26 April 2018

The Devonshire Turquoise Brooch


Last week, we discussed a brooch that Queen Margrethe II of Denmark received from her British royal aunt, Lady Patricia Ramsay, and today, we're focusing on another brooch that links Margrethe with her British royal heritage: the Devonshire Turquoise Brooch.

An illustration of the brooch from Margaret's wedding gift list

The brooch originally belonged to Margrethe's grandmother, Princess Margaret of Connaught, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. When Margaret married the future King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden in 1905, she received a treasure trove of wedding gifts. The haul included this classic, streamlined brooch, set with a single cabochon turquoise enhanced by a quartet of diamond brilliants. The brooch was presented to Margaret by a very influential British aristocratic couple: Spencer and Louise Cavendish, Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

You may recall Spencer and Louise's names; they're the pair responsible for the massive Devonshire Diadem. If you missed it, I wrote an article on the tiara for last year's Mitford Annual. You can find out how to purchase it -- and read a preview! -- over here.

Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

When Margaret died in 1920, the brooch was one of the items bequeathed to her only daughter, Princess Ingrid of Sweden, who later became Queen Ingrid of Denmark. She wore the brooch occasionally, even once posing with it for an official Swedish court portrait. But fairly early on, she decided to pass the brooch along to her own eldest daughter, Queen Margrethe. We don't seem to know exactly when that happened; in his book on the Danish royal jewels, Bjarne Steen Jensen notes merely that Ingrid gave the brooch to Margrethe "when she was very young."


Margrethe has worn the brooch throughout her life. Jensen even declares that it is "one of the brooches the Queen has most often used." The simplicity of the brooch makes it easy to coordinate with other jewels, including pearls and diamonds. It also works well with numerous colors. Here, Margrethe highlights the brooch against a white jacket during a 2008 visit to Mexico City.


The brooch also manages to shine when it's worn against vivid blue, as you can see in this image from the welcome ceremony during the 2012 Chinese state visit to Copenhagen. The distinctive, bright diamonds really pop in this appearance.