King Charles and Queen Camilla have just begun a two-day visit to Northern Ireland, their first visit following their Coronation this month, and the Queen has debuted a spectacular Royal Heirloom; Queen Mary’s Celtic Knot Brooch
When Princess May of Teck married the Duke of York, the future King George V, in 1893, she received a series of spectacular gifts of jewellery from family, friends and representatives of various parts of the United Kingdom and the British Empire, among which was this striking Diamond Celtic Knot Brooch set with a cabochon Emerald, which was a gift from the then Tsarevitch, the future Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (the sketch was discovered by the wonderful Beth). The Brooch was bought by the Tsarevitch from his personal funds, with an invoice from the Russian Court Jeweler Karl Hahn dated July 9, 1893 for the purchase of a brooch for 1,485 rubles.
Queen Mary, when the Duchess of York, was only photographed wearing her Emerald and Diamond Celtic Knot Brooch for a portrait taken around 1898 (as shared by Franck), and later at the Chelsea Flower Show in 1929.
Upon her death in 1953, Queen Mary left the Emerald and Diamond Celtic Knot Brooch to her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II, who was rarely photographed wearing it until 2014, when she paired it with the Vladimir Tiara and Cambridge Emerald Parure for the first Irish State Banquet at Windsor Castle.
The following year, the Queen wore Queen Mary’s Celtic Knot Brooch for a a private audience with Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, at the San Anton Palace during a visit to Malta.
Last year, the Queen wore the Brooch when she awarded the George Cross to the National Health Service (NHS) at Windsor Castle, and later that month, it was worn as she arrived at Balmoral Castle, where she passed away in September.
Now, Queen Camilla has continued the link with Ireland and debuted Queen Mary’s Celtic Knot Brooch on a visit to the Coronation Garden at Newtownabbey, at the start of a two-day visit to Northern Ireland. Lets hope we continue to see this Royal heirloom for years to come!
Queen Camilla also wore Queen Mary’s Celtic Knot Brooch at the Commonwealth Women Leader’s event at Marlborough House in November 2023.