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May 3, 2016 12:10 pm  #1

QEII-1 The Queen’s Rhodesian Flame Lily Brooch

This message #1 was written by Boffer pre-2013.

1. The Queen’s Rhodesian Flame Lily Brooch

   In 1947, during the Royal Family’s tour of Southern Africa, The Queen, whilst still Princess Elizabeth, was presented with this all-diamond brooch as a 21st birthday present from the schoolchildren of Southern Rhodesia, who had each donated “a tickey (three old pence)” towards the purpose.[1]

   It is set as a stylised flame lily or Gloriosa superba, which was the national flower of Rhodesia.[2] This brooch was a massive collaborative effort: it was designed by Len Bell, the brooch was made by Eric H.S. Kippin of the jewellery firm Sidersky & Son, and the stones, provided by De Beers, were set into the brooch by H. Michel.[3]

   Roberts describes the resulting brooch as consisting of “petals and leaves pavé-set, the stamens and stem set with baguettes”, in platinum and white gold.[4]

   When The Queen was presented with this brooch she pinned it to her dress, and was thus first photographed wearing it.[5] The Queen continues to wear this brooch occasionally;[6] she wore it most notably in 1952, pinned to her lapel as she arrived back in England following her accession as Queen.[7]

   During a tour that Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret undertook of the Commonwealth in 1953, they were both presented with identical brooches; and The Queen subsequently inherited Queen Elizabeth’s brooch in 2002[8]

1. Hugh Roberts, The Queen’s Diamonds, (London: Royal Collection Publications, 2012), p. 268; June Searson, quoted in, Daily Telegraph, 17 May 2006 
2. Caroline de Guitaut, The Royal Tour, (London: Royal Collection Publications, 2009), p. 23
3. Roberts, The Queen’s Diamonds, p. 268
4. Ibid., p. 268
5. Shelia Young, The Queen’s Jewellery, (London: Ebury Press, 1968), pl. 20b; Roberts, The Queen’s Diamonds, p. 210 (RCIN 2705303)
6. Roberts, The Queen’s Diamonds, p. 271
7. Roberts, The Queen’s Diamonds, p. 270
8. Leslie Field, The Queen’s Jewels, (London: Abradale Press, 1987), p. 33; Roberts, The Queen’s Diamonds, p. 268


May 3, 2016 2:33 pm  #2

Re: QEII-1 The Queen’s Rhodesian Flame Lily Brooch

     Thread Starter

May 5, 2016 10:16 am  #3

Re: QEII-1 The Queen’s Rhodesian Flame Lily Brooch

1. The Queen's Rhodesian Flame Lily Brooch

   As has been noted, the Flame Lily Brooch is unique in that a version of it was owned by The Queen, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret. However all three brooches are not identical. The Queen's has 301 diamonds, the Queen Mother's 300 stones and Princess Margaret's has 299 diamonds.[1]

   Len Bell, the designer responsible for the brooch, had an established jewellery business in Rhodesia. His son, Brendon Bell, provided some additional information about the Flame Lily's creation in a newspaper interview.

   "Mr Bell's father's initial design of a white gold Zimbabwe bird was chosen, but hastily changed at the 11th hour when it was discovered the Girl Guides, whose emblem was the bird, was presenting her with a similar design. "My mother suggested he design a brooch from the flame lily (Gloriosa superba)," explained Mr Bell.

   "His father's pencil sketch was accepted and he created a brooch of white gold and 301 diamonds at a cost of £1,000."[2] In 2006, Mr Bell wrote to the Queen informing her of his father's role in the creation of the brooch. A response came from Buckingham Palace with an invitation for  Mr and Mrs Bell to see the brooch.[3]

   "I was only three when my father made it and can hardly remember the occasion. It was a wonderful privilege to be able to see it again and show her the signature she placed against the sketch my father made," said Mr Bell.[4]

1. Viv Mason, Couple's delight at winning back UK Citizenship. Craven Harold and Pioneer, 13 January 2007.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.



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