06 November 2019

Bejeweled British Remembrance Poppies

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Each November, the people of Britain wear poppies pinned to their clothes to remember military men and women who have died in service to the country. Many royals wear the traditional paper poppies sold by the Royal British Legion, but in more recent years, some royal ladies have opted for poppy brooches sold by the appeal.


The poppy brooches worn by the Windsor women all appear to be pieces produced by the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal, which means that the proceeds go to the same charitable organization as the sales of paper poppies. For several years, Buckley London sold the brooches, but now there's an official RBL Poppy Shop website that offers brooches and other jewelry. The site offers brooches dedicated to various groups who have served, including service members from Commonwealth countries (perhaps a good choice for Meghan, who is vice president of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust) and even codebreakers (perfect for Kate, whose grandmother worked at Bletchley Park).

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The Countess of Wessex has a growing collection of these poppy brooches. She wore this sparkling poppy on the balcony during the Remembrance Sunday observance at the Cenotaph in November 2015.

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On Remembrance Sunday in 2017, Sophie wore this smaller poppy brooch with the cap badge of The Rifles. (She's the royal colonel of the 5th battalion.)

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In November 2018, she chose a sparkling crystal poppy brooch for the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London, pinning it beside the badge of Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps. (She's their colonel-in-chief.)

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The Duchess of Sussex also chose a small poppy brooch for the Festival of Remembrance in November 2018.

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The Duchess of Cambridge also has a selection of poppy brooches in her jewelry box. She wore this crystal poppy early on in her royal career, for a reception for the Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race in 2012.

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Kate selected the same crystal poppy for the Festival of Remembrance in November 2015.

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Kate sometimes chooses to wear this large floral brooch instead of a poppy for November events. I have this one filed as the ANZAC Anemone Brooch; it was presented to Kate in Australia on the night before ANZAC Day in 2014 by Emma, the wife of Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith. She wore it in Australia, and then again on Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph in November 2014.

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For last year's Remembrance Sunday appearance at the Cenotaph, Kate secured a bunch of paper poppies with a small enamel and crystal poppy brooch. This appears to be a special edition poppy brooch commemorating the contributions of women during World War I.

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We'll have several opportunities to spot poppy brooches in the next few days. The Queen is visiting the Royal British Legion Industries' Village today, and the Duchesses of Cornwall and Sussex will make a joint visit to the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey tomorrow. A large number of royals (the Queen, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and the Duke of Kent) are also due to attend the Festival of Remembrance and Remembrance Sunday events this weekend.