Camilla’s Jewellery: Queen Mary’s diamond thistle brooch

Another piece owned by Queen Mary that features in The Queen's jewellery collection

Since her husband’s accession to the throne in September 2022, Camilla has worn a number of pieces that were once part of Queen Mary’s collection, including Mary’s turquoise and diamond brooch.

Royal watchers have seen Queen Camilla also wear Queen Mary’s diamond thistle brooch – the first time Camilla wore this brooch was for the Garden Party during Holyrood Week 2024.

Queen Camilla at the Sovereign’s Garden Party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, on the first day of Royal Week in Scotland. She wore Queen Mary’s thistle brooch

The brooch takes the form of the floral emblem of Scotland – a thistle – which has been the national emblem of the country since author Sir Walter Scott chose it for the visit of George IV in 1822. Following the Jacobite rebellions and their subsequent defeat, no Monarch had set foot north of the border until George IV.

The long flower is set with diamonds in platinum, and features thorny leaves on either side.

A close up of Queen Mary’s diamond and thistle brooch

It has been reported that the brooch was presented to Queen Mary by Mr J Train on 12th July 1927, on behalf of the builders of Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, which her husband, George V, had opened that day.

Mary previously liked to wear the brooch in her hats, as well as on her coat. We can see Mary wearing the brooch in her hat in this photograph from 1932, which shows a young Princess Elizabeth sitting next to her and the King as they head back to Balmoral Castle following the Sunday Service at Crathie Kirk.

Embed from Getty Images

Following Mary’s death in 1953, the brooch was passed down to Elizabeth II, as were many of her jewels. However, Elizabeth didn’t publicly wear the brooch until 2010, when she was photographed by Shaun Murawski at the Palace of HolyroodHouse for a new portrait for the Scottish Parliament.

Elizabeth for the Diamond Jubilee

Elizabeth II wore the brooch on a number of occasions since 2010, typically when conducting engagements with a Scottish link to them.

In September 2017, she wore the brooch for the official opening of the Queensferry Crossing bridge over the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh. In June 2019, the late Queen wore the brooch to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Scottish Parliament, as well as at the Scottish Opening of Parliament in 2021.

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