Yesterday, the Queen brought out a royal brooch that we’ve only seen on rare occasions. Let’s have a closer look at the history of the Onslow Butterfly Brooch.
The brooch was one of the wedding gifts presented to Princess Elizabeth in 1947. The Evening Standard included the following entry in their description of the wedding presents: “Dowager Countess of Onslow—diamond and ruby brooch in the form of a butterfly.” The brooch went on public display with hundreds of other gifts in the Queen Anne room at St. James’s Palace in London shortly after the wedding.
So, who was the Dowager Countess of Onslow? She was born Violet Bampfylde, the only daughter of the 3rd Baron Poltimore. Violet married the 5th Earl of Onslow in 1906. It was Violet’s brother, the 4th Baron Poltimore, who decided to sell the family tiara in 1959. The diadem, the Poltimore Tiara, was bought by Princess Margaret, who famously wore it at her own royal wedding.
The Queen has kept the butterfly brooch in her jewelry box, and it’s made a few appearances over the past decade or so. In March 2010, she wore the brooch to receive President Paul Kagame for a private audience at Buckingham Palace.
In January 2012, she wore the butterfly brooch in Norfolk for a meeting of the Sandringham Women’s Institute. The other brooch pinned to her jacket is her WI badge.
We caught a glimpse of the brooch pinned to a neon pink jacket as the Queen was driven from Balmoral to Crathie Kirk for a church service in August 2019.
And yesterday, the Queen wore the brooch for virtual audiences with incoming ambassadors. The diplomats were at Buckingham Palace; she spoke with them via video conference from Windsor Castle. The brooch receded a bit against the floral print of her dress, but the diamonds still managed to sparkle.