Today marks the 230th Anniversary of the Birth of Queen Adelaide, who was born on this day in 1792! The Princess of Saxe-Meiningen who was Queen of the United Kingdom and Hanover for almost seven years, Queen Adelaide is known as the beloved aunt of Queen Victoria and her jewellery legacy is the Hanoverian Fringe Tiara and this spectacular Diamond Brooch!
In 1831, King William IV and Queen Adelaide had this spectacular Diamond Brooch created by the Crown Jeweller Rundell and Bridge, to be worn as the clasp of a Pearl Necklace by Queen Adelaide, with the large central diamond and the six diamonds in the perimeter coming from a Badge of the Order of the Bath belonging to King George III.
The Diamond Clasp/Brooch was given to Queen Victoria, who, while she was never pictured or photographed in the piece (she may have worn it for her Winterhalter Portrait) unlike Queen Adelaide’s Fringe Tiara, designated it an heirloom of the Crown, and thus it was worn by Queen Alexandra for the State Opening of Parliament in 1901. Queen Mary wore the Brooch with Queen Adelaide’s Fringe through the 1910s and 1920s, while Queen Elizabeth was pictured wearing the Brooch with the Diamond Hoop Tiara for a Gala Performance at Covent Garden in 1946.
As an Heirloom of the Crown, the Brooch was one of the pieces inherited by Queen Elizabeth II in 1952 and despite the size of its diamonds and previous use, it has mainly been used for daytime events since the 1950s, with an exception at the Commonwealth Banquet in 1999, but its most iconic appearence came in 2012, when the Queen joined James Bond for a sketch as she arrived to the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Queen Adelaide’s Diamond Brooch has not been publicly worn in almost a decade but lets hope it makes another appearence soon!