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It’s that time again, magpies: our countdown of the best royal jewels of the year has begun! For the rest of December, I’ll be sharing two posts a day featuring some of my favorite jewelry moments of the year. I know that many of us (myself included) are more than ready to see 2020 move into the history books, but believe it or not, we had some lovely royal jewel moments in the middle of an unusual year!
We’re kicking things off with #10: an overview of some of the brooches worn in 2020 by the Queen! Even in her lockdown bubble, Queen Elizabeth II has treated us to glimpses of her incredible royal brooch collection, and I’ve got a rundown of some of the lovely pieces we saw this year.
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Rubies, Diamonds, and Gold
The Queen brought out several of her brooches made of gold, rubies, and diamonds this year. She wore the Jewellers and Silversmiths Brooch for a church service near Sandringham in January. In February, she chose the Modern Ruby and Diamond Spray Brooch for a visit to the headquarters of MI-5 in London. And in October, for one of her rare engagements during the second half of the year, the Queen wore the Grima Ruby Brooch for a tour of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory near Salisbury. (We also saw her wear another ruby, diamond, and gold floral brooch recently during a Christmas celebration at Windsor Castle!)
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Queen Mary’s Brooches
As always, the Queen wore several brooches from Queen Mary’s collection over the course of the year. For one of her last engagements pre-lockdown, an audience at Buckingham Palace in March, she wore Queen Mary’s Russian Brooch. For her reassuring address to the nation in April, she chose Queen Mary’s Turquoise Brooch. And to view the ceremonies at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday, she chose the Dorset Bow Brooch to gather her paper poppies.
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Brooches with lovely pendants are always part of the Queen’s rotation, and 2020 made no exception to that rule. In March, she wore the Cambridge Emerald Cluster Brooch with its cabochon pendant to hand out the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. She chose Queen Victoria’s Pearl and Diamond Brooch in July for a video call with service personnel to hear about the work of the British Armed Forces at home and overseas. And in December, she wore Empress Marie Feodorovna’s Sapphire Brooch with its pearl pendant for virtual diplomatic audiences.
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The Queen also found plenty of opportunities to wear diamonds this year. You’ll spot the Cullinan V Brooch pinned to her dress for a portrait taken to mark the Duke of Edinburgh’s 99th birthday in June. She wore the Jardine Star Brooch on a pair of occasions this year: for the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in March, and again to lay a bouquet at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the Abbey in November. And in a bit of a surprise, she wore the Welsh Leek Brooch for the scaled-back Trooping the Colour festivities in June, performed at Windsor by the Welsh Guards.
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There were plenty of occasions for the Queen to add a bit of extra cheer to an event with a floral brooch this year. On two different occasions, she wore one of her Amethyst Floral Brooches—once for the opening of a new London medical building in February, and again for a virtual diplomatic audience in December. For Princess Beatrice’s wedding and Sir Tom Moore’s investiture, which were held on the same day in July, the Queen wore her Double Rose Brooch. And for another virtual audience in December, she wore the Flower Basket Brooch (which we discovered new information about at The Court Jeweller this year, too!)
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As always, many of the brooches worn by the Queen this year have been in her jewelry box for a long time, or feature vintage details in their construction. She wore the Diamond Art Deco Clip Brooch in March for an audience with the Lord Prior of the Order of St John. For a special address marking the 75th anniversary of V-E Day, she sentimentally chose her Aquamarine Clips. And for a portrait marking her 73rd wedding anniversary, she wore the Sapphire Chrysanthemum Brooch (which she also famously wore on her honeymoon).
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And, of course, we were treated to the brooch worn for the annual Christmas Message. The Queen wore the Courtauld Thomson Scallop-Shell Brooch at Windsor Castle to record the message, which was broadcast around the world on Christmas Day.
Stay tune for number nine in our bejeweled countdown, coming later this afternoon!