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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

Queen Victoria’s Emerald & Diamond Parure

© Sotheby's 2024

Currently on display in the Jewel Room in Kensington Palace stands Queen Victoria’s emerald tiara which features cushion-shaped diamonds, step-cut emeralds and 19 inverted pear-shaped emeralds. In 1843 Prince Albert designed a matching necklace, earrings and brooch to complete the parure. Two years later, Prince Albert worked with the court jeweller Joseph Kitching to create this exquisite set for £1,150.

It was presented to Queen Victoria in 1845 by Prince Albert. She wrote in her journal of a “lovely Diadem of diamonds and emeralds designed by my beloved Albert” which she goes on to praise his “wonderful taste”. The Queen wore the Emerald & Diamond Tiara and Parure for a variety of occasions, including several portraits by the celebrated Franz Xavier Winterhalter between 1846 and 1859, as well as a State Visit to France in 1855. As a tribute to her husband Queen Victoria also wore her entire emerald and diamond parure in July 1847 at a banquet at Trinity College, Cambridge, celebrating Prince Albert’s installation as Chancellor. The Parure first appears in the famous 'The Royal Family' by Franz Winterhalter 1846

© Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III 2024

In her widowhood, she loaned the Emerald Tiara to her granddaughter, Princess Victoria, Marchioness of Milford Haven (grandmother of the Duke of Edinburgh), for a costume ball in the 1880s, when it was worn around a velvet cap. She also wore it for a photographic portrait as displayed below -

Princess Victoria Alberta Elisabeth Mathilde Marie ( Princess of Hesse) Marchioness of Milford-Haven © National Portrait Gallery, London

However, Queen Victoria’s Emerald and Diamond Tiara and Parure were given to her daughter, Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, in June 1893 and wore it soon after to the wedding of her nephew, Prince George of York and Princess Mary of Teck. Princess Louise left the tiara to one of the daughters of Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife: Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife or Princess Maud, Countess of Southesk, and the Parure was last seen worn by the 3rd Duchess of Fife at the 1960 State Opening of Parliament.

1960 State opening of Parliament © 2024 Pond5 Inc

The tiara is currently on long-term loan from the 3rd Duke of Fife at Kensington Palace alongside the Fife Tiara and the Kokoshnik Tiara.

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