|Queen Victoria's Small Diamond Crown|
The Royal Collection
Image Via The Royal Collection Trust and
Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Click on image above for larger size.
Made by R.S. Garrard & Co. in 1870 for Queen Victoria, this is the crown most associated with Her Majesty. Comprised of a silver frame, this pice is set with 1,187 brilliant-cut and rose-cut diamonds in open-backed collet mounts.
The band of the crown is formed of a frieze of lozenges and ovals in oval apertures--set between two rows of single diamonds. This forms the support for four crosses-pattée and four fleurs-de-lis, as well as the four half-arches above. These arches, as is the tradition of such crowns, are surmounted by a monde and a further cross-pattée.
This crown, made several years after the death of Prince Albert, was specifically designed to be worn by Queen Victoria on top of her widow's cap. Queen Victoria wished for the crown to be light and wearable, as one does.
The curators of The Royal Collection suggest:
...the crown may have been based on Queen Charlotte's nuptual crown which had been returned to Hanover earlier in the reign.
One February 9, 1871, Victoria debuted the crown at the opening of Parliament, and thereafter wore it for State occasions and for formal receptions. She favored the headpiece so much that she's depicted in a variety of portraits from her later reign wearing it. For less formal occasions, the removal arches were taken off.
The crown had become so iconic of Queen Victoria, that upon her death, it was placed on her coffin at Osborne House.
Queen Alexandra often wore the crown following Queen Victoria's death, and, then, Queen Mary did for awhile. After the his coronation, King George VI added it to the regalia at the Tower of London, although, I should note that it has never been used at a coronation ceremony.