of the Lancers, the regiment her father fought with in World War II. She also wore her usual pearl and diamond earrings and one of her pearl choker necklaces. You can also glimpse a delicate necklace with a letter "C" charm under the pearls.

One of the few living royals who was alive on VE Day, the Duke of Kent, was present for the service at the Abbey...

...as was the Duke of York...

...and the Earl of Wessex.

After the service at the Abbey, Charles and Camilla headed to Horseguards Parade, where they took part in another service for military veterans. Royal reporters noted that the pair shook hundreds of veterans' hands. Say what you will about monarchy as an institution or a political philosophy -- there's something powerful about seeing the grandson of George VI personally acknowledging those who served in his grandfather's armed forces seventy years ago, isn't there?

In 1985, the BBC recorded the Queen relating her recollections of VE Day, which she called "one of the most memorable days of my life." The British Monarchy's official YouTube channel recently re-released that audio with accompanying photographs of the day; you can view it above. (I really want to know which tiara the Queen Mum wore on the balcony that night!)