Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Sapphire Jubilee

Today is the sixty-fifth anniversary of the accession of Her Majesty The Queen, and has been termed the Sapphire Jubilee.

The only other monarchs to celebrate a Sapphire Jubilee are King Louis XIV of France, who reigned for 72 years (the longest reign in European history); Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, who reigned for very nearly 68 years; Prince Johann II of Lichtenstein, who reigned for 70 years; and the recently-deceased King Bhumibol of Thailand, who reigned for 70 years.

In addition amongst exiled or claimant monarchs there are the King of Romania 1927-30 and since 1940, and Emperor-King Otto of Austria-Hungary for the period 1922-2011.

It is also longer than the claim of King James III and VIII - September 1701 to January 1766

 Image result for Elizabeth Ii Sapphire Jubilee

Image: New York Times

On 6 February 2017, Buckingham Palace re-released an official 2014 portrait of The Queen by David Bailey, wearing the sapphire jewellery which she received from her father, the so-called 'George VI Victorian Suite'. It was a wedding gift from her father, George VI to her on her marriage to Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark in 1947.

A parure is a set of jewellery which normally includes a tiara or diadem; the parure came to true popularity in the 17th century. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, a parure in around 1700 could mean "earrings, brooch, necklace or clasp, ring and sometimes shoulder brooches or buckles, all set with diamonds" and its design is invariably adaptable, which allows its many component pieces to be reset. Without at least three matching pieces, the suite does not constitute a proper 'parure', and a 'demi-parure' is instead the correct term for a necklace worn alone, together with earrings or a bracelet or brooch. The term 'parure' comes from the French for 'finery' and means 'a set' in the collaborative. The suite of matching jewellery is intended to be worn as an overall ensemble.

The 'George VI Victorian Suite' is part of The Queen's personal jewellery collection and originally was a sapphire and diamond necklace and pendant earrings set. The 'George VI Victorian Suite' is called Victorian, because the stones date from around 1850. It was purchased by George VI from Carrington and Co. The set was altered by Garrards in 1952 to shorten the 18 sapphire cluster necklace by four and again in 1959, so that a pendant could be made from the largest sapphire - however, the suite did not properly become a 'parure' until 1963 when a sapphire and diamond bracelet and tiara were made to match the other pieces. The tiara was made from a necklace that had originally belonged to Princess Louise of Belgium, daughter of King Leopold II of Belgium and wife of Prince Philip of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

The Queen also owns the so-called 'Prince Albert Sapphire Brooch', perhaps better known as the 'Queen Victoria's Wedding Brooch' which was gifted by Prince Albert to Queen Victoria the day before their wedding and consisting of a large oblong sapphire surrounded with open-backed diamonds. Queen Victoria wore the brooch on her wedding day, 10 February 1840 - and continued to wear it often until the Prince's death in 1861. Queen Victoria willed the brooch as a Crown heirloom, and the brooch has been worn ever since.

Adapted from a post on the website Royal Central:

The original owner Princess Louise wearing the necklace, the tiara being worn by The Queen and the necklace and earrings given to her by King George VI

Image:the naturalsapphirecomany 

There is more about these particular jewels together with pictures at The Modern Sapphire Tiara
from last year. They and other pieces are also featured in The 10 Most Amazing Royal Sapphire Tiaras Of All Time

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