28 December 2015

A Quartet of British Christmas Brooches

The British royal family was out and about at the Sandringham estate as usual this Christmas, and the day brought us lovely brooches from several family members. Here's a look at four of them...

The Queen's ensemble on Christmas Day featured a large fur collar, so she didn't wear a brooch. But for her annual pre-recorded Christmas message, she wore a brooch that has featured significantly in her jewelry wardrobe this year: the large aquamarine and diamond Art Deco brooch that belonged to the Queen Mother. The Queen wore the same brooch this year on May 8, which was the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. I've speculated earlier here on the blog that this brooch may be the one that the Queen Mum wore on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on V-E Day,

The photographs that the royals include in the background of taped messages are always significant. This year's photos -- a candid picture of the Queen and Prince Philip, a portrait from Charles and Camilla's wedding, and a portrait from Princess Charlotte's christening -- underscore the continuity of the monarchy through four generations of Windsors. The women of those generations followed the Queen's example and wore brooches on their coats at Christmas. Camilla chose a diamond brooch from her collection of insect-themed jewelry.

Kate also wore a brooch on Christmas Day this year. The gold, diamond, and pearl piece features leaves and acorns, which are part of her family's coat of arms.

Kate has had the brooch in her jewelry collection for at least three years. This wasn't the brooch's first public appearance; Kate wore it in May 2012 at the luncheon held for foreign sovereigns during the Diamond Jubilee, although it was hidden beneath her hair in most of the photographs from that event.

One of the most elegant members of the family, Lady Sarah Chatto, also pinned a brooch to her coat on Christmas Day. As is the case with most of Lady Sarah's important jewelry, the diamond and pearl star brooch is a legacy from her late mother, Princess Margaret.

I'm really excited to see Kate in particular embracing the brooch -- the Queen's collection of important brooches is massive, and I'd hate to see them gather dust in boxes when the next generations of royal women get the keys to the vault.