The Queen donned the Courtauld Thomson Scallop-Shell Brooch which belonged to the Queen Mother while a framed photograph of Prince Philip could be seen placed on her desk during her annual Christmas broadcast at Windsor Castle.
The monarch, 94, opted for the Mother’s Shell Brooch, which, as the name suggests, takes the shape of a shell made of rows of diamonds and singular pearl, while several strings of diamonds in varying lengths dangle underneath.
It was designed by Lord Courtauld-Thomson, son of a famous Scottish inventor, and made in 1919 in London by The Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Co., Ltd, before being left to Queen Elizabeth, the future Queen Mother, in 1944 by his sister, Winifred Hope Thomson.
A prized possession, it was worn by the Queen Mother to mark her 100th birthday, and was left to the monarch when her mother passed away in 2002.
Since then, Her Majesty has worn it to several special occasions – including when unveiling the Queen Mother’s statue and to Zara Phillips’ wedding to Mike Tindall.
The Queen, 93, donned the Courtauld Thomson Scallop-Shell Brooch while a framed photograph of Prince Philip could be seen placed on her desk during her annual Christmas broadcast at Windsor Castle (pictured)
The monarch, who donned a purple ensemble, paired her outfit with pearl earrings and a trio of pearl necklaces as she addressed a turbulent 12 months.
Pearls were the Queen’s first ‘serious’ piece of jewellery. When her grandfather George V celebrated his Silver Jubilee in 1935, he gave both his granddaughters pearl necklaces.
The then nine-year-old Princess Elizabeth received a necklace of three rows of perfectly matched pearls; Princess Margaret, four years younger, got a two-row version.
Among the collection Elizabeth owns today are two stunning necklaces; the 18th-century Queen Anne pearl necklace and the 50-pearl Queen Caroline necklace, both given as a wedding present from her father.
A photo of a casual looking Prince Philip, wearing a light blue jumper and smart collared shirt, believed to be taken at Sandringham in Norfolk in 2002, was also seen placed on the desk, while unlike last year, there were no photographs of her grandchildren or other family members in display.
In the message today, Her Majesty delivered a message of comfort to everyone who ‘just wants a hug’ this Christmas, telling them, ‘You are not alone, and let me assure you of my thoughts and prayers’.
The Queen Mother (L) with Princess Margaret, the younger sister of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, donning the brooch as they leave Buckingham Palace following the annual Trooping the colour ceremony, 17 June 2000 (pictured)
Queen Elizabeth II, wearing the Courtauld Thomson Scallop-Shell Brooch, at the unveiling of a new statue of Queen Elizabeth (pictured, left) and at the Royal wedding of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall in 2011 (pictured, right)
The Queen Mother wearing the brooch while attending a church service On Christmas Eve at Sandingham in Norfolk with The Archbishop Of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey
Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Courtauld Thomson Scallop-Shell Brooch, which belonged to Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, during day five of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 22, 2019 in Ascot
The monarch spoke of the coming of ‘light and hope’ embodied in the birth of Christ as she gave her annual Christmas message at a time when many of her subjects remain apart from their families due to the pandemic.
It’s has been a challenging year for the Queen who, despite facing a multitude of difficulties, has quickly and efficiently adapted to changes, and saw herself as a sign of stability during the pandemic.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, historian Sally Bedell Smith praised Her Majesty’s firm but fair handling of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepping down as senior royals, and how rapidly she rose to the challenge of attending royal engagements online.
Earlier this year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their plans to step down as working royals, with the Queen agreeing to a 12-month trial period, leaving the door open for Harry to return to the royal family.
Ahead of their step down, the couple were told to drop their ‘Sussex Royal’ label as the Queen and senior officials were believed to have agreed it is no longer tenable for the couple to keep the word ‘royal’ n their ‘branding’.
It was decided that Harry would retain his military ranks of major, lieutenant commander and squadron leader but will not use his honorary military positions. Harry has also remained sixth in line to the throne.
Bedell Smith called the Queen’s handling of the royal row ‘decisive and firm’ but also ‘humane’, and believed that the measured response is similar to that of Her Majesty’s reaction to Princess Diana’s death in 1997.
Among the myriad challenges faced by the royal family was the scandal surrounding Prince Andrew’s friendship with billionaire paedophile Jeffery Epstein.
Buckingham Palace announced that Andrew would be stepping back from royal duties for the ‘foreseeable future’ in November following his disastrous attempt to clear his name in a BBC interview.
This official wedding photograph released by the Royal Communications of Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi showing them in the grounds of the Royal Lodge, after their wedding
When the pandemic hit Britain, Bedell Smith claims Her Majesty saw herself as a source of stability for the nation, and once again praised the speed at which the monarch adapted to the challenges the Covid crisis brought.
She says that much of the work the Queen does behind the scenes goes unnoticed, and that oddly the pandemic has given a deeper understanding of the monarchy, with ‘intimate’ Zoom calls from Balmoral and Windsor.
Bedell Smith heaped on praise for Prince Charles, who has become more liked since his recovery from Covid in March, and Camilla for her work for those affected by domestic violence.
The historian also credited other members of the royal family including the Wessexes and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with stepping up during the pandemic.
However, there have also many positives to the year for the monarch.
Princess Beatrice and Edo Mapelli Mozzi enjoyed a slimmed-down wedding at the Royal Chapel of All Saints at Royal Lodge, Windsor on July 17.
The ceremony details were not made public beforehand and the pair were originally due to marry in the Chapel Royal followed by a reception in the gardens of Buckingham Palace – but their wedding was postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Beatrice’s father the Duke of York walked her down the aisle but he did not feature in the photographs released by Buckingham Palace. The wedding was also attended by The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Princess Beatrice also made a ‘last minute request’ to borrow the Queen’s gown for her surprise wedding, a source has revealed.
The Queen’s granddaughter, 31, affectionately known as ‘Bea’, borrowed a Norman Hartnell gown from Her Majesty to wed the Italian property developer.
A few months later, Princess Beatrice’s younger sister Princess Eugenie announced she is expecting her first baby.
The royal, who married husband Jack Brooksbank in October 2018, are expecting the baby in early 2021.
Sharing the news on Instagram, Eugenie, 30, wrote: ‘Jack and I are so excited for early 2021….,’ alongside photos of baby slippers and her and Jack smiling.