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The Queen added an extra touch of sparkle to her outfit today, pinning a bird of paradise brooch to her coat as she officially opened the new Elizabeth line at Paddington Station.
The intricate gold and diamond brooch was a Diamond Jubilee gift to the Queen from the government of Singapore in 2012 and is one of her favourites, being frequently worn at events.
Pinned on to of her sunshine yellow double-wool coat, the brooch is made of 18-karat yellow gold and boasts detailed filigree work plus a set of 61 diamonds.
Made by Singapore jeweller Thomis Kwan, it was designed in a traditional Peranakan style – a genre combining ancient Chinese and Malay influences.
The Queen. 96, has worn her bird of paradise brooch, which is one of her favourites, as she officially opened the new Elizabeth line at Paddington Station
A closer look at the delicate brooch which was made by Singapore jeweller Thomis Kwan and offered to the Queen in 2012
It was purchased from Kwan’s stock collection, who didn’t realise it was destined for the Queen’s jewellery box until much later.
Other examples of the $6,800 jewel later sold out after news spread that the Queen had been gifted one.
The brooch’s elegant design is meant to resemble a bird of paradise plant, native to South Africa and introduced to Britain in 1773.
The plant was named after one of the Queen’s ancestors, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who lived at the Royal Gardens at Kew for many years.
The Queen beamed in her sunshine yellow outfit as she arrived in Paddington. The brooch was pinned to her lapel of her coat
The brooch was gifted to the Queen by the government of Singapore in 20123 and has been one of her favourites ever since. Here she is pictured wearing it in July 2019 during a visit to the National Institute of Agricultural Botany
The piece has become one of the Queen’s favourite brooches over the past decade and she frequently pairs it with brightly coloured ensembles.
For instance, she wore it with a sunny yellow jacket and hat at the Epsom Derby in May 2017, and also a lime green outfit, worn for the first day of Royal Ascot a month later.
In 2019, she paired it with a vibrant orange coat and hat for a visit to the Science Museum in London, as well as with a vivid pink coat and hat for a visit to the National Institute of Agricultural Botany in Cambridge.
The brooch’s latest outing was during the Queen’s surprise visit to Paddington Station today to officially open the completed Elizabeth Line with her son Prince Edward, who was scheduled to stand-in as her replacement if needed.
During her visit to the new Elizabeth Line, the Queen was shown how to top up an Oyster card by a member of staff
The Monarch was accompanied by her youngest son Prince Edward, and Andy Byford, the Transport for London Commissioner, right
Andy Byford led the Queen through the station and talked to her about the new line’s particularities
Unveiling a plaque dedicated to her, the 96-year-old, who seemed in good spirits, also picked up a limited-edition Elizabeth Line Oyster card and was shown how to use it.
Using the aid of her walking stick, she then slowly made her way around the station concourse, meeting Crossrail and Elizabeth line workers, including train drivers, station staff and apprentices.
Boris Johnson, Sadiq Khan and Transport for London commissioner Andy Byford were also present.
The monarch’s attendance was not publicly announced in advance, with the head of state facing ongoing mobility problems.
The Queen beamed during the event this morning, in a summery yellow get up. She paired the beautiful brooch with pearl earrings and a pearl necklace
The Monarch looked in good spirits in her Stewart Parvin double-wool crepe coat with an A-line silk dress
Her visit came days after she cancelled her planned appearance at the State Opening of Parliament – being replaced instead by Prince Charles.
But in a major clue an hour before the planned unveiling, Transport for London removed a plaque saying Prince Edward had opened Crossrail and replaced it with one eight inches lower bearing the Queen’s name.
As well as the stunning brooch, the Queen also wore a Stewart Parvin double-wool crepe coat with an A-line silk dress in shades of yellow, royal blue and turquoise, and a matching hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan.
Following the Queen’s visit, the Prime Minister told invited guests: ‘We’re all incredibly touched and moved and grateful to her Majesty for coming to open the Elizabeth line today. It was fantastic to see her.’
A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said this morning that the Queen was aware of the event and that staff were informed she might attend
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: ‘In a happy development, Her Majesty The Queen is attending today’s event to mark the completion of the Elizabeth line.
‘Her Majesty was aware of the engagement and the organisers were informed of the possibility she may attend.’
The Queen also rallied to make a trip to the Windsor Horse Show on Friday and on Sunday was the guest of honour at the equestrian extravaganza A Gallop Through History near Windsor, the first major event of the Jubilee festivities.
Today’s engagement is the Queen’s first one outside of the Windsor area since she attended the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service in Westminster Abbey seven weeks ago.
The Elizabeth line will open to passengers on May 24.
It will stretch from Reading, in Berkshire, and Heathrow Airport, in west London, to Shenfield, in Essex, and Abbey Wood, in south-east London.
Trains will initially operate in three sections, which are expected to be integrated in the autumn.