The VICTORIA AND ALBERT EXHIBITION at Buckingham Palace is a brilliant display of memorabilia collected by QueenVictoria and Prince Albert during their lives together. So, everything VICTORIA is the talk of the town–and even abroad.
There is a diminutive crown which is identified with Queen Victoria. After Prince Albert died, the Queen wore a veil as part of her mourning style. The STATE CROWN would not have fitted with her widow’s weeds; besides, this very little lady found the state crowns far too heavy.
So, this small crown was made for the Queen at her own expense, using diamonds from a necklace in her possession. Diamonds were considered appropriate jewelry for periods of mourning since the stones had no color. All state portraits after 1870 portray a Queen in deep mourning, wearing the collet diamonds and Lahore diamond earrings, with her personal crown blazing on her diminutive figure.
When she died, she left the crown for her heirs, but not a part of the CROWN JEWELS. It was customary for the STATE CROWN to be placed on a sovereign’s coffin; however, Queen Victoria had never been associated with the massive crowns from the Tower of London, so no crown appeared during her burial rites.
Queen Alexandra wore Queen Victoria’s small crown as did Queen Mary. However, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, consort of George VI, never wore it so the King sent it to the Tower for the public to enjoy.
I am attaching two wonderful photographs of Queen Victoria wearing her personal crown. She is the epitome of the Victorian Age in all her grandeur. She was the Queen and Empress of many of the world’s people, and understatement would not have been suitable.
When you visit the Jewel Tower, you will enjoy all the State crowns. You will see the frame of the original crown Queen Victoria used for her coronation–the jewels were removed for a remodeled crown for King Edward VII who required a far larger crown. You will enjoy the State Crown and the coronation Crown of St. Edward. But, above all, you will be intrigued–and a bit amused–by her personal diminutive crown.
For me, there is sadness in this jewel. The exhuberance of her life with Prince Albert is gone forever. The Queen’s loneliness was evident in all aspects of her life. This crown reveals her dispair. She grew old, all so suddenly.