This week, the Princess Royal wore a brooch at Buckingham Palace that’s gotten some press—but not accurate press. Today, we’ve got a closer look at the real story behind the patriotic pin that Anne wore to celebrate Team GB.
On Wednesday, members of the British royal family hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the accomplishments of the Team GB Olympic medalists who participated in the recent Tokyo Games. The reception was attended by King Charles III and Queen Camilla, as well as the Princess Royal, the Earl of Wessex, and the Duke of Gloucester.
Soon after, various news outlets began publishing articles about the brooch that Princess Anne wore for the reception. One of them even quoted me—though I did not give them an interview!—to support the idea that Anne wore Empress Marie Feodorovna’s Sapphire Brooch without its pearl pendant for the occasion. (We discussed the possibility that Anne has been wearing that brooch recently in an article from last weekend.) But take it directly from me: this definitely isn’t Marie Feodorovna’s brooch, and it’s not set with sapphires or diamonds.
The brooch that Anne wore for Wednesday’s reception is a silver Team GB Olympic pin. Ringed with flowers, the silver brooch is engraved with a Team GB lion logo and the Olympic Rings. She’s had the pin in her jewelry box since at least 2012, the year that London hosted the Summer Olympic Games. Anne wore the brooch frequently for events connected to those games, part of her dual roles as the President of the British Olympic Association and a member of the International Olympic Committee. Here, she wears the silver pin with a second Olympic pin in Athens in May 2012, during the Olympic Torch Handover Ceremony.
She had the silver brooch pinned to her coat when she arrived back in Britain with a special lantern containing the Olympic Flame a few days later.
Here, Princess Anne wears the silver brooch for an evening reception at Mansion House in London to mark the official start of the London Olympics in July 2012. You’ll note that the reflective surface of the brooch often takes on the colors of various lights and surfaces nearby. Here, the center of the pin looks dark, almost black.
The same illusion is present here, as Anne wears the pin for a special reception at London’s Royal Opera House connected with the Olympics later in July 2012.
In this photograph taken during Anne’s remarks at that reception, however, the silver surface of the brooch is much clearer, as are the engravings on the piece.
Princess Anne has continued to wear the pin at various Olympic-related events and receptions in the years since. Here, the brooch glows dark blue in the lighting at the Team GB British House Reception in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016.
And here, in a photograph from the same reception in Brazil, the photographer’s flash makes the entire pin reflect dazzling light!
So there’s the real answer to Princess Anne’s brooch mystery from Wednesday’s reception: it’s an Olympic jewel from her own collection, not a piece connected to the late Queen. (Also, stay tuned: we’ll be talking about some of the brooches worn by Camilla this week shortly!)