22 August 2020

The Botswana Sorghum Brooch

ANTHONY DEVLIN/AFP via Getty Images

The Queen debuted a whole collection of new brooches in 2014, including many of unknown or uncertain provenance. But we know exactly where this brooch, the Botswana Sorghum Brooch, came from -- it's all in the name!




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The brooch, appropriately, was given to the Queen by President Mogae of Botswana in 2007. The gold and diamond jewel is made to resemble a delicate sheaf of sorghum, which is Botswana's main crop.


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The Queen debuted the brooch in public seven years later. She wore it in June 2014 as she stepped off a train at the Gare du Nord in Paris, where she began a state visit to France linked to the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.


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In June 2015, she wore the brooch for one of her favorite annual events, Royal Ascot. On day four of the races, she pinned the sorghum brooch to a bright yellow coat. The combination of the gold, the yellow clothing, and the bright sunshine made it difficult to discern the details of the brooch during the carriage procession.


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But later, as a cloud hovered briefly over the parade ring, the brooch stood out a bit more against its boldly-colored background.


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One of the Queen's most recent appearances in the sorghum brooch came in April 2017, when she wore it for the annual Royal Maundy Service. The service, held that year at Leicester Cathedral, may seem at first like an odd moment for the wearing of the brooch. But when you consider that sorghum is a cereal grain, and the occasion is the commemoration of the Last Supper, it makes a whole lot more sense.


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The golden brooch shone brightly against HM's turquoise coat as she distributed Maundy money to 91 men and 91 women who had been chosen for their important acts of service to their communities.