Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 57, received a very special gift from the Queen Mother at her wedding to Prince Edward in 1999, three years before the Queen Mother died in 2002. The Countess received a stylish brooch with a very significant meaning, which she has worn on a few occasions since. The brooch even doubled up as the Queen Mother’s hair clip in the past.
Helen Dimmick, the leading gemmologist from Ainsworth Jewellers, commented on the significance of the jewel for Express.co.uk.
She suggested: “I like to believe that this wedding present was a compliment of the Queen Mother to gift Sophie something she had personally enjoyed wearing and indeed was the epitome of her heyday Art Deco 1920’s style as a young Duchess and mother herself.
“What many will not know is that this is actually a double clip brooch that the Queen Mother wore in many eclectic ways too, even using it as a hair clip on occasion. Worn by Sophie, this is an extremely stylish, versatile and very wearable statement piece of jewellery, whether, being worn as two separate halves or together in frame.”
Claire Beatson, the General Manager of lab-grown engagement ring brand Nightingale, also spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk to give some background information on the Queen Mother’s wedding gift to Sophie.
She said: “The Countess of Wessex’s brooch from the Queen Mother is actually two brooches that can be worn separately or together. This was originally a gift from King George VI back in 1930 when he and the Queen Mother were still the Duke and Duchess of York.
“Classy and elegant, but also versatile, the brooches perfectly match the Countess’ personality from PR guru to Royal Sophie, proving her adaptability. It was originally purchased from Cartier.”
The expert went on to explain how the brooch was created and what this gift from the Queen Mother would have meant to the new Countess of Wessex.
Claire claimed: “This brooch is consisting of round brilliant and baguette diamonds to create a flowing petal shape that can then be joined at the stems to create a bow shape. The Queen Mother gave the pair of brooches to Sophie Rhys-Jones as a wedding gift in 1999, showing the Queen Mother’s clear sign of approval for the wife of her youngest grandson.”
According to the style expert, Sophie and the Queen Mother were linked due to their “charity work” which explained their undeniable “connection”.
Claire opined: “I believe it is Sophie’s charity work, particularly with underprivileged and disabled children (The Wessex Trust) that is most likely the connection between her and the Queen Mother, who also set up a charity that makes clothes for underprivileged families (Queen Mother’s Clothing Guild).
“I would also say that the Countess’ close relationship with the late Queen might have also played some part in the Queen Mother’s fondness for her. Sophie has often been described over the years as the late Queen’s ‘favourite daughter-in-law’ and ‘second daughter’.
“It’s also believed that both the Queen and Queen Mother helped Sophie through her ectopic pregnancy back in 2001, sadly only a few months before the Queen Mother’s passing in 2002.”
Le Vian CEO Eddie LeVian, whose ancestors guarded the royal jewels of Persia, also spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about Sophie’s wedding gift from the Queen Mother.
He said: “The brooch was a gift from the Queen Mother when Sophie married the Queen’s youngest grandson, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
“It could be viewed as a symbol of the Queen Mother’s approval for the newlyweds and a welcoming gesture as Sophie entered the Royal Family.”
According to Mr LeVian, this “understated” jewel is in line with the Countess of Wessex’s usual “gentle” fashion choices, however, “she is rarely seen wearing” it.
He continued: “Sophie, who later became very close to the late Queen herself, is known for her down-to-earth personality and self-confidence.
“Her impeccable fashion sense has led her towards understated pieces and gentle styles. As someone who opts for simplicity, perhaps this suggests why she is rarely seen wearing this bold and intricate brooch.”
Mr LeVian argues that the brooch “clearly holds meaning” for Sophie for a key reason.
He said: “It clearly holds meaning to her, though, because she was seen wearing it to the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday celebration, in addition to other meaningful events.”