12 April 2018

The Connaught Pearl Bar Brooch


The brooch we're focusing on today isn't the grandest piece of jewelry that belongs to our Magpie of the Month, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, but it is a jewel with a remarkable history that links three royal families: the Connaught Pearl Bar Brooch.


The design of the brooch is simple: three natural pearls surrounded by diamonds and arranged in a horizontal bar formation, with extra diamonds studded between the clusters. The brooch appears to be set in silver and gold.

Princess Patricia wears the brooch on her wedding day in 1919 (Illustrated London News)

The brooch originally belonged to Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia, who married one of Queen Victoria's sons, the Duke of Connaught, in 1879. She later gave the brooch to her younger daughter, Princess Patricia of Connaught. When Patricia married Alexander Ramsay in 1919, relinquishing her royal title in the process, she pinned the brooch to the bodice of her wedding gown.


In April 1958 -- sixty years ago this month -- Patricia presented the brooch to her great-niece, Crown Princess Margrethe of Denmark, as an eighteenth-birthday gift. Margrethe has worn the brooch regularly in the six decades that have elapsed since. In May 2006, she chose the brooch for a press conference aboard the royal yacht at the start of an official visit to Greece. (Also of note in this photo: Margrethe's massive toi et moi engagement ring, which you can read about over here!)


Margrethe often pairs the brooch with the same modern diamond earrings that she wore in Greece. Here, she wears the brooch and earrings together during an official visit from King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands in June 2013.


Margrethe wears the brooch on a variety of colors. Here, she fixed the brooch on an orange-red ensemble for an IOC meeting in Copenhagen in October 2009.


She also often wears the brooch with blue clothing, as she did for the start of the official Russian visit to Copenhagen in April 2010.

Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Although Margrethe often places the brooch traditionally on her chest, she has on occasion placed it in more unexpected ways. For a gala hosted by the Danish-American Society in New York in June 2011, she pinned the brooch in the center of her bodice.

Getty Images

Margrethe has also used the brooch as an enhancer ornament on one of her pearl necklaces. She wore the piece this way in May 2004 for the Spanish royal wedding in Madrid, fastening the brooch horizontally near her neckline. The brooch may not be a grand piece, but it has a grand family history -- something we know Margrethe values just as much.