On Saturday, the British royals headed to the Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park for their annual appearance at the rollicking Braemar Gathering.
The Braemar Gathering is held annually on the first Saturday in September at the Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park, named for King Edward VII’s eldest daughter, Princess Louise, and her husband. The current gathering has been held since 1832, though it’s based on events held for centuries longer than that. It’s been run for almost two centuries by the Braemar Highland Society, which was granted royal status by Queen Victoria in 1866. In 2002, the society established the Braemar Royal Highland Charity to officially organize the gathering.
What will you see at the gathering each year? A whole range of spectacles, including traditional “heavy events” like hammer-throwing, stone-putting, and caber-tossing. There are also races and jumping competitions, pipe bands, and tug-of-war.
More than 100 dancers from across the UK and around the world also gather to compete at the event, with all age groups represented.
The monarch attends the games annually to take the salute as chieftain of the gathering. This year, King Charles III attended as monarch for the very first time, though he’s been present at the gathering for decades.
He was joined by his wife, Queen Camilla, and his sister, the Princess Royal, as well as Anne’s husband, Sir Timothy Laurence. Often, they’re joined by other Scottish members of the extended Windsor family, including the present Duke and Duchess of Fife, David and Caroline Carnegie, and Katharine Fraser Nicolson, a granddaughter of Princess Patricia of Connaught and daughter of Lady Saltoun.
The royal family has been associated with the Braemar Gathering for generations. Above, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, with the Queen Mother, attend the event during the coronation year of 1953.
Elizabeth and Philip were often joined by their children at the gathering as well. Above, Prince Charles and Princess Anne join their parents at Braemar in 1960. (You’ll spot one of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Bow Brooches on the Queen.)
And here they are again at the gathering eight years later.
The gathering is a rare annual event where we get to see members of the family really enjoying themselves. Here, the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay laugh during the gathering in 2006. Queen Elizabeth is wearing the Braemar Feather Brooch here.
Last year, in September 2022, the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay (as the Prince of Wales and his wife are known when in Scotland) were joined by the Princess Royal at the gathering. We knew then that Queen Elizabeth II was dealing with increasing physical challenges, but we had no idea that we’d be saying farewell to the monarch just five days later.
Let’s have a look at the outfits and jewels worn by the royals at the 2023 gathering, shall we? King Charles III was dapper in his kilt as he arrived for the event on Saturday.
Charles made his debut in a brand-new tartan at the gathering. The Independent notes, “The King Charles III tartan, named after the monarch, is green, blue and red and was designed by the Scottish Tartans Authority earlier this year to mark the coronation.”
The King also had a flower in the buttonhole of his jacket lapel, plus two pins placed nearby. One features a stag head resting on a crown and surrounded by a wreath. The second, a shield-shaped pin, is the symbol of the Braemar Royal Highland Society.
Queen Camilla reached for a green suit with a tartan skirt and collar, matched with a brown hat and shoes, for the gathering.
She wore her favorite diamond floral button and pearl drop earrings.
No brooch or pin on her jacket this year, much to my dismay, but she did wear two necklaces, including one with an interesting hammered gold pendant. (The second was turned the wrong way around, so I’m not sure whether it’s one of her usual pieces or not.)
She also wore several bracelets, including her blue Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra bracelet, on her right wrist.
I spotted a bracelet with red heart charms in the stack as well.
And here’s Princess Anne and Sir Tim enjoying this year’s Highland Games. They stayed on theme with a tartan tie and a tartan skirt.
Here’s Princess Anne’s full ensemble, which included a bright red jacket and a matching hat.
She wore small pearl stud earrings that matched her pearl-tipped hat pin.
And at her throat, she pinned the small diamond and gold badge of the Royal Scots. She wore the same jewel at Braemar last year, and we’ve seen it on her often in Scotland in general. Anne is patron of the Royal Scots Regimental Association, so she has plenty of occasions to wear the badge. (I’ve speculated that it might be the very same badge that belonged to the previous Princess Royal, her great-aunt Mary.)