18 August 2019

Princess Christina's Golden Branch Brooch

Jack de Nijs/Anefo/Nationaal Archief/Wikimedia Commons

While putting together yesterday's memorial post for Princess Christina, I stumbled on a little royal jewel moment that I thought was worth exploring in more detail. Today, we've got a closer look at a brooch Christina received on her eighteenth birthday.




Jack de Nijs/Anefo/Nationaal Archief/Wikimedia Commons

Christina turned eighteen on February 18, 1965 -- which means that it was also her golden birthday. That day, she received a special visit at Soestdijk Palace in Utrecht from members of the telecommunications service of the Royal Netherlands Army. She was the "petekind" of the service (essentially, their "godchild") -- she was born on the day that the regiment celebrates its own birthday. To jointly celebrate their day in 1965, they brought a gift to the palace for her. Above, Brigadier-General De Ruig hands her the box.


Jack de Nijs/Anefo/Nationaal Archief/Wikimedia Commons

Inside was a lovely brooch made of yellow gold and diamonds in the shape of a branch -- a fitting symbol from a military unit devoted to making connections.


Jack de Nijs/Anefo/Nationaal Archief/Wikimedia Commons

Queen Juliana was on hand to help pin the brooch to her youngest daughter's dress. You'll note that Christina also wore bracelets on each wrist, plus a lovely pair of drop earrings. The black-and-white images make it really tough to decipher the stone, but they look quite light in color.


Jack de Nijs/Anefo/Nationaal Archief/Wikimedia Commons

Christina posed for a lovely series of birthday portraits at the photocall while wearing her new brooch.


Jack de Nijs/Anefo/Nationaal Archief/Wikimedia Commons

After receiving the lovely gift, Christina shared the wealth, offering chocolates to the members of the service delegation who had traveled to the palace.


Jack de Nijs/Anefo/Nationaal Archief/Wikimedia Commons

She also offered sweets to the press photographers who had been there to document the event, including photojournalist Cees de Boer.


Jack de Nijs/Anefo/Nationaal Archief/Wikimedia Commons

Another photographer (unfortunately not named in the caption provided by the Dutch National Archives) also selected a treat from the princess. I thought this was such a delightful little vignette. We so rarely get extensive documentation of the reception/first wear of a royal gift, and the fact that it shows Christina being so pleased with the present (and happy to share the birthday wealth with those gathered) was extra sweet. Major props to the Dutch National Archives for making so many wonderful mid-century photographs available to see and use, so that these little moments can be enjoyed.