Queen Victoria coronet designed by Prince Albert
The diamond and sapphire coronet designed by Prince Albert for the young Queen Victoria. An export bar has been placed on the jewel to allow time to save it for the nation.

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Prince Albert designed the diamond and sapphire set jewel for Victoria in 1840, the year of their wedding, to match a brooch with the same gemstones that he gave her the day before they were married. Most of the stones came from jewellery given to Victoria by William IV and Queen Adelaide and it was made by the goldsmith Joseph Kitching at a cost of £415.

Both coronet and brooch feature in the first official portrait of the Queen painted by Franz Xaver Winterhalter and depicting the monarch with her hair twined through the jewel.

Later, in 1922, the coronet was given by George V and Queen Mary to Princess Mary on her marriage to Viscount Lascelles. It was subsequently sold to a London dealer who sold it to the export licence applicant.

Queen Victoria coronet designed by Prince Albert

A detail of Queen Victoria’s coronet that has been blocked from export.

The decision to defer the licence follows a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA). Expanding on the decision, committee member Philippa Glanville said: “Key to the self-image of the young Victoria, this exquisite coronet was designed by her husband Prince Albert. Worn in her popular state portrait by Winterhalter of 1842, the year it was made, its combination of personal meaning and formality explains why she chose to wear it in 1866, emerging from mourning for the State Opening of Parliament.

“It evokes vividly the shared romantic taste of the time, and its form has become familiar through many reproductions. Its departure would be a great loss, given its beauty, its associations and its history.”