31 October 2012

Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Necklace

Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Necklace
To mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, a committee of ladies was formed to raise money for a commemorative statue of Victoria’s late husband Prince Albert. The committee’s fundraising was quite successful, and they ended up raising far more than was required for the statue. An agreement was formed with the Queen that the excess should go to the St. Katherine’s Fund for Nurses. At the same time, some members of the committee decided that a portion of the funds should be used to purchase a necklace for the Queen – and this was also approved by Her Majesty.
Queen Victoria
The trouble was, the committee did not agree on the necklace. Some felt it would be wrong to spend the funds which had been previously devoted to charity on something else. Much discussion and debate ensued, as is described in depth in Hugh Roberts’ book The Queen’s Diamonds. (My favorite tidbit: Queen Victoria, angry that she wouldn’t get her promised necklace, shot down the prospect of a diamond badge commemorating the nursing fund by declaring she would “at once exchange it for another jewel.” Ouch!)
In the end, a compromise was reached and this necklace, made for £5000 (far less than the necklace originally proposed) from gold, diamonds, and pearls by Carrington & Co. was presented to Queen Victoria in 1888. It features a central quatrefoil diamond motif with a large pearl in the middle, topped by a crown and underlined with a drop pearl. The next four links in either direction are graduated trefoil motifs; the central piece and the six largest trefoils can also be worn as brooches. Queen Victoria was pleased with the final gift, so much so that she declared it to be an heirloom of the Crown. It doesn’t seem to have been a favorite of the next queens until the current queen gained access to it in 1952. She has worn it frequently in the decades since.
Princess Alexandra of Kent
I have to say that I’m not a big fan of this necklace, but others certainly are: Princess Alexandra of Kent has a replica (minus the crown) given to her by her husband, Angus Ogilvy.

18 May 2016: State Opening of Parliament
4 June 2014: State Opening of Parliament
8 May 2013: State Opening of Parliament
31 October 2012: State Visit from Indonesia, State Banquet
2011: State Visit from the United States, State Banquet  
2005: Official Visit from Norway 
1991: State Visit to the United States
1982: State Visit from the Netherlands
1978: State Visit to Germany
1972: State Visit from Germany
1972: State Visit to France
1972: State Visit from the Netherlands 
1965: State Visit to Germany   
1958: State Visit to the Netherlands
Various Years: State Opening of Parliament 
Various Years: CHOGM Dinners

Photos: Leslie Field/Biography/Getty Images/Corbis