Queen Victoria’s Emerald Diadem

© The Royal Archivist. Please do not duplicate.

We’re chatting about another emerald treasure today.

Today’s emerald and diamond diadem was designed by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria. It was made by Joseph Kitching in 1845 for £1,150. Queen Victoria was very happy with her gift and wrote in her diary about Prince Albert’s “wonderful taste.”

A year later, Queen Victoria wore the diadem (and the matching brooches and earrings) for a family portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter.

Later, the emerald and diamond parure was inherited by Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Princess Louise. Princess Louise, daughter of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, married the Duke of Fife in 1889. Perhaps, after Queen Victoria’s death, Edward VII inherited the jewels and then passed them on to Princess Louise.

The parure is still in the ownership of the descendants of Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife and is on a long-term loan to Kensington Palace.

Sources

Tiaras: A History of Splendour by Geoffrey C. Munn

Victoria Revealed Exhibit at Kensington Palace

A Tidbit About Queen Victoria’s Engagement Ring

© Royal Collection, via Wikimedia Commons. Queen Victoria wearing her wedding dress, painted by Franz Xaver Winterhalter.

Prince Albert wasn’t allowed to propose to Queen Victoria because she was a reigning monarch. However, after Queen Victoria proposed to Prince Albert, he gave her an emerald and ruby engagement ring set in gold. What’s unique about this ring? It’s in the shape of a snake. It was quite the fashion in Queen Victoria’s day to wear serpent-like rings. Serpents were thought to represent love so it makes sense that Prince Albert commemorated their engagement with such a ring.

The engagement ring is buried with Queen Victoria, but you can find a similar style here.