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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

Prince Albert’s Miniature Portrait Bracelet

Updated: Jan 10

Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2023

There are two variations of this bracelet, one which is set on a four diamond strand and another set on a four pearl strand. Both feature a miniature portrait brooch of Prince Albert. Both bracelets features in various portraits and photographs of Queen Victoria from 1840 to the very end of her reign, the diamond strand one even features clearly in Gunn & Stuart's official Diamond Jubilee photograph of her taken in the spring of 1897. Although Victoria had countless miniatures of Prince Albert these two were her most prized ones, she even had the original portrait sat on her writing desk which still stood in a favoured position there in October 1872 when the Crown Princess asked: 'Can you send me an engraving of the lovely miniature of Sir Wm. Ross (in the black velvet coat, in profile) wh. stands on your writing table, I know the engraving exists and I promised to procure one for a person who is very anxious to possess it'

Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2024

The bracelet also features in over 20 portraits and photographs over the span of Victoria's reign including photographs of her in court attire, evening wear and daywear. It features in many of her most memorable portraits including - The First Of May 1851, Queen Victoria in her parliamentary robes 1859,The Secret of England's Greatness' 1863 and in later years 'Queen Victoria' 1875 by Heinrich Von Angeli.

Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2024

The cameos features a miniature of Prince Albert's head and shoulders, in profile to the left, wearing a dark coat with a white shirt. The cameo is mounted in a gold bracelet clasp with a border of thirty old-cut diamonds, the reverse with brooch attachment, engraved: 'Albert 1841'. This specific one was originally set as a bracelet but a brooch clasp was added later. The miniature is faded in parts, consistent with its having been worn for long periods of time. This miniature of Prince Albert is thought to be by Magdalena Dalton on the basis of a payment made to her for a miniature of Prince Albert by Queen Victoria in November 1840. It is a copy after the profile miniature of Prince Albert painted by Magdalena Dalton’s brother, William Ross, earlier in 1840.

Queen Victoria first mentions a similar bracelet in her journal on the 22nd November 1839 -

'Albert's picture has been copied in small for a bracelet and beautifully done by Miss Ross; it is Albert's present (bracelet and picture) and is to be set in a very pretty bracelet making at Paris; but I have meanwhile had it put in another bracelet, in order to wear it, and wore it this night for the 1st time.' I assume the first bracelet Victoria had to suffice with was the pearl strand version.

Queen Victoria referred again to the miniature in her Journal on 10 March 1863 - ‘brooch containing a miniature of him (Prince Albert) set round with diamonds, which I have worn ever since ’40’ The wedding day of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

The date of 1840 quoted by the Queen is at odds with the engraved date on the reverse of the miniature photographed which states 1841. But another bracelet with a diamond border and four diamond bands which also contained a copy of Ross's 1840 miniature was worn constantly by the Queen throughout her life. That bracelet, however, was bequeathed to Victoria, Princess Royal on Queen Victoria's death). Queen Victoria’s personal inventory of her jewels records this brooch as: “a portrait after Ross set in diamonds and fastened by a Diamond band of 4 rows, supplied by Rundell, Bridge & Rundell.” (Inventory of Jewels 1896, fol. 61)

Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2024

The original portrait of Prince Albert was commissioned by Queen Victoria soon after their engagement. She pronounced the portrait as a 'very like' of Albert. She took great interest in the process of the painting after a visit to Ross's studio. On the last sitting Queen Victoria remained with Albert whilst he sat to Ross. She noted on the 5th March 1840 - 'Then I remained with him whilst he sat to Ross, who is doing a most exquisite likeness of him, a profile, in a black velvet jacket, with the collar turned down, & no cravat'

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