Happy Burns Night! A celebration of the life and poetry of the poet Robert Burns, the author of many a Scots poem, Burns Night also brings out much Scottish Symbolism. The Thistle is the floral emblem of Scotland, represented in the Order of the Thistle, and thus today, we are featuring a royal jewel that highlights the thistle: Queen Mary’s Diamond Thistle Brooch!
The spectacular Brooch is thought to be the ‘hat brooch of diamonds set in platinum’, designed by Edward & Sons, presented to Queen Mary by the contractors of Kelvin Hall in 1927 (h/t to the wonderful Beth). Queen Mary was notably pictured wearing the Diamond Thistle Brooch while attending the Sunday Service at Crathie Kirk near Balmoral Castle in September 1932, being pictured with the King and their granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth, on the carriage ride back to the Castle.
Inherited by the Queen after Queen Mary’s death in 1923, Queen Mary’s Diamond Thistle Brooch remained publicly unworn until 2010, when the Queen was photographed by Shaun Murawski at the Palace of HolyroodHouse in Edinburgh, in a new portrait for the Scottish Parliament, a suitably Scottish symbol. The Queen also wore the Diamond Thistle Brooch as she opened the new Queensferry Crossing bridge across the Firth of Forth in 2017.
The Queen has continued to wear Queen Mary’s Diamond Thistle Brooch at events in Scotland, including for the 20th Anniversary of the Scottish Parliament in 2019, and more recently at the Scottish Opening of Parliament in 2021, when she was pictured alongside her portrait. There is no doubt we will continue to see this heirloom for years to come!