Queen Victoria’s Strawberry Leaf Tiara

Made for Queen Victoria, this stunning tiara was given to her youngest daughter, and worn by her daughter, Queen Ena of Spain, and daughter-in-law, the Marchioness of Carisbrooke, before disappearing from public view after the 1930s. It’s current whereabouts are unknown.

Originally made by Joseph Kitching in 1844, the piece was altered by Garrard’s in 1848, and again in 1860, when ‘Strawberry leaves, scrolls and Rubies were added to the original ruby and diamond bandeau designed by Prince Albert. Princess Beatrice added an additional row of diamond elements at the base, and the tiara was last altered in 1933 by Cartier, when the Marchioness of Carisbrooke had the rubies removed.

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In July 1849, Queen Victoria wrote in her journal;

Much pleased with a beautiful necklace, earrings & a brooch of rubies & diamonds, which dearest Albert had arranged for me, out of stones of own, with the addition of new ones I purchased with money inherited from Aunt Augusta and Aunt Sophia. The parure is really beautiful, & Albert has such wonderful taste…”

Queen Victoria was depicted in the initial bandeau in a 1855 Winterhalter portrait, and she liked it so much, that the ruby parure was one of the first coloured stones she wore during her mourning. at the wedding of her daughter, Princess Louise, in 1871.

In 1885, Queen Victoria gave the tiara and parure to her youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice, when she married Prince Henry of Battenberg. She added additional elements at the base and wore the Tiara in a portrait by Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida. However, she preferred wearing her Sunray Fringe Tiara for the most important events, like the Coronation of her brother, King Edward VII, in 1902 and the Coronation of her nephew, King George V,  in 1911.

In the early 1920s, Princess Beatrice loaned Queen Victoria’s Strawberry Leaf Tiara to her daughter, by then Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain, who wore the tiara and parure for a series of portraits by Christian Franzen y Nisser.

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At some point in the 1930s, Princess Beatrice passed the tiara to her son and daughter-in-law, the Marquess and Marchioness of Carisbrooke. In the 1930s, Tiara was solely worn by the Marchioness of Carisbrooke, who had the piece altered in 1933. She wore it in her portrait by Phillip de Lazlo, at the Coronation of King George VI in 1937, at the 1938 State Opening of Parliament, and at the Opera during a 1939 State Visit from France. After that, the tiara disappeared from public view, and its current whereabouts are unknown. In 2009, a diamond brooch/pendant thought to have been a lozenge piece from the tiara was sold at Bonhams, and in May 2016, a ruby and diamond brooch belonging to the parure was sold at Christie’s.

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When you ask me which lost pieces I would (hypothetically) like to see back into the royal collection, this is one of the parures that comes to mind. In 1844, a ruby bandeau was designed by Prince Albert for his wife, Victoria. The piece was altered by @houseofgarrard in 1848 and 1860, when the strawberry leaves, scrolls and rubies between were added. Queen Victoria notes in her journal that she is “Much pleased with a beautiful necklace, earrings and a brooch of rubies and diamonds, which dearest Albert had arranged for me, out of stones of own, with the addition of new ones I purchased with money inherited from Aunt Augusta and Aunt Sophia. The parure is really beautiful, and Albert has such wonderful taste…” In 1885, Queen Victoria gave the tiara and the rest of the parure to her youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice, on the occasion of her marriage with Prince Henry of Battenberg. She decided to enlarge the tiara by adding a mirrored version of the strawberry leaves and scrolls to the base. She wore it in a portrait made by Joaquin Sorolla. Later on, Princess Beatrice gave this parure to her daughter, Queen Victoria Eugenia. In 1917, when Alexander Mountbatten was set to marry Lady Irene Denison, King Alfonso and Queen Ena decided to give this set to the new Marchioness of Carisbrooke. The King remarked that the Marquess had almost nothing to offer to his new wife as Queen Ena got the best parure in the family. However, Victoria Eugenia kept the brooch as a souvenir (it was already featured here on the page). In 1933, Lady Irene sent the tiara to Cartier to have the rubies removed. The Marchioness wore the tiara in a portrait by Phillip de Lazlo and for many events she attended as a member of the British Royal Family. The tiara and the rest of parure have disappeared from the public eye as apparently everything was sold/dismantled. The bracelet was sold at Christie’s in 1990. In 2009, a diamond brooch taught to have been a lozenge piece from the tiara was sold at @bonhams1793 and in 2016, the brooch was sold at Christie’s by Infanta Beatriz descendants.

A post shared by Joyas De La Casa Real Española (@spanishroyaljewels) on

For more information, check out:

Royal Magazin

Order of Splendour

Ruby and diamond brooch at christie’s

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