11 October 2020

The Queen Mother's Ruby Bouquet Brooch

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Some of the Queen's brooches are so large that they transition quite naturally from day to evening. Today's brooch, the Queen Mother's Ruby Bouquet Brooch, has been worn by the Queen for both daytime engagements and evening galas.

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The brooch features a spray of stylized flowers and scrolls, set with diamonds and rubies, and gathered by a delicate diamond bow. The piece belonged to the Queen Mother, who wore it in her later years with the Crown Rubies. Beyond that, the piece does not appear to have any documented provenance.

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Since inheriting the brooch from her mother in 2002, the Queen has worn it on four occasions, all of which came during high-profile diplomatic moments or on holiday celebrations. She debuted the brooch in March 2008 in Northern Ireland. She wore the brooch at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh for the annual Royal Maundy service.

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In June 2014, the Queen paired the brooch with diamond jewels (including the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara and the Coronation Necklace and Earrings) for a gala dinner during her state visit to France. The rubies in the brooch coordinated quite nicely with the red sash of the Order of the Legion of Honor.

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A year later, during her state visit to Germany in June 2015, the Queen wore the brooch for an event that skirted the edge of day/evening: a garden party reception at the British embassy in Berlin.

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And most recently, the Queen wore the brooch in December 2019 for one of the most photographed moments of the royal year: church service near the Sandringham estate on Christmas Day. The brooch's diamond details looked beautiful against her bright red coat for the occasion, though the rubies faded just a bit into the similarly-colored background.