21 September 2020

State Visit Jewels: The Queen Visits the UAE and Oman (2010)

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One of the things I've been missing most of all lately is state visits -- the pomp, the glamour, the banquets! Since this autumn won't be bringing us our usual round of visits, let's have a look back at some of the Queen's most recent visits abroad. Today, we're beginning with a look at the jewels she wore in the United Arab Emirates and Oman in November 2010.



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The visit began in Abu Dhabi on November 24, 2010. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh touched down at the Abu Dhabi International Airport and were greeted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as well as the British ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.


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For her arrival in Abu Dhabi, the Queen wore a rarely-seen brooch, which features a pair of flowers set in bright yellow gold. The brooch has been seen so infrequently, and photographs so unusually, that it's been difficult to nail down the piece's provenance and design. However, it seems that she's had the brooch since at least the 1960s.


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Immediately after their arrival, the Queen and the Duke headed to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, where they paid their respects at Sheikh Zayed's tomb before touring the mosque. For this event, the Queen followed the expected dress code, changing into a long coat and wrapping a scarf around her hat.


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The coat from this ensemble features dazzling appliques, but this angle shows that the Queen also wore at least one piece of jewelry: her everyday pearls.


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On November 25, the Queen and the Duke participated in various engagements and audiences throughout Abu Dhabi. The Queen had a meeting with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Dubai. 


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Later, he accompanied her to unveil the design of the Zayed National Museum, which has a partnership agreement with the British Museum. (Ten years later, the museum is still under construction, presently slated to open in 2021.)


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For these daytime meetings and engagements, the Queen chose a brooch that she's been wearing since 1947: the Flame Lily Brooch.


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The Queen and the Duke changed into formal attire for a meeting with Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, at the Mushrif Palace.


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The Queen wore diamonds for the occasion, including diamond girandole earrings and a diamond riviere. She secured the sash of the Order of the Garter with Queen Mary's Diamond Bar Brooch. The collar of the Order of Zayed, which she received during this visit, is placed over the Garter sash.


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She also wore her diamond evening watch and the Diamond Baguette and Brilliant Bracelet. The bracelet, which features a distinctive twist in its design, was a gift to the then-Princess Elizabeth from her father, King George VI, in 1949.


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After wrapping up engagements in Abu Dhabi, the Queen and the Duke flew on to Oman, arriving at the airport in Muscat on the evening of November 25. There they were greeted by the late Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said, who died earlier this year after a reign of nearly fifty years.


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For her arrival in Muscat, the Queen wore the sapphire and diamond cluster portion of Empress Marie Feodorovna's Sapphire Brooch without its pearl pendant.


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On November 26, the royal couple began a busy schedule of engagements in Oman, meeting with local dignitaries and taking an official salute at Al-Alam Palace.


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The Queen chose pink for her outfit and accessories for this part of the visit. Her brooch is the diamond and pink gemstone cluster that belonged to her grandmother, Queen Mary.


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That evening, the Queen and the Duke were feted by the Sultan with a state banquet at Al Alam Palace. They exchanged official gifts beforehand; in the image above, the Sultan shows them the Faberge-style egg he offered them as a gift.


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The Queen wore diamonds and rubies for the state banquet -- but no tiara. She wore the necklace and earrings from the Crown Ruby Suite, as well as one of her newer brooches, which features six diamond flowers with bright yellow centers. The Queen began wearing the brooch in 2009.


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She also wore her lovely and distinctive Art Deco-style ruby and diamond bracelet, which has been in her collection since at least the 1960s. (The golden vase in the photo was another official gift from the Sultan.)


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On November 27, the Queen and the Duke attended a garden party reception at the home of the British ambassador to Oman.


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For the garden party, the Queen chose heirloom jewels with a natural theme: Queen Victoria's Diamond Wheat Ear Brooches. The Queen also sometimes wears these as hair ornaments; Princess Eugenie also borrowed them to wear in her hair for her wedding reception in 2018.


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In the afternoon, the Queen and the Duke joined the Sultan for an equestrian show at Madinat al-Hidayat, which included demonstrations by the Omani Royal Cavalry. After the show, she offered the Sultan an important gift: she invested him with the Royal Victorian Chain.


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For the horse show, the Queen chose one of her longtime favorite jewels: the Golden Dahlia Brooch.


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On November 28, the Queen and the Duke's Middle Eastern visit came to an end. They said their farewells to the Sultan at the airport in Muscat before flying back to London.


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For the official farewell, the Queen chose an important royal jewel: the Cullinan V Brooch. And then, it was back to London, where important royal things were happening -- Prince William had announced his engagement to Kate Middleton on November 16, and there was a royal wedding to plan!