30 June 2016

Somme Centenary Vigil

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh attended an Evening Vigil at Westminster Abbey to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme. The battle was one of the bloodiest in World War I, resulting in over one million casualties.
Sergeant Ross Tilly/DDC/MOD Crown Copyright
For more: BBC video, BBC article.

I suspect that it is not a coincidence that The Queen chose to wear a brooch from Queen Mary on this day, when King George V was on the throne during World War I. Her brooches are so obviously not the focus of remembrance events like these, but the way she occasionally uses them to add subtle significance can be quite thoughtful. (The Cullinan V was also worn last year to commemorate VE and VJ Day anniversaries; the outfit was first seen when visiting the Bergen-Belsen memorial in Germany.)

Andrew Linnett/MOD Crown Copyright

Three Strand Pearl Necklace

BBC screencap
The Royal Family will be out in force to commemorate the Somme centenary. The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will be in France on Friday, where The Duchess will lay a wreath at the grave of her great-uncle, Captain Harry Cubitt, who died during the battle.

BBC screencap
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are also in France. They attended a vigil at the Thiepval Memorial on Thursday and will attend more events on Friday. Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence was there as well, due to his involvement with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The Duke of York, The Countess of Wessex, The Princess Royal, and The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester will also participate in events surrounding the anniversary.

Video: Some background on the Battle of the Somme

28 June 2016

Visit to Northern Ireland, Day 2

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visited the Giant's Causeway, unveiled a statue to Victoria Cross recipient Robert Quigg in Bushmills, attended a reception at Portrush Golf Club, took a steam train ride, and officially opened a new train station at Bellarena on the last day of their visit to Northern Ireland.

Two days and two brooches, both on their second appearances! This is a much clearer look at the Triple Diamond Bar Brooch than we got at its first appearance in 2014, and you can really see just how large these diamonds are. A simple design, but a staggering carat weight.

Northern Ireland Office

27 June 2016

Visit to Northern Ireland, Day 1

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh arrived at Hillsborough Castle at the start of their visit to Northern Ireland. The Queen received Northern Ireland's First Minister, Arlene Foster, and Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, for private audiences.
Northern Ireland Office/Crown Copyright
This is a good start, brooch-wise. It's just the second time we've seen the Diamond Art Deco Double Clip Brooch, though it is a bit harder to spot today than it was at its debut last year. I'm always up for a nice diamond clip brooch.

Northern Ireland Office/Crown Copyright
Both ministers kept The Queen's confidence regarding the topics discussed during their audiences. At least Her Maj's sense of humor is still going strong: Martin McGuinness asked how she was, to which she responded, "Well, I'm still alive, anyway."

(I did laugh when they both mentioned that there are a lot of things going on right now - and just as everyone starts holding their breath in anticipation of even the vaguest of royal Brexit quotes, HM pivots right into her two recent birthdays. There will be no addressing of the elephant in the room while the cameras are rolling, thankyouverymuch.)

25 June 2016

The Wedding of Alexandra Knatchbull and Thomas Hooper

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh attended the wedding of The Hon. Alexandra Knatchbull and Mr. Thomas Hooper at Romsey Abbey, Romsey, Hampshire.

The "society wedding of the year" belongs to Alexandra Knatchbull, great-granddaughter of the late Earl Mountbatten. The ties of family and friendship run deep between her family and the royals, as demonstrated by a guest list including The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Princess Royal, Princess Alexandra of Kent, Queen Sofia of Spain, King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, and Jordan's Prince Hassan bin Talal and Princess Sarvath El Hassan.

The Prince of Wales walked the bride down the aisle, and she wore the Mountbatten Star Tiara. The Queen wore one of her favorite brooches of late, Singapore Peranakan Diamond Jubilee Brooch. 

24 June 2016

Audiences at Buckingham Palace

The Queen held audiences at Buckingham Palace.

On most Fridays, you'll find Her Maj already cozied up at Windsor Castle for the weekend. The day after the EU referendum is, uh, not most Fridays, to put it very very lightly. She had a few audiences lined up at Buckingham Palace (including presenting the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award to choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne, pictured above); today's audience with David Cameron, however, remained private.

I can't help but think The Queen's upcoming engagements just got a bit more interesting: Monday will see her visit Northern Ireland, and she'll address the Scottish Parliament on July 2. After that, she'll have her annual Holyrood Week of Scottish engagements.

23 June 2016

Queen's Young Leaders Awards

The Queen presented awards and hosted a reception for the Queen's Young Leaders at Buckingham Palace, with other members of the Royal Family present. She also held audiences and an investiture today.

A busy day for HM, but she tackled it in the best possible way: with both Prince Harry and the Cullinan V at her side.


22 June 2016

Visit to Liverpool

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visited Liverpool, where they officially opened the new Exhibition Centre and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, and attended a reception at the town hall.

Seems like HM had a jolly away day in Liverpool today, where a huge crowd greeted her when she appeared on the town hall balcony. She was certainly looking quite jolly in her peach coat and floral dress by Stewart Parvin and matching Rachel Trevor Morgan hat, don't you think?


(Her beloved Pearl Trefoil brooch was transferred onto the dress for the reception, of course!)

21 June 2016

A Tweet from The Queen

The Queen has tweeted her thanks for the well wishes on her 90th birthday, from the official Twitter account of the Royal Family.
And there's a picture, too! It's almost as though they think we won't believe it was really her... (True.)


No Brooch

20 June 2016

Royal Windsor Cup

June 19: The Queen presented prizes for the Bentley Motors Royal Windsor Cup Final, at Guards Polo Club.

See a gallery with more views here...just a few days after debuting a new Cartier floral brooch, HM brings back an old one, the larger Nizam of Hyderabad Rose Brooch.

18 June 2016

Royal Ascot, Day 5

The Queen honored Ascot Races with her presence today.

Royal Ascot ends how it began: with one of The Queen's favorite brooches.

It ends on a high note for The Queen, too: after needing to put down one of her horses following an accident earlier in the week, she had a winner today! Her horse Dartmouth won the Hardwicke Stakes.

Her outfit today is a repeat from her arrival in Germany last year, with a hat by Angela Kelly and a coat and dress by Peter Enrione. Enrione, 74 and known to The Queen as "Mr. Peter", has been Her Maj's tailor since the 1980s and still works up her outfits on his pre-war sewing machine.
Three Strand Pearl Necklace

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall are really into Royal Ascot this year - which, obviously, I love - and they were present to watch another of their horses race today. This is really one of the best hats in Camilla's collection, don't you think? Very classic, very sharp.

And very many bonus points to her for managing to squeeze in some Ascot brooch fun of her own !

Diamond Moth Brooch
Four Strand Pearl Choker with Large Diamond Clasp
Everyday Pearl Pendant Earrings

That's a wrap for Royal Ascot 2016! Let's round this brooch festival up (you can click here to scroll through the posts for all five days):

From an old favorite...

To something new...

Something blue...

Something "borrowed"...

And back again.

From a brooch perspective: We're halfway through the year and we haven't had that many brooch surprises, so I'm doubly glad that Ascot gave us something new. The Cartier Diamond Rose Clip Brooch is one of the prettiest brooches she's debuted in recent years, and it will stand as my highlight from Ascot 2016.

From an outfit perspective: We're not going to forget that orange and blue number anytime soon, are we?! I have to give it to Angela Kelly on Day 2 also, I like that budding branch embellishment more every time I look at it.

What are your highlights from this year?

Photos: More4 screencaps and via Getty Images as indicated

17 June 2016

Royal Ascot, Day 4

The Queen honored Ascot Races with her presence today.

Those of you that had the Centenary Rose Brooch in our Ascot Brooch Stakes, come on down! The G. Collins & Sons Brooch commissioned by The Queen for her mother's 100th birthday was nicely set off by Her Maj's coral Angela Kelly outfit and feathery comb over hat. We haven't seen it in use since 2013, so that puts a check in the reappearance category on my Ascot wish list - even if it wasn't exactly the gem I was hoping would fulfill that spot. (Hits a little too far on the twee side for me, I'm afraid.)

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall returned to Ascot on Day 4, which is a treat; Days 1 and 2 are often the extent of their attendance. They actually had their first runner at Ascot today, but the horse didn't place. 
Leave it to Camilla to pull off three different pearl chokers in a week. This one has been her overwhelming favorite this year. 

16 June 2016

Royal Ascot, Day 3

The Queen honored Ascot Races with her presence today.
@Ascot screencap

Hmm...do we think someone had a little insider's hunch on the winner of today's big Gold Cup race? That's one vibrant orange and blue Angela Kelly outfit for The Queen today.

Given that the outfit already includes a greater level of contrast than she usually goes for, I'm not surprised to see her stick with a brooch that's simple in design. I'm just glad she made that simple design the scrumptious Albert Sapphire.

Prince Albert's Sapphire Brooch
Three Strand Pearl Necklace

Highlights from the rest of today's fashions will be featured on the other blog tomorrow!

15 June 2016

The Cartier Diamond Rose Clip Brooch

The Queen wearing the Cartier Diamond Rose Clip Brooch
For Day 2 of Royal Ascot 2016, The Queen debuted a new brooch! It was described by the palace as a "Cartier diamond flower clip." The jewel features a large round diamond at its center, surrounded by six slightly smaller round diamonds and set inside a group of curving petals. It is a match to this brooch:
Described as a pavé-set diamond rose clip brooch by Cartier London, circa 1935, the pictured brooch was previously offered for sale at Hancock's London.

I do not believe this has been seen on any previous royal woman, so we could be looking at a new addition to the collection as well as a public debut for The Queen; it is worth noting, though, that King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were collecting many pieces from Cartier in that timeframe. It's an absolutely lovely design, and certainly seems suited to The Queen's taste. She has many other floral brooches, of course, and also plenty of Cartier designs, such as the Nizam of Hyderabad Rose Brooches and the Williamson Diamond Brooch.

15 June 2016: Royal Ascot, Day 2

Royal Ascot, Day 2

The Queen honored Ascot Races with her presence today.

Okay, Your Maj, point taken: yesterday's somewhat disappointing brooch selection was just clearing the way for something NEW today! A "Cartier diamond flower clip," per the palace, worn with a cyclamen pink Stewart Parvin coat and an Angela Kelly  hat. More in the brooch link below.

Three Strand Pearl Necklace

The Duchess of Cornwall clearly had to get her pink outfit out of the way yesterday.
 With her repeated Christian Dior Couture coat (I think), she stuck to her usual earrings and one of her usual chokers.

Four Strand Pearl Choker with Small Diamond Clasp
Everyday Pearl Pendant Earrings

The Duchess of Cambridge and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark at Day 2 are already up at the other blog, with more fashions from the second day to come over there on Friday!

Photos: Channel4 screencaps

14 June 2016

Royal Ascot, Day 1

The Queen honored Ascot Races with her presence today.
For more: Zimbio gallery.

So...it's Rachel Trevor Morgan on hat duty and Stewart Parvin on outfit duty today...and the Frosted Sunflower on brooch duty. The Frosted Sunflower, on Day 1 of Ascot. Am I being punished for something?

Three Strand Pearl Necklace

Thank the Vault Gods for Camilla, anyway.

The Duchess of Cornwall can heal all wounds with her pink topaz super powers. She's pretty in pink today, with her Philip Treacy hat and Bruce Oldfield coat (look how far up her arm the buttons go, interesting detail). Even The Prince of Wales has added a shot of pink to his ensemble. Love.

Five Strand Pearl Choker with Pink Topaz Clasp
Everyday Pearl Pendant Earrings

P.S.: Stay tuned to the other blog for fashion highlights from the rest of the Ascot guests.

13 June 2016

The Racing Post 90th Birthday Brooch

I suspect a few brooches will be among the 90th birthday presents collected by The Queen this year, but this one has a special personal touch.
The Racing Post 90th Birthday Brooch
The Racing Post has commissioned a special birthday brooch for Her Majesty, who is one of their regular readers. Per the RP:
The one-of-a-kind brooch is an 18ct white gold and diamond-mounted galloping racehorse, ridden by an 18ct yellow gold enamelled jockey in Her Majesty's racing colours.
Hand-made by prestigious Birmingham-based jewellery manufacturers Alabaster & Wilson Ltd, the 19th century-inspired design is taken from a 1975 portrait of Fred Archer, jockey to Prince Edward of Wales (later King Edward VII).
Equestrian jewelry is one specialty of Alabaster & Wilson Ltd., who note on their website that "many pieces have been commissioned for presentation to members of Royal Families around the world." Their expertise certainly shows in the fine detail of this piece, which includes 35 diamonds, 0.52 carats in weight.
Animal figures are not a category of brooch that The Queen wears very often. She does have other equestrian-related brooches, such as the as-yet-unworn Newhaven Horse Brooch and the FEI Lifetime Achievement Award Brooch. It's always surprised me, though, that she doesn't have a specific horse brooch that she wears to the races (The Princess Royal does, a gold horse brooch regularly seen). Perhaps a jockey in her very own racing colors is just what she needs.

Photos: Racing Post

Garter Day

The Queen gave a Luncheon Party for the Companions for the Most Noble Order of the Garter. A Service was held in St. George's Chapel this afternoon.

Well, that facial expression pretty much says it all. The procession of stately Garter Knights and Ladies in all their plumed finery that I look forward to each year was nixed due to rain in Windsor. The procession and the carriages were swapped for cars and hardly a glimpse at much else.

I also look forward to Garter Day for some serious earring power from The Queen and, technically, she delivers here with the Coronation Earrings. But once again I have disappointed myself by getting my hopes up for sapphires or rubies (since we see so many white jewels all the rest of the time, you know?). Anyway, the Coronation Earrings were last seen at the Garter Service in 2004, by my flashback count.

The Garter spouses picked up some of the slack in the absence of a fancy procession of Garter robes. I would have appreciated a brooch on The Duchess of Cornwall (because apparently I'm in the mood to gripe), but the Anna Valentine coat she wore to the Cambridge wedding in 2011 is gorgeous as ever. She wore her Four Strand Pearl Choker with Small Diamond Clasp and her Everyday Pearl Pendant Earrings
I loved The Countess of Wessex's Alexander McQueen floral dress when she wore it at the Chelsea Flower Show, and I love it here too. Many said they wished for more of a shrug-style jacket last time around, and she is very promptly modeling that look for you. (I sort of prefer the slightly longer jacket? Basically these little shrugs always look to me like someone got trapped while pulling off a shirt.) 

Photos: @gabeyslave
The Duchess of Gloucester was there and bejeweled as always - she appears to be repeating the look she just wore for the National Service of Thanksgiving over the weekend

And then there was Kate! Not only was she a much-needed bright spot on a gray day with her repeated red Catherine Walker coat and red Lock & Co. hat, she was also the surprise winner in the jewel category. 
These jewels are in her personal collection, so they aren't tracked on this blog, but they're very much worth noting: the diamond bracelet she received as a wedding present (assumed by many to have been a gift from Charles), her Mappin & Webb Empress pendant necklace, and - most notable of all - the return of her bespoke diamond wedding earrings from Robinson & Pelham. This is the first time we've seen these earrings in public since her wedding day. Oh, I reallllly like these used as day earrings. More of that, please!

12 June 2016

The Patron's Lunch

The Queen, accompanied by other members of the Royal Family, attended the Patron's Lunch celebration of her 90th birthday on The Mall.
 Today's color selection might not have been quite as vivid as yesterday's, but The Queen was still a bright spot on a rainy day in a cerise Karl Ludwig coat and floral dress with a matching Angela Kelly hat.

@RoyalFamily video
 Queen Victoria's Bow Brooch was once again the selection of the day for the Patron's Lunch event itself, but she did have a sneaky bonus brooch surprise for those who looked very closely:

Peeking out onto The Mall from a Buckingham Palace window

Can you spot it? It's Queen Mary's Bar Brooch, a pearl and diamond number very rarely seen (perhaps not since the 1980s at this point). You can read all about it in my last post.

Engagement and Wedding Rings 

 All royal hands on deck! That seems to be the motto this week. (And, good, keep it coming.) The event was packed with family members, greeting the crowds and watching the parade.

With The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall dispatched to cover the local celebrations elsewhere, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry led the rest of the family. Kate continued to solidify my feelings that she should stick to simple but bold modern looks with this color blocked Roksanda dress. Suits her so well and easy to see in the crowd, so win/win.

Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie took the striped approach to the crowd visibility challenge. Honestly? Princess Eugenie is killing it lately. This Whistles dress is sooooo good. I can't wait to see what these two bring for Ascot. (Beatrice's skirt is from Saloni, by the way.)

In comparison, The Countess of Wessex's Alaïa outfit could have used a little something extra. (Although any use of a designer that gets me in the mood to quote Clueless has to be worth some bonus points.)

Video: The Queen's speech
Feeling a little birthday'd out by all these recent events? Her Maj feels you. She ended her brief speech with this: "How I will feel if people are still singing Happy Birthday in December, remains to be seen."

But get your second wind, because there's much left to come. Garter Day is tomorrow, followed by five glorious days of Ascot!

Queen Mary's Bar Brooch

Queen Mary's Bar Brooch
A round pearl is at the center of this interesting brooch, crossed by a waving diamond bar with a three-diamond clover at either end. The brooch is identified and named in Leslie Field's The Queen's Jewels, where it is traced back to Queen Mary as early as 1931.
Queen Mary wears the brooch on her bodice, with Princess Elizabeth
The brooch apparently passed to The Queen along with the rest of Queen Mary's remaining jewels after her death in 1953, but it wasn't used again until the 1980s, when it made a couple of appearances at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. Those appearances have remained the main sightings of the brooch on The Queen.
Windsor Horse Show, 1988
However, Queen Mary's Bar Brooch made a surprise reappearance as The Queen peeked out a Buckingham Palace window to check out the scene of the Patron's Lunch organized on The Mall for her 90th birthday. Perhaps its appearances remain inside the palace, or underneath coats adorned with other brooches.

12 June 2016: The Patron's Lunch

11 June 2016

Trooping the Colour (Updated)

Her Majesty, accompanied by members of the Royal Family, was present at The Queen's Birthday Parade on Horse Guards Parade at which The Queen's Colour of the No. 7 Company Coldstream Guards was trooped.

There's standing out on a parade ground, and then there's STANDING OUT ON A PARADE GROUND. It's Her Maj's birthday, she can be radioactive if she wants to!

© MOD Crown copyright 2016/POA(Phot) Owen Cooban
To go along with this vibrant Stewart Parvin coat and Rachel Trevor-Morgan hat, The Queen chose (as she always does these days) the Brigade of Guards Badge. The badge combines the symbols of the Grenadier Guards, the Coldstream Guards, the Welsh Guards, the Irish Guards, and the Scots Guards, and you can read more at the link below.

Three Strand Pearl Necklace

Following along in the first carriage were The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry.
© MOD Crown copyright 2016/POA(Phot) Owen Cooban
 The Duchess of Cambridge followed up on yesterday's use of the hat she wore to Princess Charlotte's christening by using the Alexander McQueen coat from that christening today. She wore a Philip Treacy hat - an interesting choice, she's certainly worn him in the past but not so much during her marriage. The hair, clearly, is to die for.

© MOD Crown copyright 2016/Sgt Rupert Frere
The Duchess of Cornwall's jewelry choices have been pretty common this year - her pearl Prince of Wales Feathers brooch again, and the larger of her two diamond clasp pearl chokers - but an understated selection may have been for the best with this very, uh, active hat.

Pearl and Diamond Prince of Wales Feathers Brooch
Four Strand Pearl Choker with Large Diamond Clasp
Everyday Pearl Earrings

In another carriage, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie rode with The Duke of York and The Duke of Kent (Colonel of the Scots Guards, but no longer riding in the parade). Princess Beatrice's repeated orange peel hat would have been a bright point at nearly any other time, but on this day she was soundly outdone by her grandmother.

© MOD Crown copyright 2016/POA(Phot) Owen Cooban
At the end of the procession, the whole Wessex family shared a carriage: The Earl and Countess with Lady Louise and Viscount Severn, making his carriage procession debut. Sophie sort of looks like she backed into a floral arrangement, but a lovely one at that. And Lady Louise is giving Kate some competition in the elaborate hair stakes! You know I'm all for that.

© MOD Crown copyright 2016/Sgt Rupert Frere
Last from the procession but never least, The Queen's royal escort on horse: The Prince of Wales (Colonel of the Welsh Guards), The Duke of Cambridge (Irish Guards), and The Princess Royal (Blues and Royals). Looking smart, as though it could be any other way.

UPDATE: The balcony was positively overflowing with royals in this big birthday year. Let's see what we've got here...

If you've never watched the Trooping (in person or via broadcast), there are two separate balcony appearances: one when assembled family members watch The Queen arrive back at Buckingham Palace, and a second with The Queen and the Royal Colonels to watch the flypast. (Just in case you wondered why people seem to swap places, going from photos alone.)

THAT GREEN. I'm sorry, it needed to be said again.

Princess Charlotte was the star of the show in her balcony debut, and Prince George made his second appearance. He wore an old outfit of his father's the first time around, and so it was again: this is the outfit Prince William wore to Prince Harry's christening.

Happily - and unusually - The Princess Royal's children were up on the balcony this year! This is no doubt due to Peter Phillips' involvement in the Patron's Lunch tomorrow; he was interviewed during the BBC's broadcast (and just slipped back to the balcony at the end, you can see him behind The Duke of Edinburgh). I could not love Autumn Phillips' spectacular shade of blue more.

The balcony was flush with the Kent branch of the family - nice to see Lady Helen Taylor and daughters, she wasn't much featured at yesterday's service - but out of them all, I find the most appreciation for Prince Michael and his sharp lapel trim.

I'm very interested in The Duchess of Gloucester in a not-beanie hat (far left). Next to her, the orange and teal combination sported by her daughter-in-law, The Countess of Ulster, is a welcome shot of color on this side of the balcony.

That's not everybody, so here's the full shot:

Photos: BBC screencaps unless otherwise noted