Jewel of the Day: The Rhodesian Flame Lily Brooch

  July 13, 2012 at 9:11 am by

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Time for another jewellery update! When Queen Elizabeth visited Birmingham and Shropshire yesterday, she was wearing one of her (and my) favourite brooches – the Flame Lily Brooch.

The brooch is one of the oldest in the Queen’s collection; she has had it for 65 years now. In 1947, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret accompanied their parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, on a tour of southern Africa. During the tour, the future Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 21st birthday and was presented with a beautiful diamond and platinum brooch in the form of a flame lily (Gloriosa Superba) from the children of Southern Rhodesia.

To create the brooch, over 42,000 children in Southern Rhodesia were asked to donate part of their pocket money; the result was a stunning creation in the shape of flame lily (Rhodesia’s national flower), containing 301 diamonds.

The brooch entered into history books because it was the first piece of jewellery worn by Queen Elizabeth when she first arrived back in Britain as a Monarch in 1952: the young Queen wore the brooch on her black outfit as she returned from Kenya following the untimely death of her father.

Since then, the brooch has become one of Her Majesty’s favourites; there are few other jewels in her collection, save for the pearl earrings, that have been worn more often than this one. One of its more recent appearances (apart from yesterday) was for Day 5 of the Royal Ascot. If you’d like to read more about brooches worn at this year’s Ascot, have a look at this blog entry.

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4 Responses to Jewel of the Day: The Rhodesian Flame Lily Brooch

  1. Ah, yes. A gift from the very poor to the very rich. Brings a tear to my eye.

  2. Artemisia says:

    Personally, I do not see it that way; it was a poignant gift from a group of children to a young girl who was to become their Queen. The children voluntarily shared some of their pocket money – not a hugely significant dent in their or their parents’ finances – to collect money for the brooch.

    I’m fairly certain they do feel a sort of a connection to Her Majesty every time she wears that brooch, and since it’s one of her favourites, she does it quite often.

  3. Lyn says:

    Well, it is probably somewhere in between however, I do share Fr. James’ sentiment when one realizes the history of Rhodesia. Did the poor black and “colored” (their words; not mine) children have to contribute, too? Oh wait, I’m betting that they didn’t have pocket money – perhaps because they didn’t have pockets.

  4. those children wanted to do this for Princess Elizabeth as she was at the time. Nothing to do with being poor or rich. It shows how much the Queen likes the broach. She deserves it .

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