18 October 2020

The Greville Ivy Leaf Clips

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Here in the United States, the leaves in my backyard are finally falling. What better time to discuss a very leafy set of royal brooches? Today, we've got a closer look at the Greville Ivy Leaf Clips.

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As the name suggests, these twinned ivy leaf clips originally belonged to Dame Margaret Greville, who commissioned them from Cartier. One of the diamond and platinum clips dates to before 1930; the second clip was made to form a matching set in 1937. Mrs. Greville bequeathed them as part of a large collection of jewelry to Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) in 1942. Five years later, in April 1947 during the royal tour of South Africa, the Queen presented them to her daughter, Princess Elizabeth, as a twenty-first birthday gift. 

The young princess wore the clips fairly often in the ensuing years. One of her most notable early appearances in the ivy leaf brooches came in October 1951, when she wore them as she arrived at Washington's National Airport for an official visit to the United States. She was photographed riding in a limousine on the way to Blair House with President Truman, wearing one ivy leaf clip on her lapel and the other on her hat.

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After Elizabeth became Queen, the clips still made occasional appearances. Here, she wears them for a visit to the regimental depot of the Dorset Regiment in Dorchester in 1952.

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More than seventy years after she received the clips, she's still wearing them as part of her jewelry wardrobe. Above, she wears the clips during a royal tour of Jamaica in February 2002.

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In October 2004, she wore the clips as she toured the newly-refurbished main building at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall.

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Appropriately, the Queen often wears these leafy brooches for engagements in October. One of her most recent appearances in the ivy leaf clips came in October 2016, when she wore them for a reception and awards ceremony at the Royal Academy of the Arts.