Emerald Tiara of Queen Victoria Designed by Prince Albert. Who Owns It Now?

 Queen Victoria's Emerald Tiara

Queen Victoria of Britain's husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, was fond of gifting the Queen pieces of jewelry personally designed by him. And of these magnificent jewelry pieces is this Emerald Tiara.

In 1845, Prince Albert designed a splendid tiara using emeralds and diamonds. He commissioned jeweler, Joseph Kitching, to do the work, for a price of £1,150. The tiara was designed as a tapered openwork band of scroll motifs set with cushion-shaped diamonds and decorated with step-cut emeralds in gold collets, surmounted by a graduated row of nineteen inverted pear-shaped emerald drops.

Queen Victoria's Emerald Tiara
Queen Victoria wearing the Emerald Tiara and the Parure

Prince Albert reportedly commissioned this Emerald Tiara for his wife to accompany a necklace formed of nine oval emerald clusters, each set within a border of cushion-shaped diamonds, emerald pendant earrings, and a brooch that he gifted to her. 

Queen Victoria's Emerald Tiara
Queen Victoria in a painting

Queen Victoria wore the pendant earrings and brooch to the christening of their second son, Prince Alfred. on September 6, 1944. She wore the complete set with the tiara in 1846, for a family portrait painting by Franz Xavier Winterhalter.

Queen Victoria's Emerald Tiara
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with their five children: Prince Bertie (the future King Edward VII, Prince Alfred, Princess Vicky and Princess Alice with their younger sister, Princess Helena, who was born in 1846. A painting by FRANZ XAVER WINTERHALTER in 1846

Queen Victoria loaned the Emerald Tiara to her granddaughter, Princess Victoria, Marchioness of Milford Haven (the maternal grandmother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh), for a costume ball in the 1880s.

Queen Victoria did not wear the tiara and the parure (earrings, necklace, and brooch) in her entire widowhood. So where does the set of jewelry go and who owns it now?

Queen Victoria's Emerald Tiara
Queen Victoria's Emerald Parure

According to reports, Queen Victoria’s Emerald and Diamond Tiara and Parure were given to her fourth daughter, Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, in June 1893. 

Princess Louise did not have children so she bequeathed the tiara and the parure to her niece and namesake, Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife (eldest daughter of King Edward VII) who then gifted the tiara to her eldest daughter, Princess Alexandra.

Princess Alexandra, who married her first cousin once removed Prince Arthur of Connaught, had no surviving children so she left the tiara to her younger sister and only sibling, Princess Maud, Countess of Southesk. 

Queen Victoria's Emerald Tiara
The splendid Emerald Tiara of Queen Victoria designed by her husband, Prince Albert

The set of jewelry was inherited by Princess Maud's only child, James Carnegie, 3rd Duke of Fife. It was his wife, Caroline, Duchess of Fife, who was the last wearer of this Emerald set of jewelry at the 1960 State Opening of Parliament. 

Queen Victoria's Emerald Tiara and the Parure are currently on a long-term loan from the estate of the 3rd Duke of Fife to the Victoria Exhibition at Kensington Palace, together with the Fife Tiara and the Fife Fringe Tiara.

To date, the Emerald Tiara and the Parure are the only pieces of jewelry from Queen Victoria's royal jewelry collection that were not inherited and worn by the succeeding British Queens.

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