Our bejeweled tribute to the life of the late Queen Elizabeth II continues today with a look at a special piece of jewelry that reinforces the love between generations of the royal family.
On November 14, 1948, almost a year to the day after Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s royal wedding, Elizabeth gave birth to their first child. Prince Charles Philip Arthur George of Edinburgh was also the first grandchild of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and his birth ensured that the monarchy would endure for another generation.
The baby prince and his mother posed for his first set of official photographs in January 1949. In the images, Princess Elizabeth wears her wedding earrings with a special jewel gifted to her by her parents to celebrate Charles’s birth.
Known as the Flower Basket Brooch, the jewel is set with diamonds and an array of colorful gems, including sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. This close-up view of the brooch dates to 2016.
Interestingly, Princess Elizabeth had worn the brooch in public long before it arrived in her own jewelry box. She was photographed in the brooch in May 1939 as her parents departed for a lengthy royal tour of Canada. I think it’s likely that she borrowed the brooch from her mother for that particular occasion, and that Bertie and Elizabeth later decided to gift it to their daughter permanently.
After Charles’s birth, the Flower Basket Brooch quickly became one of Elizabeth’s most-worn jewels. Above, she wears it in August 1951 at London Airport as she departs for her annual summer holiday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. (As a sidenote: you’ll note that she’s wearing small sleeper earrings as well, as her ears had just been pierced.) She continued to wear the brooch regularly for a range of occasions throughout her entire 70-year reign.
In the summer of 2013, the brooch’s sentimental meaning was reinforced following the birth of yet another royal generation. The Queen’s grandson, Prince William, and his wife, Catherine, welcomed their first child, Prince George, that July.
William, Kate, and George are pictured here with the Queen three months later, at George’s christening at the Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace in October 2013.
Touchingly, the Queen chose to wear the Flower Basket Brooch for this celebration of Prince Charles’s first grandson, just as her parents had used the brooch to celebrate his birth decades earlier.
The brooch had a place of prominence in the official photographs taken on the day, including this image showing four generations of the family.
She reinforced the message of the brooch—conveying love for children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren—in her Christmas Broadcast in December 2013, when she reflected on George’s birth. Sentimentally, the four generations photograph from his christening was placed on the table beside her, in between portraits of her late parents.