Jewels on Display at Buckingham Palace

  April 9, 2009 at 6:29 pm by

The summer opening of Buckingham Palace this year includes a special exhibition to mark 60 years of the Commonwealth. Part of the exhibition will include a display of over 100 gifts given to the Queen and Prince Philip from their travels to the Commonwealth countries. Sometimes the Queen receives beautiful jewels as gifts which often have a symbolic reference to the country she is visiting. Two fantastic brooches will form part of the display at the palace.

The Fern leaf brooch (image1) was given to the Queen on Christmas Day 1953 by the women of Auckland. The Queen was visiting New Zealand on part of her six-month long Commonwealth Tour of 1953/4 and she delivered her first Christmas Day message from Auckland (image2). The brooch of diamonds set in platinum is in the shape of a leaf of a Silver Fern which is the national emblem of New Zealand. On subsequent tours to New Zealand, the Queen has chosen to wear the fern brooch. She also is seen wearing the brooch when carrying out engagements in the UK which relate to New Zealand for example in November 2008 promoting tourism to New Zealand image3 or in 2006 at the opening of a war memorial to New Zealand victims image4.

The Wattle Brooch (image5) was also presented during the Commonwealth Tour in 1954 by the Government of Australia and was presented to her by the Prime Minister Mr Menzies whilst the royal couple stayed in Canberra. The brooch consists of 150 yellow and white diamonds in the design of a large wattle spray which is the national flower of Australia and there are also three tea tree blossoms in the centre. The Queen frequently wears this brooch during tours of Australia image6 (arriving in Canberra March 2006) image7 (1970 tour – this whole outfit will be on display in the Palace this summer). The Queen also wore the Wattle brooch at the 50th anniversary service of her coronation in June 2003 image8.

More information on the summer opening of Buckingham Palace and the special Commonwealth exhibition can be found at this website.

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