A piece of history is on show at a new exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) Queen Victoria’s Crown, a Sapphire Coronet, Tiara. Albert designed the Crown and gifted it to Victoria during their Wedding year in 1840.
The William And Judith Bollinger Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)
The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery has been one of the most popular attractions at the Victoria and Albert Museum since opening in 2008, attracting over 4 million visitors. The Gallery had been under the cover of dust sheets for 3 months but reopened again in early April 2019. With 80 new pieces in the collection, Queen Victoria’s Sapphire and Diamond Coronet is the new star attraction. The V&A purchased The Crown in 2017, through the generosity of William & Judith, and Douglas and James Bollinger as a gift to the Nation and the Commonwealth.
Those who come into contact with Queen Victoria’s Tiara leave with an emotional experience
Have you been? what was your experience of seeing Queen Victoria’s Crown, Comment below
The Gallery named Bollinger, and the Crown Saved for the Nation
They inherited the name of the gallery from the funder’s surname, Bollinger. An Irish American hedge fund millionaire with his wife and sons form a team. It was because of their tenacity that one special heritage was spared from leaving the UK, Queen Victoria’s Coronet / Tiara.
Gallery Curators Claire Phillips and Richard Edgcumbe
Queen Victoria’s Crown, laden with 11 Sapphires, and diamonds with gold and silver fetched a high price. A foreign buyer bought it in 2016 for $6.5 million, however, they had to apply for an export license and here it met resistance. Someone placed an export ban on it leaving our shores, by those who could realise the significance. Perceived a great loss, if the treasure in history was to depart its homeland. The next barrier was to find a UK buyer to match the price paid this is where the Bollinger’s stepped in.
Bollinger believed in the union and that the royal couple had admired their passion, dedication, and forward-thinking for the times. This Tiara was part of the Albert and Victoria Love story. Part of the journey of one of our longest reigning monarchs, who had an era named after her and recognised all over the world.
Prince Albert and Queen Victoria were born in the same year
The V&A gained the Diamond and Sapphire Coronet around 2 years ago. Queen Victoria wore this crown throughout her life, you can see it in the painted portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1842 seen at the back of the head.
A magical thing about this Coronet is that it is convertible. It converts from a complete ring that encircles the head, into a Tiara which does not close and forms a crescent shape. Coronets were smaller than crowns and with less defined arches.
After Prince Albert died in 1842, the Queen wore mourning colours and embellished in bright dazzling jewelry. In 1874 the queen wore it with a black veil. Even opened parliament with it, rather than the traditional full crown in 1866, the first time attending to such duties after losing her husband.
Photos from the 1920s show Princess Mary daughter of Queen Mary granddaughter of Queen Victoria wearing the coronet. It stayed with that family