This month, we have been marking the Bicentenary of the Birth of Queen Victoria by featuring her Top 20 Jewels, one for each decade since the Birth of 2nd-longest reigning British Monarch, in the 20 days leading up to the Anniversary itself, and today’s feature is her Turkish Diamond Parure-
In 1838, Queen Victoria received many diamonds from Sultan Mahmud II of Turkey, which she used to commission a necklace, featuring three diamond rosettes connected by three strands of diamonds, and elaborate earrings from Rundell & Bridge, which she referred to as “my Turkish diamond necklace and earrings.”
The Turkish Diamond Parure was a favourite of Queen Victoria, worn for a plethora of important occasions, including her Wedding, the christenings of some of her children, and some of their weddings, as well as many official portraits throughout her reign.
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When Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia married Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught she received from the future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra a diamond shamrock tiara. I believe this is the tiara worn by The Duchess at the 1911 coronation. It was the only time she was photographed wearing the piece. I believe you can clearly see the small shamrock design just beneath each swirl. As far as I am aware the tiara has not been seen since.
At some point during her lifetime, Queen Victoria gave the necklace (it is unknown what became of the earrings after the 1850s) to her third and favourite son Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, and they were worn by his wife, the Duchess of Connaught, who wore it at the Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia in 1896, the Coronation of King Edward VII in 1902, and the Coronation of George V in 1911. After her death in 1917, Queen Victoria’s Turkish Diamond Necklace was inherited by her only son, Prince Arthur of Connaught, but were not pictured on his wife, Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife, whose nephew and heir, the 3rd Duke of Fife inherited it in 1959, and eventually auctioned the Turkish Diamond Necklace in 1970, when it sold for £23,000. The current location is unknown.