- Small diamond crown of Queen Victoria
The Small Diamond Crown of Queen Victoria was a miniature crown created at the request of Queen
Victoria of the United Kingdomin 1870. It was perhaps the crown most associated with Queen Victoria. Such was the association that it, and not either the traditional St. Edward's Crownor her own Imperial State Crown, was placed on her coffinbefore her funeral.
Following the death of
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Victoria's husband, in 1861, Queen Victoria withdrew from public life and wore widow's weeds, which she continued to wear until her death in 1901. Under government pressure she came back into public view in 1870. However she did not wish to wear her "Imperial State Crown" again, partly because she found it very heavy and uncomfortable to wear, and partly because it would have been impossible to wear with her mourning veil. The new small crown was created as a replacement. Because of its size it could be worn on top of her veil, so meeting both the ceremonial needs of the British monarchyand her own desired form of dress as a widow.
The crown followed standard design for British crowns. It was made up of four half-arches, which met at a monde, on which sat a cross. Each half-arch ran from the monde down to a cross pattee along the band at the bottom. Between each cross pattee was a
However because of its small size (9
centimetresacross and 10 centimetres high) Victoria's small diamond crown possesses no internal cloth cap.
The crown was manufactured by R & S Garrard & Company.
The crown itself is made of
silver. It contains 1,187 diamonds. Diamonds, unlike coloured stones, were seen as permissible to wear in mourning. The diamonds all came from a necklace owned by Queen Victoria.
Queen Victoria first used the new crown at the
State Opening of Parliamentin Westminsteron 9 February 1871. It was worn by her on all state occasions after that date where she was required to wear a crown.
The small diamond crown had technically belonged to Queen Victoria personally, rather than to the British Crown, and thus was not part of the
British Crown Jewels. In her will Victoria left it to the British Crown. It was subsequently worn on occasions by the Queen consort, Alexandra of Denmark(1901-1910) and after her by the next Queen consort, Mary of Teck. After the death of Mary's husband, George V the crown ceased to be worn by her. When the new Queen consort, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyondecided not to wear the small diamond crown it was deposited in the Jewel House in the Tower of Londonin 1937, where it remains on show.
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