Queen’s brooches: Australian hibiscus represents relationship with both nation and nature

Queen’s brooches: Australian hibiscus represents relationship with both nation and nature

07/06/2021

HMS Queen Elizabeth displays 'global Britain' says Moorhouse

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The Queen is rarely seen without a brooch, often pairing one of her favourite jewels with a brightly coloured outfit. Some of Elizabeth’s brooches represent Britain’s close relationship with another country, while others symbolise the natural world. The Australian hibiscus brooch does both.

Her Majesty not only has a vast brooch collection, but it is also one of the most impressive selections in the world.

It is thought that the monarch has up to around 100 brooches, with special ones on regular rotation.

Charlotte White, Head of Design at 77 Diamonds, Europe’s largest online jeweller, commented on the Queen’s much-loved jewels.

She said: “The Queen’s spectacular and extensive collection of brooches spans world-record breaking, historical and sentimental pieces.

“There are several priceless brooches owned by the Queen that are steeped in history and you could say these jewels attest to the sheer wealth and power of the British monarchy.”

Some of Her Majesty’s brooches date back to before she was born, while others were given as gifts to the Queen in recent years.

A jewel from the former category is the Australian hibiscus brooch.

Featuring diamonds and rubies in the shape of two hibiscus flowers, the brooch was given to the Queen Mother by the people of Australia in 1958.

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The hibiscus is significant to Australians because the country is the native home of around 40 species of the flower.

Although it is not the nation’s national flower, it is associated with the flora and fauna that lives and grows on the island.

The brooch, therefore, represents Britain’s special relationship with one of its Commonwealth members.

It was in fact made especially for the Queen Mother ahead of her tour of Australia in the late 1950s.

The Sydney Morning Herald even reported before the Queen Mother landed in the country that she would receive “a diamond and ruby brooch unofficially estimated to cost more than £5,000”.

The Queen’s mother wore the brooch for the first time in Brisbane, on February 16, 1958, pinned to a draping white organza dress.

Since her mother’s death, Her Majesty has worn the brooch to various engagements.

The first time she donned the inherited brooch was in 2006, for her grandson William’s passing out parade at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst.

Queen Elizabeth paired the jewel with a dark red collared coat and a matching hat which featured a green and red rose.

The outfit’s colours complemented the brooch’s sparkling rubies.

Since then, the Queen has worn the brooch with other red outfits, such as her crimson-coloured collarless coat, which she donned for a visit to the Presidential Palace in Bratislava in October 2008.

Another notable occasion was the 2018 Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey where Her Majesty donned the brooch with a wine-coloured blazer and a floral hat.

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