The story of Queen Victoria’s most loved crown and designed by her husband, Prince Albert. It is now exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London ♦ ︎
Do the jewels of the British royal house fascinate you? Here is an opportunity not to be missed: the Victoria & Albert Museum in London exhibits one of Queen Victoria’s most beloved jewels, a small crown with sapphires and diamonds. The reason why Queen Victoria loved this crown is that it was designed by her husband, prince Albert. The crown is the most prized piece of gallery named to William e Judith Bollinger. William Bollinger is an Irish-American millionaire of hedge funds, his wife is Judith.
The Victoria & Albert Museum has one of the most beautiful and complete jewelry collections in the world: over 3,000 jewels, from antiquity to the present day. Among these there are also particularly fine pieces, including a golden Celtic armor, pendants donated by Elizabeth I to her courtiers, diamonds worn by Catherine Grande of Russia, jewels of the art nouveau designer Réné Lalique, Cartier tiaras and contemporary works by Wendy Ramshaw, Peter Chang and Marjorie Schick.
The little crown of the queen
The crown of Queen Victoria is very flexible, it can be folded back and forth: its size is almost that of a diadem, but a little wider. The jewel was designed by the queen’s wife, Albert, in 1840, the year of the couple’s marriage. It was then materially made by Joseph Kitching, of Kitching and Abud, jewelers of the queen. In 1842 Victoria wore the crown on the occasion of a portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter. The chaplet was very important to Victoria, because it reminded her of her husband, who died in 1861. Five years later, still mourning the death of Albert, Victoria chose that little crown, instead of the official one, to open the Parliament.
The heirs of the crown
After the death of Queen Victoria, the crown was inherited by the descendants: it was first addressed to Edward VII, then to George V and to Queen Mary, and finally to their daughter, Princess Mary. But years ago, the crown was bought by an anonymous American private buyer: the British government had blocked the export. However, in 2016 it was purchased for 5 million pounds by the Bollinger family and donated to the museum.
In addition to the crown, the William and Judith Bollinger gallery of the jewelery museum exhibits 3000 objects including 49 art deco pieces collected by Freddie Mercury’s sister, Kashmira Cooke, and lent to the museum in the memory of the singer with the prospect of becoming a permanent gift.