The Story Of Queen Victoria's Tiara That Nearly Sparked A National Scandal
The Story Of Queen Victoria's Tiara That Nearly Sparked A National Scandal

Video: The Story Of Queen Victoria's Tiara That Nearly Sparked A National Scandal

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The treasury of the British royal family keeps a lot of luxurious jewelry: what are only the "Vladimir tiara" and the tiara with aquamarines of Elizabeth II. However, the most valuable pieces - not in terms of the weight of the stones, but in terms of history - definitely belonged to Elizabeth's great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. Her beloved Prince Albert not only showered his wife with jewelryts, but he himself was engaged in their design, hiding in each new creation symbols that only he and Victoria could understand.

One of these gifts was a tiara made of gold and silver with sapphires (blue is Albert's favorite color) and diamonds, which was made by jeweler Joseph Kitching. Albert's sketch was based on the coat of arms of Saxony: before marrying the queen, he bore the title of Prince of Saxony from the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha dynasty. The tiara was supposed to complement the sapphire and diamond brooch that the young queen received on the eve of the wedding. Later they were paired with earrings and a bracelet with the same combination of precious stones.

Queen Victoria (1819-1901) - Franz Xaver Winterhalter
Queen Victoria (1819-1901) - Franz Xaver Winterhalter

The prince presented the tiara around July 1842. This is indicated by the fact that later that year she posed for her in her most famous portrait by Franz Xavier Winterhalter, which was later sent around the world. The painting depicts Victoria in a pearl white dress, her hair pulled back in a low bun. The hairstyle is supported by a diadem, which - here it is worth appreciating Albert's design imagination - could close into a small crown, or could straighten into a crown. The jewelry consists of small links: thanks to the diamond inlay, their joint is almost invisible, and it seems as if the jewelry with 11 impressive sapphires is softly bending in the hands.

After the death of her husband in 1861, the queen almost never wore large jewelry again, but the sapphire tiara remained her favorite. It was her that she put on at the opening of Parliament - her first public appearance as a widow. Her cap, instead of the "official" crown, was crowned with a tiara again closed in a ring, and it was in this image that Henry Richard Graves captured her in a portrait of 1874.

Princess Mary (1897-1965), Viscountess Lacells, 1922
Princess Mary (1897-1965), Viscountess Lacells, 1922

The tiara was inherited by the queen's descendants. Victoria's grandson, King George V, presented the jewel to his eldest daughter, Princess Mary, while married to Harewood. Her photographs in tiara once again testify to Albert's foresight. Maria wore a tiara already in the fashion of the 1920s, in the form of a bando lowered over her forehead. In a similar way, the bride of one of Mary's descendants wore a tiara at the wedding in 1992.

Since the late 90s, the tiara has appeared every now and then in the gossip and exhibited all over the world until it was sold abroad. When it became known that the national treasure would leave the foggy Albion, a real scandal arose. Fortunately, entrepreneur William Bollinger bought the piece for $ 6 million and donated it to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, where it really should be.

In 1977 Patricia, Countess of Harewood (second wife of Princess Mary's son) donned Queen Victoria's sapphire crown to an “informal” dinner and reception at the Civic Hall during Queen Elizabeth II's anniversary tour of Yorkshire
In 1977 Patricia, Countess of Harewood (second wife of Princess Mary's son) donned Queen Victoria's sapphire crown to an “informal” dinner and reception at the Civic Hall during Queen Elizabeth II's anniversary tour of Yorkshire

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