Monday, December 31, 2012

The Queen’s Diamonds

I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, when the pace of life seems to slow down and I typically delve into the books that I received for Christmas.

I have mentioned that my favorite Christmas presents are always books.  I posted on my book ‘wish list’ in late November (post seen here), and received several books on the list under the tree. 

 The best book that I received was not on the list and was a huge surprise.  It is called The Queen’s Diamonds, by Hugh Roberts, and was published this year on the occasion of the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

I am a lifelong Anglophile, and given that my mother was born and raised in England,  a love and appreciation for England and its history has always been a part of my life.  My sister and I are avid royal family watchers, and I always visit the Crown Jewels when I am in London – they have a unique fascination to me.

This is truly a gorgeous book inside and out, and is full of amazing photography of both the jewels themselves (many of the pictures were newly commissioned for the book), as well as the royalty who have worn the pieces through the years (each piece is discussed in depth, including the origins of the piece, and the times it has been worn in public by its various owners).  It is fascinating to see newer members of the royal family, including Camilla and Kate, wearing some of the pieces that have been in the family for generations.

The book is uniquely presented by placing the jewels in their historical context, starting with Queen Adelaide in the 1830s, going on to Queen Victoria, Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Elizabeth II.  The story of each piece is detailed, including the changes to each piece through the years based on the personal taste of the owners and the fashions of the times.

I leave you with my favorite piece from the Queen’s Diamonds (which is also on the cover of the book), and one of her favorites too given the number of times she wears it – The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara.  It was originally a gift to Princess May of Teck (the future Queen Mary) in 1893  as a gift for her wedding to King George V.  Interestingly, it has been altered several times through the years; it was originally topped with large pearls, and the base was removed for years before the current Queen Elizabeth reattached the tiara to the bandeau base.

Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara.

Were any good books under your Christmas tree, design oriented or otherwise? 
Best wishes for a happy and safe New Years!

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  1. Happy New Year to you too! I got the Fortuny book, based on your recommendation. It is fantastic. This one looks like a winner too.

  2. Crowns are another part of my fetish repertoire. Beautiful! franki

  3. I agree .. books are wonderful gifts. I received a cookbook and a design book;) The pace really does slow down doesn't it? I savor these moments .. Enjoy your weekend and Happy New Year!

  4. I really hit the jackpot - I received three design books, a novel and a true story about a blind cat! I'm going to start looking at them today.

  5. I collect vintage crowns, so I know that I would love this book. Just dropped by to wish you a Happy New Year, Holly. Here is to a healthy, happy 2013. Mona

  6. That book looks great! i love to read about the British royalty. Diamond tiaras make the Queen look beautiful! Love to receive books as well. I know you can read lots online but nothing compares to holding a book or seeing them in on a table or in a bookcase!

  7. Happy New Year, Holly! I have loved getting to know you this year and look forward to 2013 and reading your wonderful blog even more! This book looks amazing and as I decide on which books we will carry this year at Mulberry Heights I will definitely refer back to your recommendations!

  8. Sounds so interesting Holly. Thank you so much for sharing with us..

    All the best in 2013

    Art by Karena

  9. My mother is also besotted by the Royal jewels and took herself and her granddaughter to London in November to see the Queen's diamonds. She thought that the exhibition was stunningly wonderful and so I bought this book for her for Christmas. She loves it and couldn't stop drooling over it all Christmas day. We were stunned at the lavish goodies the Queen Mum was bequeathed by her friend Mrs Greville. Best wishes for the New Year Holly.

  10. I am a bit of an aglophile myself....have a few books on the royal family and this one looks like it will find a place in my collection:) They are a fascinating bunch!
    Yes got some great books...some really good cookbooks 2 of them signed by Ina which was a nice touch, a few design books to add to my growing collection. Wishing you a wonderful and healthy 2013!

  11. Best wishes for a Happy New Year! I love following your blog!
    Jamie Herzlinger

  12. I dont see anything fascinating about the royals, given they have stolen those "crown jewels" from other royals in India, and Africa. The kohinoor diamond from India was also stolen by the Brits as was all of Emperor Shahjahan's diamonds (he who built the Taj Mahal). They have plundered and looted from the poor around the world....no different than saddam hussein as far as I am concerned!

  13. Hi, I am here for far Greece. (East).

    When you visit, THE TOWER, where the Jewels of the Crown, are, you can see all these beautifull tiaras and others.
    When the Queen or another person from the Royal family use a jewel, it is written. "This is in use from...."
    So you can visit THE TOWER, but not see something.
    Books are very important.

    Nice to e here....



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