Our weekend of Commonwealth jewels continues today with a look at brooches connected to another Commonwealth realm. Today, we’re focusing on four brooches worn by the Queen of Canada.
The most famous of the Queen’s Canadian brooches is, without a doubt, the Diamond Maple Leaf Brooch. Made by Asprey, the brooch was given by King George VI to Queen Elizabeth in 1939 ahead of their first royal tour of Canada. War broke out shortly afterward, and Elizabeth wore the patriotic brooch often during the war years. Above, in April 1940, she wears the brooch for a visit to an ammunition factory in the Midlands.
The Queen inherited the brooch from her mother in 2002, and she’s worn it frequently, both on visits to Canada and for other more general appearances as well. Here, she pairs the brooch with a patriotic red and white ensemble for the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on July 1, 2010.
The Queen has also loaned to other royal ladies making visits to Canada. Here, in November 2009, the Duchess of Cornwall wears the brooch for an official welcome ceremony in St. John’s.
The Duchess of Cambridge has also worn the brooch on several occasions during visits to Canada. Here, she wears the brooch at the Calgary Zoo in July 2011.
And here, she pairs the brooch with her diamond and tanzanite earrings for an official welcome ceremony during the royal tour of British Columbia in September 2016.
The Diamond Maple Leaf Brooch may be the Queen’s most famous patriotic Canadian jewel, but her collection also includes another fascinating brooch with a maple leaf theme. This large jewel features a spray of enamel maple leaves edged with diamonds, with a single pearl at the end of the “branch.” Some have speculated that the brooch may be from Queen Mary’s collection, but to my knowledge, its provenance has not yet been confirmed. The Queen wears the brooch here (for the first time, I believe) at a reception in Halifax in June 2010.
Here’s another appearance of the brooch from the same royal tour, worn in July 2010 for a tour of the Research In Motion factory in Waterloo.
More recently, two more modern jewels have been added to the Queen’s Canadian jewelry collection. In October 2013, she received the Saskatchewan Tourmaline Brooch, a present so lovely that she reportedly gasped upon seeing it for the first time. Made by Rachel Mielke of the Canadian jewelry firm Hillberg & Berk, the brooch is made of white gold set with Madagascar tourmalines, diamonds, and a single freshwater pearl. The Queen wears the brooch above at Royal Ascot in June 2014.
And here, she wears the brooch at Buckingham Palace in November 2017 for a luncheon with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany.
To celebrate her Sapphire Jubilee in 2017, the people of Canada gave the Queen a piece intended to be a companion for the Diamond Maple Leaf Brooch. The new jewel, made to resemble a stylized snowflake, is set with diamonds and rare Canadian sapphires. Like the tourmaline brooch, this one was also made by artisans working for Hillberg & Berk. Above, the Queen wears the brooch at Royal Ascot in June 2019.