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A look at Queen Victorias Wedding

This veil, to which the Queen ascribed such sentimental importance and later – deep personal symbolism – is depicted draped over a sofa, with the Queen’s orange-blossom wreath on top of it. Prince Albert in fact, designed for the Queen a set of orange-blossom jewellery, to which pieces were added over the years, from 1839-46. This parure was of porcelain, gold and enamel, with blossoms taken from genuine orange sprigs: “My beloved one gave me such a lovely unexpected present … the leaves are of frosted gold, the orange blossoms of white porcelaine & 4 little green enamel oranges, meant to represent our children.” (Quoted in Charlotte Gere, Victoria & Albert, Love and art: Queen Victoria’s personal jewellery, essay from a study day 5-6 June, 2010, ed. Susanna Avery-Quash). The Queen wore a diamond necklace and long ‘Turkish’ earrings by Rundells, which had been created the previous year out of diamonds presented to her by the Sultan Mahmud II in 1838. A large sapphire, diamond-set brooch, was worn at the front of her dress. This was a gift from Prince Albert; unusually, this brooch – which formed one of the most treasured pieces amongst the Queen’s personal jewellery – does not feature in the painting made of their wedding, ‘The Marriage of Queen Victoria’ by Sir George Hayter, as the author Charlotte Gere has demonstrated. She does, however, wear it in the painting by Franz Xavier Winterhalter, which the Queen gave as a present to Prince Albert on their seventh wedding anniversary, in 1847. It shows the Queen wearing her full wedding attire and jewellery. The brooch was a deeply personal object, all the more so because of the day on which it was worn and because it was a present from Prince Albert. So important was the brooch, that the Queen mentioned it specifically in her journal and later in her will, leaving instructions that it should revert to the Crown on her death.

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