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FeaturesInsightThe Queen

New portrait of The Queen underlines her devotion to her father, King George VI

A new official Canadian portrait of the Queen has been unveiled. Taken at Windsor Castle in March 2019 by photographer Chris Jackson, it shows Her Majesty wearing her Canadian insignia, as Sovereign of the Order of Canada and the Order of Military Merit.

However, this striking official image of the Queen also has a very personal touch to it including a special tribute from daughter to father. Elizabeth II has been photographed wearing the sapphire and diamond necklace presented to her by George VI in 1947 at the time of her marriage and which now forms part of one the most important part and sentimental suites of jewels in the royal collection.

© Chris Jackson/Getty Images.

The necklace features large sapphires surrounded by smaller diamonds and it came with a matching pair of earrings. The gems are believed to have been put together during the reign of the Queen’s great, great grandmother, Queen Victoria. They have a lot of sentimental value to the Queen because they were given to her by her beloved father. Once she was Queen, she made the gems part of a set which now includes a bracelet as well as a tiara with rather unusual origins. The sapphire and diamond diadem worn by the Queen in this Canadian portrait began life as a necklace belonging to Princess Louise of Belgium in the 19th century. In 1963, the Queen bought it and had it turned into a tiara.

Chris Jackson of Getty said, on his Instagram post marking the release, that it was ”an incredible honour to have the opportunity to photograph HM Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the Canadian Government for her official Canadian Portrait”. And he pointed out that the famous jewels also have an important Canadian link as they were worn by the Quen for her visit to the country in 1990.

The portrait also underlines her role as Queen of Canada. The Queen created the Order of Canada in 1967 and it is now the highest civilian honour in the country. The Order of Military Merit recognizes exceptional service by men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton, a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. June has been a reporter, producer and editor, picking up several awards over the years. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.