Queen Elizabeth’s use of brooches as more than just an accessory

The late Queen used her own jewelry, specifically brooches, to make symbolic statements to the public.

If you’ve been following the coverage of the late Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, you’ve probably seen the headlines discussing the use of jewelry at this event as more than an accessory. From the Bahrain pearl drop earrings Kate Middleton wore that were once a staple of both the late Queen’s and late Princess Diana’s wardrobe, to the horseshoe brooch worn by little Charlotte, Princess of Wales to symbolize Elizabeth’s love of horses.

This is not the first time the symbolism of royal jewelry has made headlines. The late Queen herself was known for using her vast collection of jewels to make subtle statements to the public. Most notable was her many uses of the brooch.

Royal brooches can be custom made, received as a gift from other political actors, inherited or sometimes created from existing royal jewelry that are reworked into a brooch. Who the Queen received the brooch from, when it has been worn and why it was given to her are essential parts of understanding what is being said when she wears them.

While there are many examples of how the queen has used her brooches, there are three examples that best exemplify this practice.

Nizam of Hyderabad Brooch

The Queen adorned this brooch during her first appearance following her late husband Prince Phillip’s funeral. It was a part of a tiara gifted to her on her wedding day in 1947. On the official gift record from her wedding, the tiara is listed to cost £5,000, but is worth far more now. The tiara was set with 1,033 brilliants, 84 baton diamonds and 17 diamond beads.
She wore the stunning floral diamond piece in honor of Philip and their 74 year marriage.

The Rose Centenary Brooch

Aptly named, the rose centenary brooch is a rose brooch surrounded by 100 diamonds. The painted rose in the center is a Queen Elizabeth Grandiflora Rose, a specially bred variety that’s creation was to mark the Queen’s coronation in 1953.
The brooch was custom made in honor of the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday in 2000 and was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth. Its most recent appearance was when Elizabeth wore it at the first Christmas address following her mother’s passing.

Trump’s visit with the Queen in 2018

As the Queen primarily served as a representation of England and the commonwealth, very rarely does she make clear political statements. That is what makes this example all the more interesting.
During Trump’s time at Buckingham Palace, Her Majesty wore three brooches. The first is colloquially known as “The American State Visit Brooch.” It was a gift from the former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama. The subtle floral brooch of moss agate, gold and diamonds looked unsuspecting, but seemingly was a nod towards Trump’s predecessors who he openly did not support. The second brooch was the Sapphire Jubilee Snowflake Brooch, a gift from Canada to commemorate Elizabeth’s 65th year as Queen. It’s a stunning brooch of diamonds and pale blue sapphires that make a snowflake design. At the time Trump had been outspoken about his negative feelings toward Canada and lack of want to work with them. The Queen not only demonstrated her ties to Canada in her choice of this accessory, she represented their many years of alliance. Lastly, The Queen wore the Queen Mother Palm Leaf Brooch. The brooch is set with diamonds and configured so it resembles a paisley design. This piece was worn by The Queen Mother when she attended her husband’s funeral. Historically, the brooch is worn to events of some somberness.

There is still speculation on whether the accessories the Queen wore truly meant as much as we would like to believe. While there is no way to know for sure, the decades long history of this kind of correlation and multitudes of examples at least prove that the chances are it’s not simply coincidence.

Post Author: Aurora Stewart