One of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s royal brooches has finally made its way out of the vaults! We’ve got a closer look at that jewel, and all the royal jewels worn for this year’s Commonwealth Day service.
Members of the royal family gathered at Westminster Abbey on Monday for the annual Commonwealth Day service, which is held each year on the second Monday in March. The King and the Queen Consort were joined by the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, and the Princess Royal and Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence.
Queen Camilla wore bright blue for the first Commonwealth Day service of her husband’s reign, accessorized with diamond, pearl, and sapphire jewels.
It was a particularly blustery day in London, so you’ll see the royal ladies working valiantly to ensure that there were no hat mishaps. A little wind, though, also generally gives us a better view of Camilla’s earrings—and that was the case today.
Here’s a closer look at them. They feature a sapphire set in a cluster of diamonds and rubies with a pearl pendant.
But it was another sapphire that caught my eye. Camilla debuted a royal brooch that was once worn by the late Queen Elizabeth II: the Russian Sapphire Cluster Brooch. It’s a Romanov jewel, originally from the collection of Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia. She was a sister of Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom (and the mother of the doomed last tsar, Emperor Nicholas II).
After Marie Feodorovna’s death in 1928, her daughters sold many pieces of her jewelry. This diamond, gold, and sapphire cluster brooch was purchased from them by Queen Mary. It was later given to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who wore it faithfully for decades.
In 2002, the brooch was inherited by Queen Elizabeth II. Her most prominent outing in the piece came in April 2014 at the Vatican during a meeting with Pope Francis.
Now, the brooch is sparkling on another generation of the family. Camilla also wore her usual stack of gold bracelets as well.
The Prince and Princess of Wales joined Charles and Camilla in the front row of the service, as they have done for the past several years.
Kate wore a vintage-inspired skirt suit from Erdem for the occasion with a navy blue hat and accessories.
Like Camilla, she also wore sapphires. These are the sapphire cabochon cluster earrings that belonged to her mother-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales.
Here’s Diana wearing the earrings (plus the spectacular sapphire, diamond, and pearl choker necklace) for an event at the Royal Albert Hall in 1991.
Kate first wore the earrings in public last June at Trooping the Colour, pairing them with a sapphire and diamond cluster pendant from another set of jewelry. (Interestingly enough, that’s the set she wore last March for the Commonwealth Day service.)
One of Kate’s more recent appearances in the sapphire and diamond earrings was in Boston last November, when she and William landed at Logan International Airport to begin their royal visit.
On her jacket, Kate wore a diamond, emerald, and ruby brooch that has big royal provenance. It’s Queen Alexandra’s Three Feather Brooch, featuring the symbol of the Prince of Wales. (Alexandra was Princess of Wales for almost four decades before becoming queen consort.) Kate wore the brooch without its emerald drop on this occasion.
The brooch, which can also be worn as a pendant, has been worn by several Princesses of Wales. Here, Diana wears the piece as a pendant (with the Spencer Tiara and the Qatari Pearl Drop Earrings) during the royal tour of Australia in 1983.
Camilla also wore the brooch during her years as Duchess of Cornwall. For the premiere of The History Boys in October 2006, she wore it with its coordinating emerald drop earrings.
The newly-minted Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh were on hand for the service as well. Sophie wore a cream-colored coat and matching accessories.
She echoed the black and cream theme of the ensemble with her earrings, wearing her black and white pearls. She also pinned an interesting modern brooch to her coat.
We most recently saw her wearing the brooch at the Together at Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey last December.
The black and white pearl earrings, of course, are Sophie’s wedding earrings, designed for her by Edward. They have a matching necklace with a cross pendant.
The Princess Royal and Sir Tim rounded out the royal party at the service. Anne wore a tweedy coat in shades of green and purple.
She accessorized with gold earrings with diamond-shaped pendants and a modern brooch from her collection.
Here’s a closer look at the gold brooch, which is set with a single amethyst.
It’s one of her favorite brooches, and we see her wear it frequently. Here’s a look at a previous appearance, at Royal Ascot in June 2016.