King Charles and Queen Camilla have officially embarked on the first state visit of his reign, and their official welcome in Germany brought us a lovely heirloom brooch moment.
The King and the Queen Consort landed in Germany on Wednesday morning to begin their first state visit. Initially, they were scheduled to travel to France last Friday for a state visit there, but it was postponed.
In Berlin, an official welcome ceremony for the royal couple was held at the Brandenberg Gate. There, they were greeted by their hosts, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife, Elke Buedenbender.
During the welcome ceremony, the King and the President reviewed an honor guard.
The royals also greeted members of the public who had gathered to see the ceremony.
Inside Schloss Bellevue, the former Prussian palace that now serves as the official residence of the German president, Charles and Camilla signed the guest book.
Queen Camilla, pictured here with Ms. Buedenbender, wore an ensemble featuring a light blue coat, a teal hat with peacock feather embellishments, and black accessories for the first moments of the state visit.
A velvet dress in shades of green and blue peeked out from beneath the coat.
Queen Camilla repeated her sapphire, diamond, ruby, and pearl drop earrings for the official welcome.
Here’s a closer look at the earrings from the Commonwealth Day service in London two weeks ago.
Delightfully, she also wore a lovely little diamond and turquoise brooch for the occasion—and even more delightfully, it has an interesting royal provenance!
The palace briefed reporters on the history of the piece, which was given to the late Queen Elizabeth II as a confirmation present by her grandmother, Queen Mary, in 1942.
Princess Elizabeth was confirmed by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the private chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday, March 28, 1942. The small wartime ceremony was attended by Elizabeth’s parents, the King and Queen; her sister, Princess Margaret; her grandmother, Queen Mary; and her aunt (and godmother), the Princess Royal.
I don’t believe we’ve ever seen any photographs of the late Queen’s confirmation presents, and I can’t recall seeing her ever wear this small diamond and turquoise brooch in public. (Please correct me if you know of an image/occasion!) It’s so wonderful to see little bits of royal history peek out of the vaults on occasions like this!
On a historical note, gifting turquoises at confirmations was something of a tradition in the Cambridge/Teck family. According to Leslie Field, when Queen Mary’s mother, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, was confirmed in December 1850, she received a trio of diamond and turquoise bow brooches as a confirmation present. (I’m not sure who the gift-giver was, but I’ve always wondered whether it might have been Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh.) Mary Adelaide later wore the brooches on her headdress and bodice for her official debut at Buckingham Palace.
Forty-three years later, Mary Adelaide (now Duchess of Teck) gave the brooches to her daughter, the future Queen Mary, as a wedding present. They were included as part of a turquoise parure that also featured a large tiara. That set now belongs to the present Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
Just as an additional note, Queen Mary was confirmed in a London service in 1885 that was attended by numerous members of the royal family, and she received presents on the day as well. Given her penchant for carrying on jewelry traditions, and given the wartime circumstances of Princess Elizabeth’s 1942 confirmation, could it be possible that the small turquoise and diamond brooch was a hand-me-down piece from her own confirmation gift haul? I wonder.