This month, we are 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 Prince Albert’s Sapphire Brooch-
Given as a wedding gift to Queen Victoria by Prince Albert the night before their wedding in 1840, this sapphire surrounded by 12 large diamonds was recorded by Queen Victoria in her diary:
a splendid brooch, a large sapphire set round with diamonds, which is really quite beautiful.”
Queen Victoria first wore the Sapphire Brooch on her wedding day and throughout her life. It was such a favourite that Prince Albert had similar Brooches made for each of their five daughters, one of which was bought by the Queen and is now worn by the Princess Royal.
Prince Albert’s Sapphire Brooch was left to the Crown upon Queen Victoria’s death, and was very rarely worn by Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother).
However, Prince Albert’s Sapphire Brooch became one of the Queen’s most worn brooches after her accession in 1952. A favourite jewel, it was worn to many important events, including the Christening of the Duke of Cambridge in 1982. She has also used the brooch to secure her sash with her Sapphire Tiara and parure. Up until very recently, Prince Albert’s Sapphire Brooch used to be among the yearly most worn brooches, though for the past two years, it has been seen more sparsely.
UPDATE: Queen Camilla wore Prince Albert’s Sapphire Brooch for the first time on the State Visit to Germany in 2023.