Monday, July 12, 2010

Royal Focus: The Queen's flame lily brooch

Jun. 05, 2010 - Epsom, Surrey, United Kingdom - epa02188305 Queen Elizabeth II of the UK arrives during the Investec Derby meeting at Epsom racecourse, Surrey, southern England, on 05 June 2010. The Epsom Derby is one of the five British Classic Races. It goes without saying that The Queen has one of the most remarkable collection of jewels in the world. Many of the brooches have a history behind them, such as the Flame lily brooch she wears in this photo.

The Flame lily brooch was amongst the gifts that The Queen, as Princess Elizabeth, received for her twenty-first birthday during her tour of Southern Africa in 1947. Set with three hundred diamonds, the platinum 'Flame lily' brooch was a gift from forty-two thousand Southern Rhodesian school children, who had each donated a week's pocket money.

The shape of the brooch was appropriate, as the flame lily was the national emblem of Rhodesia. In order to make a perfect replica of the lily, which varies in color, a flower had to be specially flown to South Africa where an artist worked against time to complete the reference drawings before it wilted.

It was presented to her during the royal tour at Government House. The next day the Princess wore the brooch on her left shoulder, a compliment that was appreciated by all of those involved in making it. During Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh's trip to Kenya in 1952, her father King George VI died. When the new Queen returned from South Africa, she wore the brooch pinned to the lapel of her black coat.

© Marilyn Braun 2010

3 comments:

Cheryl Anderson Brown said...

Thanks for such a great story!

Andrew Jeremy Gargan said...

This brooch was made by my Grandfather Len Bell. I have always been interested to learn more about it and actually see a decent picture of it. The family has a copy of the drawing from which he worked still I believe.

Marilyn Braun said...

Hi Andrew,

It is a beautiful piece and your family must be very proud to have been involved in making it.

You can learn more about this piece, along with seeing some better photographs of it, in these books:

Queen's Jewels by Leslie Field

The Royal Jewels by Suzy Menkes