In normal times, each September brings a fun and boisterous royal event: the Braemar Highland Games, which has been attended by the royal family in Scotland for decades. The Queen has a special brooch for the event: the Braemar Feather Brooch.
The Queen has attended the Braemar Highland Games almost every year during her reign. The image above shows the Queen with the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen Mother, Prince Charles, and Princess Anne at the event in 1960. The royal family has been attending much longer, since the reign of Queen Victoria.
In 2002, the year of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, the Braemar Royal Highland Society presented Elizabeth with a brooch to commemorate her fifty years on the throne. The society selected a brooch with connections to one of Scotland’s native birds, the golden eagle. Made in the shape of an eagle’s feather, the Braemar brooch features a number of mixed metals —white and yellow gold, silver, and platinum—in its construction. The Queen wears the brooch above at the games in 2008.
Since receiving the feather brooch, the Queen has worn it for every highland games she’s attended. Here she is in September 2005, wearing the brooch pinned to a blue jacket. She was joined by Prince William, who had recently graduated from the University of St Andrews in Scotland.
The event almost always produces excellent images of the royal family heartily enjoying the games. Here, you’ll spot the brooch on the Queen’s plaid coat as she and Prince Charles laugh during the event in 2006.
In 2007, the metallic feather brooch stood out nicely on a dark green coat for the occasion.
The brooch also manages to hold its own on pale, neutral colors. Here, the Queen wears it on a textured ivory coat in 2010.
In 2011, the Queen wore the brooch on a tweedy coat in shades of white, gray, and turquoise.
And you’ll just spot a sliver of the brooch’s edge on her pale purple jacket for the event in 2012, which took place during her Diamond Jubilee year. This was also the tenth anniversary of the original brooch gift.
The Queen arrived at Braemar with the brooch pinned to a pink plaid coat in 2013.
Another textured jacket, this time in shades of ivory and gold, accompanied Her Majesty to the games in 2014. And, of course, the brooch was with her as well.
The brooch gleamed beautifully against the Queen’s dark red outfit for the event in 2015.
And it also stood out on a bright ensemble in a light shade of purple for the occasion in 2016.
Tweedy plaid was the Queen’s choice for the games in 2017, with the brooch’s yellow gold standing out nicely against the fabric.
In 2018, the brooch was very easy to spot on the Queen’s bright teal coat.
Most recently, in 2019, the Queen wore the brooch with a regal purple ensemble for the event. The games were canceled in 2020 and 2021, thanks to the ongoing global pandemic. Here’s hoping that we get to see the brooch appear in public again in 2022, a full two decades after it arrived in the Queen’s jewelry box.