Today in Copenhagen, a future King of Denmark marks his eighteenth birthday. Tonight’s gala features tiaras and grand jewels, but during the morning’s celebrations, there was a particularly special royal brooch on display.
Prince Christian was joined by his grandmother, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, as well as his parents, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary, and his siblings, Princess Isabella, Prince Vincent, and Princess Josephine, at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen for the start of his birthday celebrations on Sunday. The family posed for new official portraits to mark the occasion.
They also greeted the gathered crowds on the palace balcony after the portrait session.
Prince Christian wore an elegant brown suit with a light pattern for the morning’s events, and there were some lovely jewels on display from the women of the family as well. Queen Margrethe wore earrings and a coordinating brooch set with black pearls and diamonds.
Princess Isabella chose gold hoop earrings to compliment her ensemble, which also featured a brightly-patterned floral blouse with fun flower buttons.
Princess Josephine wore a sparkly floral brooch on the lapel of her navy blue jacket.
But it was Crown Princess Mary’s brooch that was the most exciting piece on display during the morning’s festivities.
With diamond earrings, Crown Princess Mary wore a special brooch set with diamonds, pearls, and a large sapphire.
The jewel, which we usually call the Connaught Sapphire Brooch, is a legacy from Prince Christian’s great-great-grandmother, Princess Margaret of Connaught. The British-born princess was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and in 1905, she married the future King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden. Their only daughter was Queen Ingrid of Denmark, who inherited the brooch from her mother after Margaret’s untimely death.
Queen Ingrid passed the brooch on to her elder daughter, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. In 2006, to celebrate Prince Christian’s baptism, Margrethe decided to gift the heirloom brooch to Crown Princess Mary.
Here’s Crown Princess Mary, holding Prince Christian, wearing the brooch at the baby prince’s christening in January 2006.
Crown Princess Mary also wore the brooch for the christening of her twins, Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine, in April 2011. (That’s little Prince Christian standing in front of her.)
Mary often reaches for the sapphire brooch on important family occasions. Last year, she wore the jewel during Queen Margrethe’s Golden Jubilee celebrations.
While discussing the sapphire brooch during her interviews for De Kongelige Juveler, a wonderful 2011 documentary on royal jewels, Mary noted, “Some people learn history through wars or famous people, but jewelry is just as good a possibility to learn history. It shows how the families have married through the generations. And it doesn’t only talk about lineage, but it also relates to personal events in families. For example, we know that this brooch has always been worn for family-related events. Except that now I have it, and I tend to wear it a little bit more generally.”
And speaking of royal jewels and history: Prince Christian also added an important new decoration to his collection on Sunday. His grandmother gave him the Order of the Elephant, Denmark’s highest and most important chivalric decoration, to celebrate his graduation to adulthood. Here’s a look at the insignia he received.
Touchingly, the elephant badge that Prince Christian received belonged to another much-loved member of the family: his late grandfather, Prince Henrik. It’s tradition that the elephant badge is painted with the royal cypher of the monarch who bestows it, so the badge was repainted with Margrethe’s monogram before it was presented to Christian.
You’ll notice that Christian is also wearing the small button-style ribbon of the order on his lapel in this morning’s photographs, just like his father, Crown Prince Frederik.