Did the Queen commit 'brooch warfare' during Trump visit?
Published Tuesday, July 17, 2018 12:12PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 3, 2019 10:16AM EDT
To most onlookers jewelry is just jewelry.
But others are calling some of Queen Elizabeth II’s latest accessory choices “brooch warfare.”
In a detailed string of tweets, one social media user explained the significance of the brooches worn by the Queen earlier this month during a visit from U.S. President Donald Trump, alleging that it’s no coincidence she wore brooches given to her by Barack and Michelle Obama and another given by Canada.
“Nice way to get in a dig again without having to say a word,” wrote Twitter user @SamuraiKnitter, whose initial post has been re-tweeted more than 2,600 times. It’s unclear who is behind the account, which gleaned much of its information from a royal jewelry blog. The tweets shared extensive knowledge of the House of Windsor, explaining that brooches are no small thing in royal tradition.
The Queen has a known affinity for brooches and has received untold numbers of the jewelry item as gifts from heads of state the world over. “If they visit, she’ll wear it or something else she’d been given by them as a gift,” @SamuraiKnitter explained. “To her it’s almost like royal orders.”
On arrival day, the Queen was pictured wearing a brooch she received from the Obamas. It’s a small green-hued flower brooch gifted to her personally, which makes it significant, wrote Twitter user @SamuraiKnitter. It’s not just any American brooch.
“She chose THIS ONE. This one was purchased out-of-pocket by Michelle and Barack Obama and given to her as a personal gift,” she wrote. “The US has given QE jewelry before over the years and I bet her dresser could put hands on any and all of it given five minutes. But she chose the most SENTIMENTAL piece in the collection, the one that was given OUT OF FRIENDSHIP WITH THE OBAMAS AS PEOPLE.”
Next, the Queen was photographed wearing a brooch given to her by Canada called the Sapphire Jubilee Brooch. “From Canada,” wrote the tweeter. “You know, who Trump's been screaming about and insulting. The commonwealth country and one of the UK's greatest allies. Them.”
Some online speculated that this brooch was chosen over the traditional maple leaf-shaped brooch because it resembles a snowflake, perhaps a knowing nod to the slang term popularized by Trump for those on the political left.
The Queen was also twice pictured wearing the next brooch, one apparently worn by the Queen Mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, in the iconic photo “Three Queens in Mourning,” during the state funeral for King George VI.
The string of tweets was accented by GIFs of characters and actors sipping tea, not just a reference to British tea culture but to the popular meme “sips tea,” in which one delights in the sharing of juicy gossip.
But not everyone is convinced there is any juice in this gossip.
While royal commentator Victoria Arbiter concedes that a lot of thought goes into what the Queen wears and that the royals do use fashion to make statements, those statements are positive ones and it’s unlikely there were meant to be political undertones.
“I find this an incredible stretch to think that the Queen is trolling Donald Trump when her sole purpose is to show him the ultimate royal hospitality,” she told CTVNews.ca. “She’s far too wise and astute and experienced to do something like that.”
The Canadian brooch simply went “beautifully with the outfit,” she said. “She doesn’t only wear Canadian jewelry when meeting Canadians.” The Queen Mother’s brooch also happens to be “one of the most-worn brooches in her collection,” said Arbiter. When she wore the brooch gifted by the Obamas, Arbiter says it’s possible she chose that brooch simply because an American was arriving that day.
“Donald Trump is not astute enough to recognize a piece of jewelry and its symbolism,” she said.