The Queen Consort’s Unusual—and Deeply Personal—Choice of Jewelry for Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral

While King Charles III walked behind the coffin of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, alongside his siblings and his sons at her state funeral, Camilla, the Queen Consort, arrived by car with the Princess of Wales. 

The two veiled royals, swathed in black as a mark of respect for the late monarch, each chose symbolic jewelry with which to pay tribute to the powerful woman who reigned for 70 years. But while Kate Middleton borrowed pearls from Her Majesty’s collection, Camilla chose a more intriguing piece from the family’s archive: the Hesse Diamond Jubilee Brooch.

King Charles III and the Queen Consort at the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey. 

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The heart-shaped pin—featuring the number 60 in Slavonic numerals wrought in diamonds, surrounded by a cabochon sapphire at the top and two large sapphire drops at the bottom—was a gift to Queen Victoria from her grandchildren who were descendants of the late Princess Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine. In 1897, the exquisite piece was displayed at the Imperial Institute in London, alongside Queen Victoria’s other Diamond Jubilee gifts, and valued at £20,000 (over $22,000 US). 

The Hesse Diamond Jubilee Brooch was not sighted again until Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall joined the royal family in 2005. She pinned it to the lapels of her coats on state visits to Philadelphia in 2007, Japan in 2008, and Canada in 2009. But the most fitting moment, considering its symbolism, was during Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, when Charles and Camilla toured Scandinavia.

A closer look at the Hesse Diamond Jubilee Brooch.

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