23 September 2020

State Visit Jewels: The Queen Visits France (2014)

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Our survey of the jewels worn by the Queen during her most recent state visits abroad continues today with a very important visit: 2014's diplomatic trip to France, which also marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day.




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The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh left London for Paris on June 5, 2014. They traveled to France by train, departing from the Eurostar terminal at St. Pancras.


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Before boarding the train, the Queen unveiled a plaque commemorating the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Eurotunnel.


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For the official departure ceremonies, the Queen wore a brooch that had belonged to her late mother: the Sapphire and Diamond Grapes Brooch.


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When the train pulled in to the Gare du Nord in Paris, the Queen was welcomed by the British ambassador to France and the French head of protocol.


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She changed her outfit and jewels during the journey, alighting from the train wearing the Botswana Sorghum Brooch. (This was the brooch's public debut.)


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After conducting investitures at the ambassador's residence, the Queen and the Duke journeyed to the Arc du Triomphe in the center of Paris.


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They were joined at the memorial by President Hollande. He joined the Queen as she laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


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For the memorial visit and a meeting at the Elysee Palace, the Queen wore one of the most important brooches in her collection: the Williamson Pink Diamond Brooch, set with one of the world's rarest pink diamonds.


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That evening, the Queen and the Duke returned to the ambassador's residence, where they attended a garden reception celebrating the Queen's birthday. (Her birthday is in April, but it is traditionally celebrated in Britain in June.)


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For the garden party, the Queen chose her mixed-metals floral brooch. (This was the brooch's public debut; its provenance has not been established.)


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June 6, 2014 was the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, and the Queen and the Duke spent most of the day participating in official commemorations of that anniversary. They started the day at the Bayeux Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Normandy, where the Queen laid a wreath.


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The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall joined them at the cemetery, where the four royals attended a service of remembrance.


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The Queen's choice of brooch for the day underscored the importance of the ceremonies. This was a rare daytime outing for Queen Victoria's Diamond Fringe Brooch, an heirloom that was particularly beloved by the late Queen Mother. The Queen usually wears the brooch for gala events, but she made an exception for this very important day of remembrance and commemoration.


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The Duchess of Cornwall's brooch also held significant meaning. She wore the badge of the Lancers. Her late father, Major Bruce Shand, served with the regiment during World War II.


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After the service of remembrance, the Queen and the Duke joined other heads of state and dignitaries for a luncheon hosted by President Hollande at the Château de BĂ©nouville in Ouistreham. You'll note several other royals in this photo, including King Harald V of Norway, King Philippe of the Belgians, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, Prince Albert II of Monaco, and King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.


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After the luncheon, the Queen and the Duke joined the rest of the diplomatic guests at Sword Beach in Normandy, where they viewed a re-enactment of the events of D-Day. Three of the royal guests in attendance also served in World War II: the Queen, the Duke, and Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg. Another monarch, King Harald V of Norway, was forced into exile as a child because of the war, and yet another, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, was born during the German occupation of her country.


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Here's a look at some of the other royal jewels we saw on Sword Beach. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark honored her father, King Frederik IX, by wearing a badge featuring the emblem of the Royal Danish Navy. She also wore earrings from her collection of turquoise jewelry.


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Queen Mathilde of the Belgians wore her classic diamond and pearl earrings, while Queen Maxima of the Netherlands chose floral earrings and her ruby, sapphire, and emerald tennis bracelets.


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On the evening of June 6, the Queen and the Duke returned to Paris for a state dinner at the Elysee Palace.


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The Queen absolutely dazzled in diamonds for the occasion, including the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara and the Coronation Earrings and Necklace.


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She wore one of her evening watches on her right wrist, and on her left wrist, she wore the same modern diamond bracelet worn a few years earlier during the state visit to Ireland.


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She secured the sash of the Order of the Legion of Honour with the Queen Mother's Ruby Bouquet Brooch.


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On June 7, the Queen and the Duke began the day at the Hotel de Ville, the official residence of Paris's mayor, Madame Hidalgo.


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The day continued with a visit to Paris's flower market...


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...which was renamed in the Queen's honor.


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For the third and final day of the state visit, the Queen wore another newer brooch from her collection, which features six diamond flowers with yellow centers. This is the same brooch she wore for a state dinner in Oman in 2010.


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And then, the state visit was over. President Hollande escorted the Queen and the Duke to the airport for their flight back to Britain. It seems likely that this was the Queen's last state visit to France; to complete the circle, you might enjoy looking back at the jewels she wore on her very first visit to Paris in 1948.