The Queen Mother loved elaborate brooches with pendants, and her collection included a particularly lovely example of the design style, set with diamonds and sapphires.
In April 1923, when Prince Albert, Duke of York married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the bride received an impressive haul of bejeweled wedding gifts. Queen Mary personally oversaw the assembly of an exhibition of the gifts in the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace. Among the presents was a gift that Mary herself had chosen for her new daughter-in-law: a suite of diamond and sapphire jewelry that included a fringe necklace, a corsage brooch, two smaller brooches, a ring, and a bracelet.
Here’s a closer look at the large brooch from the suite. The jewel features scroll and floral motifs in its design, as well as a pair of négligée pendants. Popular in the first part of the twentieth century, négligée jewels feature paired pendants or tassels that are irregularly positioned, with one pendant hanging slightly lower than the other.
The Queen Mother loved a brooch with a pendant, and she had several in her collection. She wore this diamond and sapphire example on several important occasions throughout her life. Here, in June 1951, she wears it for the final Trooping the Colour ceremony of her husband’s reign. (Her daughter, Princess Elizabeth, had to step in to represent the ailing King George VI, who was too ill to attend.)
Three decades later, the widowed Queen Mother was still wearing the sapphire and diamond wedding gift brooch in public. She chose it for the celebrations of her 80th birthday in August 1980.
And two years later, on her 82nd birthday, the Queen Mum wore the brooch for another family milestone event: the christening of her great-grandson, Prince William of Wales. The christening ceremony took place in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace.
Here’s a closer look at the Queen Mother wearing the brooch for the August 4, 1982 christening. She used her blue dress and hat to echo the sapphires in the brooch. She has often chosen this brooch for particularly important family occasions. She also wore it for the weddings of two of her grandsons: the Duke of York in 1986 and the Earl of Wessex in 1999.
And here, she wears it for another Trooping the Colour ceremony in June 1991, as she rides in a carriage with Diana, Princess of Wales and a young Prince Harry. When the Queen Mother died in 2002, the brooch (along with the lion’s share of the rest of her estate) was inherited by the Queen. To the best of my knowledge, we haven’t seen this one peek out of the vaults yet, but it would be wonderful to see the Queen or the Duchess of Cornwall take it out for a spin soon.