Queen Elizabeth II celebrates another mileSTONE, and it’s sapphire

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of ...

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Coronation portrait, June 1953, London, England. Credit: Library and Archives Canada/K-0000047 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Queen Elizabeth II celebrates another milestone on February 6th, and it’s sapphire! She is setting a new record as the first British sovereign to celebrate the 65th anniversary of their accession. This is called the Sapphire Jubilee.

Away in Africa on a tour, Princess Elizabeth rushed back home to Britain upon hearing the sad news of her father’s death. King George VI had died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of February 6, 1952. Elizabeth left as a princess; touching down at Heathrow, she disembarked as queen.

As she celebrates 65 years as queen, let’s take a look at the list of records already shattered by Elizabeth II:

On September 9, 2015, she became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch after surpassing the reign of her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria.

Elizabeth has lived longer than any other British monarch.

Elizabeth was the second-oldest monarch in the world, behind Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He died in October 2016 after a reign of 70 years. The queen is now the holder of the title of longest-living monarch in the world.

This year, Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh will celebrate 70 years of marriage, the longest British royal marriage!

The Queen has visited 116 countries in her time as monarch, more than any other British sovereign – thanks, modern aviation!


The Queen will have no trouble accessorizing on the day. She’s got a plethora of amazing sapphires to wear. One of her better known sapphire suites came from her father as a wedding gift – a necklace, pendant, and drop earrings. According to our friends at the Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor, the Queen later added a sapphire tiara and bracelet to the set.

If that isn’t enough to satiate, there’s also the Prince Albert Sapphire Brooch to add to the mix. This seems to be one of Her Majesty’s favorite brooches and she wears it frequently. It was originally a wedding gift to Queen Victoria from her “dear Albert”. It was commissioned by the Prince Consort and is surmounted by Turkish diamonds given to her in 1838 by Sultan Mahmud of Turkey.



The Queen will surely wear some small sapphire treat to honor the day. A fine hat of the deepest blue will, I’m sure, also be present for the occasion. Happy Jubilee, Your Majesty!

Celebrate the Sapphire Jubilee!



Historic Royal Palaces also has a lovely variety of items that are Jubilee-related. Check them out!

Sapphire facts:

    The sapphire is the birthstone of September babies.
    The official name of the mineral is Corundum. Rubies are also another variety of Corundum!
    During the Medieval Ages, European lapidaries came to refer to blue corundum crystal by “sapphire”, a derivative of the Latin word for blue: “sapphirus”.
    In ancient Greece and Rome, rulers believed that blue sapphires protected their owners from envy and harm.

Incredible Diamonds: The Basics


The Centenary Diamond. Photo courtesy of 1stdibs.com

Ever wonder about the history and myth behind some of the world’s most famous diamonds? Wonder no more. Check out this great article from 1stdibs.com for a primer on some of these famous gems from around the world.

Included are royal diamonds as well as diamonds that are simply fabulous in their color or size. This grand list includes the Russian Orlov Diamond, the Koh-i-Noor, and the Tiffany Yellow Diamond. [Read it!]


This article appears in full on 1stdibs.com, written by Bella Neyman.

Monaco Celebrates Birth of Royal Twins

HSH Princess Charlene and HSH Prince Albert have announced the arrival of their twins Gabriella Thérèse Marie and Jacques Honoré Rainier. The babies were born two minutes apart, Gabriella at 5:04 pm (local time) and Jacques at 5:06 pm. They were safely delivered today in the maternity ward of the Princess Grace Hospital.
Since Monaco still follows primogeniture, Jacques, despite being two minutes younger, is the next in line to the throne after Prince Albert. He is also styled Marquis of Baux.

Princess Gabriella is second in the line of succession, receiving the title of Countess of Carladès.

Many congratulations to the happy parents and best wishes to the little prince and princess!

“King James” Fouls With Duchess of Cambridge

“King James” Fouls With Duchess of Cambridge
By William Hanson – Etiquette guest writer

Who would have thought a few lines to the Daily Mail about basketball player Lebron James putting his arm around the Duchess of Cambridge would cause so much outrage? For the past 24 hours I have been getting some very forthright opinions on Twitter, Facebook and directly through my website. I even made an ESPN show last night where the host dubbed me the ‘World’s Worst Person in Sports’. I’m so touched.

Now, I really don’t mind the abuse. I’ve had worse and actually find it all very funny. Thankfully I have a thick skin. What I can’t see is why there is so much outrage. Yes, from a Royal protocol point of view Mr. James should not have put his arm around Catherine. As I said originally, I am sure she didn’t mind. Did I expect Mr. James to know the fundamentals of Royal protocol? No, although it would have been nice for one of his colleagues to brief him, and others, beforehand, as used to happen. Today we now all live with a pandemic of ‘CBB disease’ (Can’t Be Bothered).

But royal protocol aside, he had just finished a basketball game. He was sweaty, icky and moist. Would anyone, let alone a highly voguish lady who was obviously dressed up for the occasion, really want a smelly, wet arm placed around them? Probably not. My American correspondents seem to forget that we over here, and, I would hazard to guess, most of the rest of the world too, have absolutely no idea who Lebron James is, whereas I suspect most know the Duchess of Cambridge. (This assumption based solely on the fact that an estimated 2.4 billion people watched her get married into an institution that is thousands of years old.)

Royal protocol is getting relaxed, it is very clear to see that. Many say that it is the younger generation who are the root cause, although anyone with half an interest in the monarchy will know that Her Majesty The Queen has been known to move things along a bit, dropping presentations at court in 1958, and the stopping the requirement for her ‘subjects’ to not turn their back on the Monarch. That said, one former senior royal courtier told me recently that although this is no longer taboo it is still the practice to try to avoid it when at close proximity – out of courtesy, not necessity.

Protocol is not there to annoy, it is there to manage relationships. When countries meet, formally (state visits, summits) or informally (basketball games), it is there to ensure that both parties come away without losing face. As well-intentioned as Mr. James’s tactile gesture was to the Duchess of Cambridge he should know that you don’t hug perfect strangers. If the tables were turned it’s the equivalent of legendary British entertainer Sir Bruce Forsythe goosing the First Lady. It just shouldn’t happen. Common sense dictates that.

Moving the narrative along, much else can be learned from the official visit to the United States of America by Their Royal Highnesses. We saw Taylor Swift high-five the royal couple (also incorrect from a protocol/common sense point of view). But it wasn’t just the USA who raised eyebrows. Should the Duchess of Cambridge have worn such a bright choice of pink to the World Trade Centre memorial? A more subdued colour given the occasion may have been fitting, although I suspect both she and her dresser were thinking that in a big grey city in December, hot pink may stand out more and be more striking. That it did, but a block white or cream would have done the same thing but been a little more becoming to the occasion. Catherine is still learning lessons from the Diamond Jubilee river pageant where she wore a red dress that made her vanish against the red cushions and furnishings of the royal barge – whilst The Queen was visible to all in a pristine white.

However many high-fives and sweaty hugs the Duke and Duchess had to endure, would they have cared? No. Absolutely not. They may have clocked it, but will have seen far worse before now. They don’t care as, unlike Mr. James and Miss Swift, they will be around in 20 years’ time and need not play up to cameras with publicity stunts. Shake it off!

(c)2014 William Hanson