Following the death of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1861, Queen Victoria withdrew from public life and wore her widow’s weeds until she died in 1901. Under pressure, she came back into public view in 1870. However, she refused to wear the Imperial State Crown again, partly because it was too heavy and uncomfortable to wear, and partly because it would have been impossible to wear with her mourning veil.
The small crown was designed as a replacement. Because of its size it could be worn on top of her veil so meeting the ceremonial needs of the British monarchy as well as her own desired style of dress as a widow. We must remember that the Queen was barely 5 feet tall.
The small crown was first worn at the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster on 9 February, 1871.
The crown was the personal property of the Queen made from a necklace in her collection of jewels. When she died in 1901, she left the crown to the British Crown. Queen Alexandra and then Queen Mary both wore the small crown.
However, in 1937 Queen Elizabeth the consort of KingGeorge VI decided not to wear it so the King sent the crown to the Jewel Tower at the Tower of London on display, yet the crown is the property of the Queen rather than State property.
When you are visiting the Jewels at the Tower of London, pause for a moment to see this crown with such an amazing story behind it. Really, it is lovely.
Thomas Moore email: TMooreSr@me.com Telephone: 801.791.9918