26 February 2020

The Queen Sparkles for the Security Service

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On Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth II made a visit to Thames House, the London headquarters of Britain's domestic security service, MI-5. Here's a look at the brooch she chose for the occasion...




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The Queen wore a burgandy outfit with floral touches as she toured the headquarters alongside Director General Andrew Parker.


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She also delivered remarks during the visit, telling the service's employees, "I am always struck by the remarkable resolve with which you carry out your vital role."


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For the occasion, the Queen reached for a brooch that's been in her jewelry box for more than half a century.


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The piece is the Modern Ruby and Diamond Spray Brooch, which features a gold setting with diamonds and a slender row of rubies.


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Here's a closer view of the brooch from Tuesday's outing. We don't know the specifics behind the brooch's provenance, but its design clearly dates to the middle of the twentieth century.


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One of the earliest public appearances of the brooch came in May 1965. The Queen wore the jewel for a luncheon with Chancellor Ludwig Erhard during an official visit to West Berlin.


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In June 1969, she was pictured wearing the brooch during a visit by Sheikh Zayed, the Emir of Abu Dhabi, to Buckingham Palace.


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The Queen wore the brooch with a very '70s beret and outfit during her May 1972 state visit to France.


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In November 1972, she repeated the brooch with the same hat and outfit, but this time she pinned the brooch to the collar of her coat.


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The brooch made an outing on a red and white floral dress during her 1988 tour of Australia...


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...and on a bright red coat during her March 1995 visit to Belfast.


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The brooch also got an outing during the Diamond Jubilee festivities. The Queen wore it in April 2012 for a walkabout in Windsor.


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One of the brooch's more recent appearances came during a royal visit to the Royal Insitute of Chartered Surveyors in November 2018. On that occasion, unusually, the Queen wore the brooch with the diamond spray facing downward.


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For her visit to MI-5 on Tuesday, the Queen wore it as she usually does, with the spray facing upward.