09 July 2018

Order of the Thistle Jewels 2018

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During Holyrood Week, the annual period when Queen Elizabeth II is officially in residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, a service is held for members of the Order of the Thistle, Scotland's highest order of chivalry. Here's a look at the royal jewels we saw on display on Friday at the order's chapel at St. Giles High Kirk.




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Like the annual Order of the Garter service, the Thistle service is another annual daytime event that calls for more formal jewels, and the Queen gets to dig into her earring collection and wear pieces that are seen less often in public. She didn't disappoint this year, wearing Queen Mary's Diamond Cluster Earrings.

(As a sidenote, I'm already anticipating comments attempting to infer something from the Queen's expression in some of these photos. Remember that HM recently had eye surgery, know that this was a very sunny day, and focus on the jewels in your commentary, please!)


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Here's another view of the magnificent diamond earrings, which the Queen also wore for the Thistle service two years ago. The earrings were made for Queen Mary in 1922. The large diamonds in the center of each earring were wedding gifts to Mary in 1893 from the Bombay Presidency, one of the administrative divisions of India back when it was governed by the Brits. (Interestingly, this year's Thistle service took place on Mary's 125th wedding anniversary.)


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The Queen was joined at the service by her grandson, the Earl of Strathearn (or, as he's known when not in Scotland or Northern Ireland, the Duke of Cambridge). William is one of only four living royal supernumerary Knights/Ladies of the Thistle; the others are the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, and the Princess Royal.


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Princess Anne, accompanied by Sir Tim, was the other royal Thistle member present at this year's service. The deep green color of the order's robes is particularly apparent in this photo of her from the service.


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As she did for Garter Day, Anne chose her classic pearl and diamond stud earrings for the Thistle service this year. If you look closely, you can also see a hint of pearls peeking out from under the collar of her robes.