Literary Lunch – The Queen Mother’s Jewellery

Jeremy Mainwaring-Burton – The Queen Mother’s Lifelong Love of Jewellery…  

The Queen Mother had access to so much jewellery it would be almost impossible to describe it all, so in this fascinating, fully illustrated talk Jeremy concentrates on a selection of items which are of gemmological and historic interest, and have an amusing story attached.

Jeremy Mainwaring-Burton graduated from Durham University with a degree in geology and was offered a job as a mining geologist in Zambia. But rather than eke out the remainder of his youth down a copper mine, he thought it would be more fun to join the Army. And indeed, it was. On leaving Sandhurst he spent five years in the Irish Guards, the last two and a half of which were on secondment to Clarence House as the Queen Mother’s equerry.

The Queen Mother would spend every August at the Castle of Mey, her property near John O’Groats on the north coast of Scotland. Jeremy first stayed there when serving as Her Majesty’s equerry and on numerous occasions thereafter as one of her guests. When she died in 2002, he was asked to help open the castle to the public and what was supposed to be a six-week appointment lasted six years. As a result, he has spent more time at the Castle of Mey over the years than its royal owner ever did.

Being a geologist Jeremy couldn’t help but notice the magnificent gemstones in the jewellery the Queen Mother used to wear. In fact, if he admired a certain item she would sometimes take it off and give it to him to have a closer look. This inspired him to study gemmology and when he left the Army he qualified as a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain. Although this resulted in him spending many years as a precious stone dealer in London’s Hatton Garden he has also worked as an exploration geologist in South Africa, a gold and diamond prospector in South America and a gold-miner in California.

He now lives quietly in rural Oxfordshire where he continues to prospect for gold using a metal detector rather than a gold pan.

Tickets £23.00 including a light lunch and a glass of wine.

Tables for groups of 6 or 12 people can be reserved on our seating plan by phoning the VH Office on 01252 844876 (Mon-Wed 0900-1500 Thu-Fri 0800-1400) or email to

Individuals within a table group can then phone to pay for their reserved seats and inform us of their menu choices.
Payment can be made by BACS bank transfer, or by card on the phone. 
Rhiannon, our Office Manager, is normally in the office 09:00 to 15:00 Mon-Wed and 08:00 to 14:00 Thu-Fri.
Once payment is received e-tickets will be sent by email.


Moussaka – minced lamb in tomato sauce, layered with potato and aubergine, topped with cheese sauce.
Veggie Shepherd’s Pie
– lentils, chestnut mushrooms and vegetables topped with a mixture of mashed potato and sweet potato (V)

Both served with a green salad and crusty bread.

There will be a selection of mini desserts, served on large platters for people to help themselves.

Mini meringue with seasonal fruit (GF)
White chocolate cheesecake with fruit coulis
Mini lemon tarts with blueberries

Contact Venue Box Office: 01252 844 876

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