Queen Elizabeth II and the Diamond Maple Leaf Brooch (Picture Source)

Queen Elizabeth II's remarkable long reign might well become known as the Second Elizabethan Age. She ruled over seven decades, through many upheavals and changes, all with an unwavering deep sense of duty and graciousness. A class act and near universally admired. No mean feat considering the dark legacy of Britain's colonial past, anti-monarchy sentiment and recent Royal scandals. 

Her passing drew great sadness across the globe.  For most of us, she was the only Queen we knew. 

Royal Visit, Malaysia, 1972. (Picture Source)

I grew up in Malaysia, once a colony, now part of the Commonwealth. The Queen visited Malaysia 3 times. The first visit was in 1972.  I was among the throngs of school children lining the road outside our school, waving our little flags as the Queen's motorcade drove by. I caught a glimpse of a pale face. I cannot recall if we were treated to the famous royal wave!

Canada, where I now live, is one of 15 nations in the world which still have the British monarch as the ceremonial Head of State.  As such, the Queen, and the Royal Family representing her, have visited Canada several times.

The people who have actually met her, all remark on how knowledgeable she was, her warmth and kindness, and her sense of humor. Our current Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau said she was one of his most favorite persons in the world, having first met her as a small boy when his father, Pierre Trudeau, was PM. She "thanked" him, after he toasted her at a Commonwealth meeting, for making her feel so old!

Jean Chretien, a former Canadian PM, also remembers her fondly as he had met the Queen many times since 1967.  She practiced her French with him and enjoyed many fun chats.  He recalled an incident when a French Canadian prankster - around the time of the 1995 Quebec Referendum - imitated him and got through on the phone with the Queen. The next time Chretien met the Queen, he apologized profusely whereupon she smiled and said, " I thought you were drunk!"  (see the CBC interview here). 

The British monarchy does not have any political power. But the Queen and the Royal family act like ambassadors. In her lifetime, the Queen visited 117 countries, hosted 112 state visits and numerous high level diplomatic ones.  These are not all pomp and ceremony but occasions where the subtle diplomacy could influence political and economic outcomes. 

Her state visits were always meticulously planned right down to the jewelry she wore. Gifts presented to her would always be worn on return visits.  The diamond maple leaf brooch (at top and below) was created by a Canadian jeweler back in 1939. It was first a gift for the Queen Mother when she and King George VI visited Canada. It has been worn by members of the Royal Family on successive visits ever since. 

Picture source

Picture source

This brooch is just one of many spectacular jewels in the Royal Collection which also includes many artifacts - the largest private art collection in the world. These jewels are separate from the Crown Jewels which are part of the royal ceremonial regalia and separate from Gems and Jewels which are kept in Windsor Castle. 

Some of the jewels in the Royal Collection are privately owned which will be passed down to other members of the Royal Family. But others are held for the Crown and will pass on to the next monarch, King Charles III.  

Watch this fascinating video A Closer Look at the Royal Family's Treasures which includes the history of some of the jewels.  One was the story of how the tiara which the Queen wore for her wedding broke just before the ceremony.  Now that was a highly stressful repair job for the jeweler! 



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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM