This week, the Queen returned to work after her birthday celebrations looking very happy and glorious—and wearing a pair of brooches with major vintage and sentimental appeal.
After a quick break at Wood Farm on the Sandringham estate to celebrate her 96th birthday, the Queen was back on the job at Windsor Castle, holding both in person and virtual audiences.
On Thursday, she received the President of Switzerland, Ignazio Cassis, and his wife, Paola, at Windsor Castle for an audience.
For the occasion, HM wore a blue, yellow, and white dress with a paisley-style print.
With the dress, the Queen wore a sapphire and diamond jewel: a playful little brooch in the shape of a bunch of diamond grapes, tied together with a large sapphire bow.
The Sapphire and Diamond Grapes Brooch comes from the collection of the late Queen Mother. We don’t know much about the brooch’s provenance, but the setting of the sapphires in the bow reminds me of the work of Van Cleef & Arpels. Here, the Queen Mum wears the brooch at the Cheltenham Festival in March 1999, just a few months before her 99th birthday.
The Queen inherited the brooch from her mother in March 2002, and she’s worn it fairly frequently in the years since. Here, she wears the brooch for a Sunday service at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh in June 2019.
As she usually does, the Queen also wore pearls for Thursday’s audience: small pearl stud earrings and her usual three-stranded pearl necklace.
On Friday, the Queen was back in action with a pair of virtual audiences. From Windsor Castle, she received two diplomats via video link from Buckingham Palace in London. Here, she meets with Johnston Busingye, the High Commissioner for the Republic of Rwanda, and his wife, Phoebe Murerwa.
And here, she receives Dr. Emmanuel Mallia, the High Commissioner for the Republic of Malta, and his wife, Elena Codruta. The Queen will have had plenty of stories to share about Malta, as she and Prince Philip lived there for a short stint early in their marriage.
For these audiences, the Queen made a delightful brooch choice, wearing a jewel that we haven’t seen in about a decade. This is the Sapphire and Ruby Floral Brooch, made by Cartier. It was a gift from the Queen’s parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, to celebrate her 19th birthday in April 1945.
The brooch features blue and pink sapphires, rubies, and diamonds set in gold, and it has a pair of coordinating earrings. Here, the Queen wears the brooch in January 1948, when she was still Princess Elizabeth, as she helps assemble food packages for pensioners.
The Queen wore the brooch often in her younger years, but it’s made only sporadic appearances more recently. One of the last times we saw it in public was October 2011, when she wore it in Canberra during a royal tour of Australia.
I’m just tickled to see so many heirloom brooches coming out of the vaults recently. We covered both of these brooches in our recent three-part tribute to the Queen’s brooch collection. (You can read parts one, two, and three here!) I can’t wait to see what HM and Angela Kelly pull out of the bejeweled shadows next. Which little-seen brooch are you hoping to see the Queen wear soon?