Queen Camilla headed to Ascot on Saturday for the November racing weekend, and she brought along an appropriate little piece of royal jewelry history with her for the occasion.
The Queen Consort arrived at Ascot Racecourse on Saturday for the races, wearing a green coat with tartan details, brown boots, and a warm fur-trimmed hat.
As part of her appearance at the racecourse, she presented prizes during the day of races.
She also met up with a group of pupils from the Ebony Horse Club, located in Brixton in south London. The charity offers young people from the city the chance to learn to ride, and also provides lessons in caring for horses and other employment-enhancing skills. Camilla chose the club to feature this summer in the edition of Country Life that she guest-edited to celebrate her 75th birthday, and the charity was also included in a documentary produced to coincide with the issue.
For her trip to the racecourse on Saturday, Camilla reached for her favorite pair of diamond and pearl drop earrings, plus a brooch with a fascinating royal history.
The horseshoe-shaped brooch features the name “Minoru” spelled out in diamond letters, interspersed with round sapphires and rubies.
More than a century ago, when King Edward VII was on the throne, Minoru was one of the stars of the royal racing world. He was one of the King’s most successful Thoroughbred racehorses. In 1909, Minoru was one of the best colts in the country, and his win at Epsom made Edward VII the first reigning monarch to win the Derby. Minoru had also worn the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket that year. He narrowly missed winning the British Triple Crown when he was beaten by Bayardo at the St Leger.
Edward VII was so over the moon about Minoru’s Derby win that he celebrated lavishly. One contemporary newspaper reporter wrote that the King threw a magnificent dinner for “three princes, four dukes, two marquises, thirteen earls, four viscounts, and more lords and sirs and plain misters than I can count.” He also commemorated the victory by commissioning several pieces of jewelry. The same reporter noted that Edward “had special diamond scarf pins made, showing a horse and jockey, for presentation to his relatives and close friends.”
To honor the achievement of Danny Maher, the American jockey who had ridden Minoru in the Derby, another special jewel was made. The Gloucestershire Echo reported in October 1909 that “the King presented him with a scarf-pin having the name Minoru set in diamonds.” That description better fits the brooch worn by Queen Camilla (pictured above), which also has sapphire and rubies (representing the king’s racing colors) in its design. To the best of my knowledge, we don’t know the provenance of Camilla’s brooch—whether it is the Maher pin, reacquired later by the royals, or a similar brooch made for another family member or friend. (There’s always the Keppel connection, after all.)
We’ve seen Camilla wear the Minoru Brooch often in recent years, usually at equestrian-related events. In January 2019, she wore the brooch for a series of engagements in Malmesbury, including a visit to see several local police horses.
Here, in May 2019, she wears the brooch in Newmarket during a visit to the National Stud, one of her patronages.
She coordinated the rubies in the brooch with her outfit at the Braemar Games in September 2019.
And she chose the brooch for a visit to the Cheltenham Festival in March 2020.
Here’s another look at Queen Camilla wearing the brooch at Ascot this weekend. I love when little bits of interesting royal history crop up in jewelry form, don’t you?