Happy Birthday to the Princess Royal! We’re celebrating today with a look at one of her most classic jewels: her diamond ribbon and tassel brooch.
When Princess Anne married her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, at Westminster Abbey in November 1973, she received numerous glittering wedding presents from friends and relatives. The Queen offered her daughter two pairs of floral cluster earrings (one pair set with diamonds, the other with diamonds and aquamarines), a gold dress watch, and a gold and diamond stalactite clip brooch. The Queen Mother gifted Anne a diamond and aquamarine tiara, and the groom presented his bride a diamond brooch in the shape of his regimental crest.
Another bejeweled wedding present came from Anne’s elder brother, the Prince of Wales. Her wedding day was doubly significant for Charles, as it was also his 25th birthday.
Charles gave Anne a diamond ribbon brooch with delicate diamond-set tassels. The five ribbon loops of the brooch, and the diamond cluster set in the center of the jewel, give the brooch a distinctive modern floral shape. (He also gave the couple a more practical gift: two leather gun cases.)
The new brooch coordinated beautifully with several other pieces of diamond jewelry in Anne’s collection. She had received a diamond festoon tiara in May 1973 when she launched the World Unicorn, a tanker owned by the Hong Kong-based World-Wide Shipping Group. The tiara was a natural fit with the diamond festoon necklace and matching earrings given to her by her parents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, as an 18th birthday present in August 1968.
Anne has been wearing the tiara, necklace, earrings, and brooch as a married parure since the 1970s, often appearing in the complete set at gala events like state banquets. She also occasionally wears the brooch separately, or with just the necklace and earrings.
We got an excellent look at the entire married suite in July 2017, when Anne wore all of the pieces together for a banquet at the Guildhall in London honoring the visiting King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain.
Touchingly, Anne has also loaned the brooch on one occasion to her daughter, Zara Tindall. Zara wore the brooch in May 2023 for the coronation of her uncle, King Charles III, at Westminster Abbey. It was a sentimental choice: a gift from Charles to her mother, celebrating the marriage of her parents, in the same church almost exactly fifty years earlier.