15 December 2019

The City of London Lily Brooch

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We've covered so many brooches from the Queen's early collection here on the site that it's hard to believe there could be more we haven't discussed in depth -- but there are! Today's jewel, the City of London Lily Brooch, has been in the Queen's jewelry box for more than seventy years.

Princess Elizabeth, as she was then, received the brooch as a gift when she received the Freedom of the City of London on June 11, 1947. The Associated Press reported that Elizabeth "received the freedom of the City of London, dined in state with leaders in public life, and told an admiring audience the British Commonwealth has never been stronger," adding that the medieval ceremony was Elizabeth's "first major engagement in London entirely on her own," including a "semi-state procession in a horse drawn landau from Buckingham Palace to the Guildhall." The footage above shows her arrival at the event, which was witnessed by her sister, Princess Margaret.

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Here's a closer look at the detail of the lovely, diamond-set lily brooch.

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The brooch has remained a mainstay in the Queen's jewelry wardrobe for decades. Its design makes it especially suitable for springtime occasions, like this appearance on Easter Sunday in 2004.

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It's also made multiple recent appearances at Royal Ascot. The Queen paired it with a light blue ensemble in 2006...

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...and a lavender and floral outfit in 2009...

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...and pinned it to a pale green coat in 2011.

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The timeless versatility of the brooch makes it appropriate for more prominent events as well. The Queen has taken the brooch on several foreign tours, including her visit to Canada in the summer of 2010.

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It's also been present for more than one personal milestone. She chose the brooch for a walkabout in Windsor on her eightieth birthday in April 2006.

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And, in perhaps its most prominent appearance of all, she wore the diamond lily for the service of thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral in honor of her Golden Jubilee in 2002. Above, you can see her wearing the brooch in the grand coach procession on her way to the service.


The quiet simplicity of the brooch's design also makes it appropriate for more muted occasions. In June 2017, the Queen wore the brooch to meet the emergency services at the scene of the fire that destroyed the Grenfell tower block in London.


And, of course, the fact that the brooch has a floral design means that it's also a perfect choice for the many garden parties that the Queen attends each spring. Above, she wears the brooch for a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2012.

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And in May 2019, she chose it for yet another garden party at Buckingham Palace, this time pinning it to a light pink coat.