03 October 2020

The Bronte Porcelain Brooch

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The Queen's brooch collection includes pieces made from all different sorts of metals and gemstones, but today's brooch features a unique material: porcelain. Here's a closer look at the Bronte Porcelain Brooch.




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Thanks to a press release from Buckingham Palace, we know the precise provenance of this modern brooch. It's a new piece, designed by Bob and Lucy Price and made by Bronte Porcelain. That business, which was located in Malvern, has sadly since closed. But their unusual porcelain and diamond brooch lives on in the Queen's jewelry box. I've seen the flowers in the design described as both lily of the valley and snowdrops. (I tend to think it's the latter.)


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The Queen debuted the brooch during her visit to Northern Ireland in June 2014. She wore the piece on the third and final day of the trip, which included a visit to the cenotaph in Coleraine, which was part of a launch ceremony for World War One centenary commemorations.


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A year later, in June 2015, the Queen wore the brooch for the final day of her state visit to Germany. The subdued brooch was the perfect choice for a somber occasion: a visit to the memorial at Bergen-Belsen. During her time at the site of the former camp, she visited the grave of Anne Frank, laid a ceremonial wreath at the inscription wall, and spoke with survivors and liberators.


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So far, the Queen has only worn the brooch on three occasions. The most recent was the Festival of Remembrance in November 2016, when she wore the brooch with a single paper poppy.


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There's a definite thread running through all three of these occasions: somber remembrance. The fact that the brooch is not primarily set with dazzling gems, but instead with white flowers, makes it a very appropriate choice for moments of tribute and memory. I'd wager that we'll see the brooch continue to be used in this way in the future.