20 January 2017

Jewelry Additions from the Royal Gift List, 2016

Lists of official gifts given to the Royal Family in 2016 were released yesterday. These lists include everything from living things (such as a horse from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police called Sir John) to food and drink (a nebuchadnezzar of champagne, anyone?), and the givers can be anyone from heads of state to unnamed members of the public. As always, we are on the hunt for the jewels.

The Queen was the year's big gift winner, 2016 having been a big birthday year and all, but what's been released is a little sparse on the jewelry front. She did receive a brooch from the Jockey Club representing the Epsom landscape and racecourse, which makes at least two horse-themed pieces of jewelry received last year.

The Duchess of Cornwall's year included a trip to the Middle East with The Prince of Wales, yielding a watch from The King of Bahrain (Charles got one too) and a necklace from Bahrain's prime minister. The couple's visit to the Western Balkans provided a pair of earrings from the Prime Minister of Croatia, a necklace from the Speaker of the Serbian Parliament, and a brooch from the President of Kosovo.

The Duchess of Cambridge received a set of jewelry from the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia and a necklace from The Queen of Bhutan, which she wore when departing from Bhutan. Both Kate and Camilla (and other members of the family) received gifts listed as jewelry from individuals or members of the public, which I imagine are smaller items; the lists don't include any real detail. Someone has the right idea, though: Princess Charlotte is listed as the recipient of a "toy tiara".

Articles about the gift lists can be found in many places, including this Guardian article and this Telegraph article.

About official gifts: Official gifts are those received during an official engagement or in connection with an official royal role. These gifts are not the private property of the royal recipient. Members of the royal family can use these gifts for their lifetime; on their death, they are passed to the monarch, who will decide if they should become part of the Royal collection or continue to be used by the deceased's successors. The official gift policy was created in 2003 following issues with distribution of gifts; it can be read here.

19 January 2017

Sandringham Women's Institute Meeting

The Queen made her annual visit to a meeting of the Sandringham Women's Institute, of which she is Honorary President.

Back in the brights, as she should be, and with an interesting brooch selection too. In other news, the palace published gift lists today. We'll be analyzing those (as we always do) soon.

15 January 2017

Church in Norfolk

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh attended church at Flitcham, Norfolk, near the Sandringham estate.
For more: Telegraph article.

Regal in purple and no brooch in sight. (She's worn brooches with this coat before, but they're really not needed with the lapel and those buttons.) Also of note: accompanying the royal party to church today were David and Serena Armstrong-Jones, the new Earl and Countess of Snowdon. They are regular Sandringham visitors, and it's nice to see them spending some time with The Queen after Lord Snowdon's death.

No Brooch

08 January 2017

Church at Sandringham

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh attended church at Sandringham, Norfolk. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were also present.

She's back! Phew. I mean, raise your hand if you're not at least a little bit relieved to see Her Maj out and about for the first time since mid-December. (*Raises hand*) Well, she's back, and she's kicking off a new year with last year's favorite brooch.

01 January 2017

Canadian Confederation Anniversary Message

I was so hoping that we'd kick off the new year with an appearance by The Queen at Sandringham for church, but it was not to be; still suffering from her cold, she stayed home. (Just an abundance of caution and she's doing better, they say.) We do, however, have a new message from her:

The Queen sent a message of congratulations to the people of Canada on the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
Royal Family video screencap
Obviously recorded at the same time as her Christmas broadcast, Her Maj made sure to swap out brooches for the always appropriate Maple Leaf Brooch. It's nice to see her wear this one again; we haven't seen it on her since 2012.

29 December 2016

2016: The Year in The Queen's Jewels

For the fifth year in a row, it's time to round up The Queen's year in jewels: the tiaras, the new stuff, my slightly nerdy tally of which brooches were worn the most, and more. (Previously: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012.) This has been an interesting year for jewel watching, but it was perhaps a year more interesting for what wasn't seen. Let us review:

The Most Popular Brooches 
The Queen wore more than 40 different brooches in her public appearances this year. That seems like a lot, but it's actually a bit of a reduction; last year, that number topped 60. (Standard disclaimer: This is my tally of appearances of brooches worn in public, as documented on this blog. Considering those appearances for which we could not agree on a brooch identification or could not see a brooch, and considering of course the many private events of the year, it is impossible to be comprehensive.)
  1. Queen Victoria's Bow Brooch
  2. Cullinan V Brooch 
  3. Pearl Trefoil Brooch tied with Prince Albert's Sapphire Brooch
  4. Jardine Star Brooch tied with Small Pink and Diamond Brooch
  5. Flower Basket Brooch tied with Frosted Sunflower Brooch tied with Kent Amethyst Brooch tied with Pearl Triangle Brooch tied with Singapore Peranakan Diamond Jubilee Brooch tied with Round Cambridge Emerald Brooch tied with Queen Victoria's 11 Pearl Brooch
What's missing here? The Cambridge Pearl Pendant and the Aquamarine Clips didn't make the list; the Frosted Sunflower and the Flower Basket are often higher in the ranks. Surprising shake ups from the usual brooches that top the pile.

The New and "New" Brooches 
This year also saw a slight reduction in new and new-to-her brooches debuted by The Queen. Just one new-to-her brooch emerged from The Queen Mother's collection, the Curved Aquamarine Clip Brooches. The delicate Cartier Diamond Rose Clip Brooch came on the scene at Ascot, and the Diamond and Pearl Navette Brooch might just have been a 90th birthday gift (at least, Her Maj surprised by wearing it three times already, a lot for a new brooch). She did receive at least one brooch for her big birthday: the Racing Post 90th Birthday Brooch, which has not been worn in public.

The Biggest Brooch Appearance
The Queen sometimes marks special occasions with brooches that are a little outside of the everyday selections, something she did in grand fashion for her 90th birthday service in June. The Richmond Brooch, larger than her normal daytime selections, was a surprise and a treat for this special occasion.

The Tiara Appearances
Following the cancellation of a March state visit from the King and Queen of Spain, we had to wait until May to see some sparkly headgear (the usual suspects: the Imperial State Crown and the George IV State Diadem) at the State Opening of Parliament. She surprised us in November, continuing 2015's revival of the colored gems by sporting her George VI and Modern Sapphire Suite to the Colombian state banquet. And then - because really, why not? - she wore the same thing for December's Diplomatic Reception.
Once again, perhaps the most interesting thing here is what isn't here: no sightings of the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara. Or, for that matter, any of the other diamond and pearl options (beyond the State Diadem and it's very specific use). The Girls will always be at the top of my favorite tiaras list, but I am loving the variety.

My Favorite Loan of 2016
The continued opening of Her Majesty's jewel vault to other ladies in the family is a continued delight. The Countess of Wessex debuting The Queen's Diamond and Gold Cuff gems in December is my highlight - not because of the jewels themselves, but because I love the possibility here. More jewelry scarcely worn by Her Maj being dusted off and given new life on a new generation of family members would be the best surprise and my biggest wish for 2017.

What was your favorite sparkly moment in The Queen's year?
Photos: Royal Collection/Queen Elizabeth II/Royal Family/Racing Post/Hancock's/Getty Images/BBC/SkyNews

27 December 2016

2016: The Duchess of Cornwall's Year in Tiaras

The Duchess of Cornwall certainly has her favorites. Even more so than The Queen does, really. If you needed any proof of that, well, 2016's tiara appearances are here to present their evidence:

Roger Harris/House of Lords 2016/via CC BY-NC 2.0
Take the Greville Tiara, pair it with the Four Strand Pearl Choker with Large Diamond Clasp, add in some earrings (these are the Everyday Pearl Pendants) and a brooch to anchor the Royal Victorian Order sash (the oval Art Deco diamond brooch here), pair it with this white ensemble, and you're set. This is the same outfit she wore to this event in 2015.

British Monarchy screencap
This time, that combo was paired with the earrings from the Pear Drop Diamond Demi-Parure, just for a little variety. Everything else is the same.

....and, ditto. Same outfit, same everything. The only switch up here is the diamond bow brooch that's anchoring her sash, although that's basically on the back and not terribly visible.

I don't think I've ever seen anyone have this many identical tiara appearances in a row. And if you check our round up of her tiara events from 2015, you'll see that she also favored this choker + tiara + white outfit combo last year. The outfit is great on her and this tiara fits her like a dream, but these events are all starting to blend together. Maybe just a bit of color in 2017? Pretty please?