Jewelry & Watches

Kate Middleton Is Single-Handedly Bringing Brooches Backs

The Duchess has been wearing breastpins for years-and luxury fashion houses are just now catching up.
IMAGE SAMIR HUSSEIN / GETTY IMAGES
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Everything—really, everything—comes back into style. Take Queen Elizabeth's habit of wearing one color, head-to-toe. For decades, it seemed old-fashioned; now, the runways are overflowing with monochrome outfits, with everyone from Bella Hadid to Priyanka Chopra is clamoring to get in on the trend. The same has begun to happen with another royal style standby: the not-so-humble brooch.

On behalf of the younger generation, Kate Middleton has been fearlessly championing this classic jewelry genre, sporting all manner of breastpins in her eight years as an HRH. And now, labels like Gucci and Alexander McQueen are throwing their hats into the brooch game, too. It's about time they caught up with our Duchess.

Here, we look back at some of Kate's best brooch moments, and explore the surprisingly extensive history behind the Duchess's pins. Buckle in (or should we say, "clip in").

The Enigma Pin


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During a visit to Bletchley Park, the facility where codebreakers like Alan Turing cracked the Axis powers' secret messages, Kate wore an understated pin. The badge, however, came with a hidden message.

Kate's grandmother, Valerie Glassborow, actually worked at Bletchley. As an ode to her, as well as to the other WWII codebreakers, Kate's pin was made to look like a rotor from the famous Enigma Machine.

The Oak Leaf Brooch


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Kate donned her Oak Leaf Brooch to attend Easter Sunday services in Windsor. Details about this piece are scant, but as oak leaves are included in the Middleton coat of arms—a symbol given to the family when Kate wed Prince William—it's believed to have ties to Kate's family.

The Shamrock Brooch


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This shamrock brooch has been worn by royal family members for decades—and maybe even longer—but since 2011, it's been exclusively worn by Kate. She wears it every year on St. Patrick's Day, when she participates in the century-old tradition of presenting shamrocks to the Irish Guards.

The Floral Bouquet Brooch


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To attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in 2018, Kate wore the Floral Bouquet Brooch. Little is known about this piece, but it is believed to be part of a matching set, to which Kate's earrings belong as well.

The Pearl and Diamond Leaf Brooch


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Queen Elizabeth has loaned Kate this Pearl and Diamond Leaf brooch for a few years now. It's unknown how the piece came into the Queen's possession, but the monarch has worn it occasionally since at least the late 1990s—most famously, when on a state visit to South Korea, per the blog Her Majesty's Jewel Vault.

The Five Pearl Brooch


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Kate wore her Five Pearl Brooch alongside her poppy pin to the Last Post ceremony in Belgium, back in 2017. Ella Kay, the expert behind the blog The Court Jeweller, believes that the faux pearls in her brooch are surrounded by real crystals, and may be a part of a set along with Kate's earrings.

The Dacre Brooch


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Among Kate's more ostentatious breastpins, the Dacre Brooch has ties to the Royal Air Force Air Cadets—a connection that might be supposed from the blingy "RAF" letters at its center. Kate first wore the piece in 2016, when she performed her duties as the Honorary Air Commandant of the Air Cadets for the first time.

The Fern Brooch


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The Fern Brooch first came into the royal family's possession in 1953, when Queen Elizabeth visited New Zealand just after her coronation. According to Her Majesty's Jewel Vault, it's platinum set, with baguette and brilliant diamonds. The fern is one of New Zealand's national symbols, and so when Kate traveled to the country on a royal tour in 2014, the Queen lent her the brooch.

The Royal Navy Submarine Service Brooch


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Ella Kay notes that the brooch was a wedding present to Kate from the Royal Navy Submarine Service (Prince William is the Service's Commodore-in-Chief). The design features two dolphins and a crown. Kate wore the piece to board the royal barge for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant in 2012.

The Maple Leaf Brooch


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King George VI gave his wife Queen Elizabeth this brooch to mark their 1939 state visit to Canada. The piece is made of diamonds set in platinum, and its distinctive, Canadian-inspired design pays tribute the Commonwealth country. Kate was lent the brooch for her royal tour of Canada in 2011.

*This article originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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