24 December 2019

Prince Albert's Brooch for the Queen's Christmas Message

(Looking for today's scheduled recap of The Crown? I've moved the next recap to the new year, so stay tuned for episode six in January!)

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This weekend, we all speculated about which brooch the Queen would wear for her annual Christmas Message, and now we've got the answer! She's chosen Prince Albert's Brooch for Christmas 2019.






This is only the second appearance for the brooch on the Queen's Christmas broadcast. She previously wore the brooch for her Christmas Message more than 30 years ago, in December 1987.


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The brooch is an important British royal heirloom. It was given to Queen Victoria by Prince Albert on the night before their wedding in 1840. (Albert's father, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, apparently purchased the sapphire and diamond cluster from a Dutch jeweler.)


Franz Xaver Winterhalter/Royal Collection/Wikimedia Commons

Victoria absolutely treasured the gift, noting in her diary that her beloved Albert had given her "a splendid brooch, a large sapphire set round with diamonds, which is really quite beautiful." She designated it as an heirloom of the crown, which means that it has subsequently passed directly from monarch to monarch. The Queen received it when she ascended to the throne in 1952.


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The brooch is a particularly perfect choice for the 2019 Christmas Message. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of both Victoria and Albert.


STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The message was recorded this year in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle. (The room has featured prominently in images from two recent royal events: the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding, and Archie Mountbatten-Windsor's christening.) As always, a selection of relevant family pictures is also presented beside HM. This year's choices appear to signify the continuity of the succession: King George VI (HM's father, whose given name was, appropriately, Albert); the Duke of Edinburgh; the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall; and the Cambridge family.


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The painting in the background is Sir Thomas Lawrence's portrait of Princess Sophia, one of the daughters of King George III.