Monday, April 8, 2013

Unusual Artifacts: The Princess Alexandra Pocket Knife, 1863

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The Princess Alexandra Pocket Knife
Denmark, 1863
The Victoria & Albert Museum

We know at once by the monogram that this belonged to Queen Alexandra. She was known as Princess of Alexandra of Denmark until she married Queen Victoria’s eldest son—the Prince of Wales. As the Princess of Wales, Alexandra captured the affection of Britain with her beauty and her devotion to a variety of causes. When the Princes of Wales ascended the throne as King Edward VII, Alexandra became the Queen Consort and—despite her increasing deafness, frequent inability to walk and her husband’s very public infidelities—served the Empire to the best of her abilities.

This penknife of etched, blued and gilded steel was made to commemorate the marriage of the Prince of Wales to Princess Alexandra. On one side of the knife is adorned with the letter A, set between the arms of England and Sweden and Norway. The other side’s decoration is a little more peculiar. It shows to images of interlacing monsters between which is a seated figure of a Norseman playing a harp—as one does when seated between two monsters.

The penknife was made in Denmark for the Princess of Wales in 1863. 

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