British Columbia·Feature

Kate's maple leaf brooch connects long history of royal visits to Canada

The platinum and diamond brooch seen on the Duchess of Cambridge has been worn by three generations of women in the Royal family on Canadian visits.

Platinum and diamond brooch shared between 4 generations of Royal Family

It's been the Duchess of Cambridge's go-to accessory throughout her Western Canadian tour — a maple leaf brooch adorning her colourful dresses.

While every royal jewel usually comes with a storied history, this diamond and platinum jewel has direct ties to Canada beyond its emblematic symbol.

(Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Gift from the King

According to the Royal Collection Trust, the brooch was given to the late Queen Mother, Elizabeth, from her husband King George VI, to commemorate her state visit to Canada in 1939.

She wore it throughout her tour and frequently after, including when she crossed the Atlantic aboard the ship, the Empress of Australia. 

King George VI (right) examines a tracer shell while his wife Queen Elizabeth (centre) chats with a girl at an ammunition factory somewhere in Midlands on April 18, 1940. It was in the summer of that year, during the London blitz, that Queen Elizabeth won the respect and affection of her subjects when she refused to leave for Canada with her daughters as German bombs devastated the British capital. (AFP/Getty Images)

Brooch on loan

In 1951, when Queen Elizabeth II made her first trip to Canada, then a princess, her mother loaned her the brooch. Since then, she's worn it on multiple occasions when she's visited the country. As her family has grown, the Queen continued that tradition and shared the bauble with other royal family women when they've made their Canadian visits.

The Queen wearing a maple leaf brooch in Ottawa on Canada Day 2010. The brooch originally belonged to the Queen Mother, who loaned it to Princess Elizabeth for her visit to Canada in 1951. The Queen has since loaned the brooch to Princess Kate for her first trip to Canada. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, chat with Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a welcoming ceremony Monday in St. John's on Nov. 2, 2009. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)
(Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)

2011 Canadian Tour

It appears the brooch is a preferred piece for Kate. Much like this recent trip, the Duchess wore the brooch several times during her first tour of Canada with Prince William, five years ago.

Recently, Buckingham Palace added a replica of the brooch to its official gift shop. Now, you can own a piece of royal sparkle for about $150 Cdn — diamonds and platinum excluded.

The Duchess of Cambridge is seen during Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Friday July 1, 2011. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Pres)
Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, arrive at a Canada Day celebration on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, Friday, July 1, 2011. (Charlie Riedel/The Associated Press)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wave from their plane before departing on the last day of their cross-Canada tour in Calgary, Alta., Friday, July 8, 2011. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)


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