24 September 2020

State Visit Jewels: The Queen Visits Germany (2015)

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Today, our final state visit spotlight of the week falls on the Queen's most recent foreign diplomatic visit: her 2015 state visit to Germany.




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The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived for the state visit at the airport in Berlin on the afternoon of June 23. They were received by the British ambassador to Germany and the German ambassador to the United Kingdom on their arrival.


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For her first appearance in Germany during the visit, the Queen chose a brooch with very German roots: Prince Albert's Brooch. This is the brooch that Prince Albert offered to Queen Victoria as a wedding present in 1840. Albert and Victoria were the Queen's great-great-grandparents; he's one of the most recent of her British royal ancestors to have been born in Germany.


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The major events of the visit began on the following day, June 24. The Queen and the Duke were greeted at Bellevue Palace in Berlin by President Gauck and his partner, Daniela Schadt.


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The first day was packed with a flurry of engagements, including a boat ride on the River Spree...


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...and a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel...


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...and a visit to the Neue Wache Memorial, where the Queen laid a ceremonial wreath.


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For the daytime engagements on the 24th, the Queen wore a familiar outfit and brooch combination. This is the same coat and brooch (the floral brooch made of mixed metals) that she wore for a garden party during her state visit to France the previous year. You'll also recognize the coat from another important occasion: the water pageant on the Thames during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012. (For that event, she pinned the Jardine Star Brooch to the coat.)


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On the evening of the 24th, the Queen and the Duke returned to Bellevue Palace for a state dinner.


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All of the jewels worn by the Queen for the dinner have links to her German ancestors. The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara originally belonged to Queen Mary, whose father, the Duke of Teck, was a member of the royal family of W├╝rttemberg. With the tiara, she wore the necklace, earrings, and brooch from the Crown Ruby Suite, a set of jewels purchased by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria in 1854. (The pieces were originally set with opals, but Queen Alexandra had them replaced with rubies.) As noted above, Prince Albert was a German prince, born in Coburg. The jewels also coordinated very nicely with the red sash of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.


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Even the piece of jewelry used by the Queen to secure the order sash on her back has German connections. The Teck Emperor of Austria Brooch also came to the Queen via Queen Mary and the Tecks. It was a gift to the Duchess of Teck from Empreror Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary to mark the birth of her son, Prince Francis Joseph of Teck, in 1870. On this occasion, the Queen wore the brooch without its chain and pearl pendants.


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On June 25, the Queen and the Duke boarded a plane to Frankfurt, joined by President Gauck and Ms. Schadt.


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For morning engagements in Frankfurt, including a reception with community representatives and a visit to St. Paul's Church, the Queen wore her Diamond Shamrock Brooch. Many think this brooch may have been one of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee gifts.


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When the Queen removed her coat for an official luncheon at the Imperial Hall in Frankfurt, she transferred the shamrock brooch to her dress. Here, she and the Duke are joined by Volker Bouffier, the Minister-President of Hesse, and his wife, Ursula, on the balcony of Frankfurt's city hall.


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Back in Berlin on the evening of the 25th, the Queen and the Duke were celebrated at a garden party at the British embassy.


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For the evening party, the Queen wore a brooch that belonged to her late mother: the Queen Mother's Ruby Bouquet Brooch. It's the same one she wore pinned to her sash during the French state dinner the previous year.


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On the final day of the visit, June 26, the Queen greeted members of the public during a walkabout near Brandenberg Gate in Berlin.


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She wore the Diamond Daffodil Brooch -- another suspected Diamond Jubilee gift.


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The final event of the visit was a somber one: a visit to the concentration camp memorial at Bergen-Belsen. While there, the Queen and the Duke viewed Anne Frank's grave, laid a ceremonial wreath, and met with survivors, liberators, and members of the German Jewish community.


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The Queen and the Duke then boarded a military plane in Celle for their flight back to the United Kingdom.


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For these final moments of the visit, the Queen's attire was appropriately subdued, including the delicate Bronte Porcelain Brooch.