Thursday, 1 September 2016

Kate's Canada Wait: the brooch

The Duchess of Cambridge with the brooch she famously wore on Canada Day on her first visit to the country in 2011 
(photo credit: By Pat Pilon via Wikipedia Commons)

The Great Kate Canada Wait is under way. In just over three weeks, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will land in Canada for their second tour of the country. The big event gets under way on September 24th but between then and now is a great chance to look ahead to the tour and all the things it might bring. First up is a piece of jewellery that signalled Kate's formal entry into the world of royalty. For her first visit to Canada, the new Duchess of Cambridge wore a very important part of the House of Windsor's gem collection - the Maple Leaf Brooch.

This gem is one of the best known brooches in the royal jewellery box and it's closely associated with the Queen and the Queen Mother. Kate joined a long line of Windsor women in wearing this sparkling selection of diamonds.

The brooch was made in 1939 by Asprey for George VI to present to his queen, Elizabeth. She wore it for their State Visit to Canada that year and it became an iconic piece of jewellery.  It is made of platinum with baguette and brilliant diamonds shaped into the five pronged leaf of a maple, the national emblem of Canada. And since that first visit, it's been worn regularly by royal women for events linked to the country.

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother wore it regularly and it belonged to her rather than the Royal Collection throughout her life. She left it to the Queen on her death in 2002 and it's become a regular with other royal women since. The Duchess of Cambridge wore it several times on that debut tour in Canada with two appearances on Canada Day itself in Ottawa and a third seven days later for more national day celebrations in Calgary.

There's a good chance we will see this symbolic sparkler again for the second Cambridge tour of Canada. It's a beautiful piece of jewellery more than anything else but it also shows Kate's senior position within the Royal Family and provides a link to the last woman to be queen consort of Britain, a role that the Duchess of Cambridge will one day hold. Kate's Canada Wait starts with a sprinkling of diamonds and a lot of history.

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