Long before Taylor Swift brought the concept of an Easter egg to the masses, Queen Elizabeth had it down. The Queen has long sent hidden messages through her choice of brooches—who can forget when she wore three different brooches to convey different messages of non-support during Donald Trump's visit?—to the point where Vox has dubbed the strategy "brooch warfare." She doesn't do anything by accident when it comes to her brooches—so it's interesting that in light of the increasingly bitter war between senior royalty and Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, the Queen chose a brooch Friday that paid homage to the place that Harry has described as the place where he feels "more like myself than anywhere else in the world," and where he fell in love with now-wife Meghan.
A little recap: In the aftermath of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's bombshell interview with Oprah and ensuing interviews—most recently, Harry said on Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast that he had been a victim of "genetic pain and suffering" passed down from his father through generations—things have gone from bad to worse between the couple and Buckingham Palace, both in terms of its staff and its senior royalty. A notable exception has been the Queen, who famously adores her grandson and was the first family member that he and Meghan called to share the news about baby Lilibet Diana. (The Queen has reportedly already met the newborn via video chat.)
But after a royal source told the BBC that the Queen had categorically not approved the name Lilibet for Meghan and Harry's child—Lilibet is a treasured family nickname for the Queen—the Sussexes fired back with a furious statement and threatened legal action. It's not clear how the Queen felt about the drama, but there were unverified reports that she was upset by it. (Her son, Prince Andrew, even got her a corgi to cheer her up. As you do.)
Which brings us to the brooch she wore Friday:
The Queen is wearing the Botswana "millet" brooch that was gifted to her in 2007: "This brooch is in the form of a spray of sorghum (millet), the main crop of Botswana, and was presented to The Queen by the President of the Republic of Botswana at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Uganda," according to the Royal Collection Trust.
Botswana is deeply special to both Meghan and Harry, with Meghan's engagement ring featuring a diamond sourced in the country. "I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana and we camped out with each other under the stars," Harry said of the couple's third date. He also told a Town and Country reporter that being in Botswana was "like being plugged into the earth," adding: "I have this sense of complete relaxation and normality [here]. To lose myself in the bush…This is where I feel more like myself than anywhere else in the world. I wish I could spend more time here."
It's possible, of course, that there were non-Meghan and Harry reasons the Queen wore the brooch—she's known to wear specialist brooches to her events with representatives of other nations, and the G7 summit certainly counts as that, with representatives from Canada, Japan, France, Germany, and Italy in attendance, as well as the Bidens representing the United States. Not to mention, the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, was present—although Botswana is just north of South Africa. And a deep dive reveals that there is millet, or sorghum, present at the Eden Project in Cornwall, where the G7 summit took place, so it could be a nod to that. But still—interesting.