Image of Queen sporting maple leaf brooch marks 150th anniversary of Canada

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A photograph of the Queen wearing her maple leaf brooch has been released to mark the 150th anniversary of the formation of modern Canada.

The portrait, taken by Toronto-based photographer Ian Leslie Macdonald, shows the Queen in an ornate gold-coloured chair wearing the platinum brooch set with diamonds on her left shoulder.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are on a three-day tour of Canada to mark the 150th anniversary.

The piece of jewellery has been worn by a succession of royal women from the Queen Mother through to the Duchess of Cambridge.

It was a gift from King George VI to his wife the Queen Mother to mark their visit to Canada in 1939, the first tour of the country by a reigning monarch.

First worn during the royal couple's Atlantic crossing in the liner Empress of Australia, it was featured by the Queen many times throughout the trip.

The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, was loaned the iconic piece for her first visit to Canada in 1951, and after she inherited it, lent the brooch to Camilla for her inaugural trip to the Commonwealth country in 2009, and to Kate for her first official Canada visit in July 2011 with William.

The picture has been released on Canada Day, a national holiday celebrated every year on July 1.

It marks the day in 1867 when the dominion of Canada was born as the British North America Act united the British colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with the province of Canada to form a new nation.

Mr Macdonald is the regimental photographer of the 48th Highlanders of Canada and took an official portrait of the Queen earlier this year to commemorate her platinum anniversary as Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment.