Part Four of Kate’s Borrowed Jewels: The Maple Leaf Brooch

#5 The Maple Leaf Brooch

It’s tough to track down the provenance of this beautiful diamond encrusted brooch. Even the Royal Collection isn’t very forthcoming, sharing only that, “The Queen (as Princess Elizabeth) wore this brooch in the shape of a maple leaf during her first visit to Canada in 1951.”

This beautiful brooch is listed in the “gifts’ section of the catalogue but sadly there is no further information on where it is gifted from. If you know any more, please let us know!

The Queen

This is the first picture we have of Princess Elizabeth wearing the brooch. This is from the visit to Canada n 1951:

She has worn it as the Queen in more recent years and certainly showed her support for Canada by wearing the country’s colours:

The Queen Mum

The Queen Mum has also worn the brooch on occasion. It appears she is wearing it on her hat in this photograph:

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

The Queen loaned Camilla the brooch for a November 2009 visit to Canada. Camilla wore the brooch along with a British Poppy and a Canadian Poppy for Remembrance Day. Check out our post on the Remembrance Day service this year for more info on poppies.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Kate wore the brooch three times during the Cambridge’s visit to Canada. she wore it with two separate outfits on Canada Day.

This was taken during the daytime Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa. She wore the brooch on a white Reiss dress and paired it with a specially made maple leaf hat.

She also brought it out with her purple Issa dress for the evening concert:

And she brought it out again for their last day in Canada. In a patriotic move, Kate wore a bright red Catherine Walker dress and jacket with it:

Here’s a closer look:

Kate and William definitely looked the part as they left on their way to California.

The thing is, as great as it is that Kate is carrying on the tradition of wearing this brooch, we can’t help but feel it was a bit of a faux pas that she had just been gifted a diamond polar bear brooch from the North West Territories and didn’t manage to wear it before the end of the trip.

That’s the Premier of the North West Territories passing over the gift:

As you can see in the picture below, Prince William received matching cufflinks. The brooch is made out of 302 Canadian diamonds in platinum and was designed by Harry Winston, which is now a Canadian owned company.

That last day could have been the perfect time to wear it, if not during their engagements in Calgary. Heck, maybe she could have even worn it together with the maple leaf… Sometimes you’ve got to be flexible and over accessorize a bit so as to be respectful of your hosts. In Kate’s defence, she likely had that red dress and coat made especially for the departure day from Canada and knew the brooch paired with it would be a great, classic photo op.

what do you think?

Side Note: The Queen has received a new Canada brooch to mark her 60 years on the throne. it is diamond, gold, and platinum and and was designed by Birks (Canada’s answer to Tiffany’s). It was commissioned by the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, who presented it to the Queen at Buckingham Palace in early January. We’ll have to keep our eyes out for it!


Categories: Duchess of Cambridge, Royal Jewels


4 replies

  1. There were several faux pas on that trip, in my opinion. The diamond polar bear for one (I completely agree with you), and not putting the white cowboy hat on at the airport. The hat incident was mentioned in the press as a distinct break in tradition, because it is part of the welcoming ceremony.

    Although I prefer the design of the maple leaf to the polar bear, she should have figured out an opportunity to wear it while she was in Canada. That would have complimented her hosts – and where else can she wear something like that?

  2. I thought that Catherine and William were accepting these gifts on behalf of the queen as their tour was also performed on behalf of the queen. So maybe it wouldn’t have been the right thing for her to wear a pin before the queen gets to see it first.

  3. Hello, I have been trying to find some information about my grand father Reginald Stimpson who is the designer and jeweler of the Queen’s Mapple Leaf Brooch and I found this post about it. I still have the plaster cast mold of the brooch he used to make it and I was wondering if you might know where I could take it for it to be exposed / valuated / wanted by collectors. Thank you.

  4. The maple leaf brooch was a gift from George VI to Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) prior to their 1939 tour of Canada. I’ve read that it was a particular favourite of hers and she wore it often, and kept it until her death, when she passed it on to the Queen.

    I’m happy that Kate wore the maple leaf on her red dress on the last day of the tour, as it provided such an iconic image with a clearly recognizable Canadian symbol, with some history to it. The polar bear pin isn’t as distinctive looking. Or maybe it’s just that I’m not a fan of that particular piece of jewelry 😉

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