Princess Anne's $150K brooch at Royal Ascot wasn't originally a brooch at all - find out the fascinating history of the 1930s treasure

Princess Anne repurposed a sentimental gift given to her grandmother, Elizabeth, the Queen Mother

Princess Anne wore the aquamarine pinecone brooch, taken from a historic tiara
(Image credit: JOHN STILLWELL/AFP via Getty Images)

Anne, The Princess Royal made a stunning appearance at Royal Ascot earlier this week where she re-wore an outfit she originally wore in the 1970s. However, it wasn’t just her ensemble that proved the Princess Royal knew how to give vintage pieces their time to shine. On her jacket, she wore a $150K brooch that was actually repurposed from a tiara gifted to her late grandmother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (known by most as the Queen Mother).

Proving she truly doesn’t let anything go to waste, the resource Anne wore a *40 year old* dress and made it look perfectly on trend.

The Princess Royal donned a light blue dress and a matching sash in her hat. The dress featured a retro circular collar, buttons going down the bodice, and timeless pleats.

According to the Instagram account The Royal Fashion Police, the Princess Royal first wore this exact dress back in the 1970s. Talk about circular fashion.

Over her lovely blue dress, the Princess sported a white tweed jacket, complete with a series of brooches and pins to accompany the blue tones in her outfit.

Princess Anne's outfit was made up of entirely reworked vintage pieces

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

And it’s the brooch which we’re turning our attention to today, because it has a deceptively romantic and intriguing history.

The diamond and aquamarine brooch was never a brooch to begin with.

It was, in fact, part of the Aquamarine Pineflower tiara. The tiara was designed by Cartier and features designs very evocative of the 1930s era – but one thing which has puzzled jewelry fans is the use of pinecone motifs.

There is a traditional belief that pinecones should be given to people to hang above the door of their home in order to bring the family good health, hospitality and good luck.

Princess Anne wearing the original Aquamarine Pineflower Tiara

(Image credit: Instagram)

But it’s never really been clear why the tiara commissioned by King George VI for his and Elizabeth’s anniversary was quite so pinecone heavy.

Either way, the tiara was eventually passed down to Anne.

As a tiara, Anne did wear it occasionally, but she ultimately decided to remove the central feature and turn it into the brooch we saw at Royal Ascot.

Princess Anne has been wearing the Cartier aquamarine gem as a brooch since around 2014

(Image credit: VICTORIA JONES/AFP via Getty Images)

Maxwell Stone, leading diamond expert from Steven Stone, spoke with woman&home and said, “Interestingly, Princess Anne's diamond and aquamarine brooch wasn't always a brooch. It was actually a tiara that belonged to Queen Elizabeth - she gifted it to her Granddaughter, Princess Anne, in 1973 as a wedding present.”

Created by Cartier, the tiara is known as the Aquamarine Pineflower tiara… It's thought that King George VI commissioned it as a present for his wife, Queen Elizabeth, in around 1938 - when the royal couple celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary.”

“Princess Anne had the central aquamarine and diamond element of the tiara removed and re-modelled into a brooch - presumably so she could wear it more regularly.”

“The tiara is still seen today and Princess Anne tends to wear it to state events. A large rectangular aquamarine sits in place of the element that the Princess Royal had removed for the brooch. I'd estimate the beautiful brooch to be worth $150,000.”

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.