Posted by Boffer on June 28, 2012, 7:45 pm
After detailed research into the subject, through both primary and secondary sources, I believe I have now established the full chronology of the various diamonds and circlets in the Royal Collection from the time of Queen Charlotte to The Queen. |
Queen Charlotte had a tripartite stomacher made during the early years of her marriage, using stones that had been in the collection of Queen Caroline, including the large Cumberland Diamond; all of these stones would later be included in the Hanoverian Claim.
Queen Adelaide had the stones from removed from Queen Charlotte’s stomacher in 1830, and these were temporarily set into her Coronation Crown. Following the coronation, her crown was dismantled, and some of the diamonds were reset into the smallest section of ‘Queen Charlotte’s Stomacher’ – the other two larger sections of the stomacher were never reset, as the diamonds (including the large Cumberland Diamond) were set into ‘Queen Adelaide’s Circlet’.
In 1837, Queen Victoria inherited both the Diamond Diadem (that George IV had made in 1820) and also ‘Queen Adelaide’s Circlet’, as well as the smallest part of ‘Queen Charlotte’s Stomacher’.
In 1852, ‘Queen Adelaide’s Circlet’ was dismantled, and the stones were used to create ‘Queen Victoria’s Regal Circlet’, this work was carried out as it was deemed easier to create a wholly new circlet than to try and remodel ‘Queen Adelaide’s Circlet’ to hold the Koh-i-Nor diamond. This new regal circlet also contained the Cumberland Diamond set in the front of the band.
The remaining part of Queen Charlotte’s Stomacher was also dismantled by Queen Victoria, with the diamonds being incorporated into the new ‘Queen Victoria’s Oriental Circlet’ that was commissioned. This tiara was originally a whole circlet.
In 1858, as many of the diamonds in these two circlets were taken from ‘Queen Charlotte’s Stomacher’, they thus underwent alterations as part of the Hanoverian Claim.
‘Queen Victoria’s Regal Circlet’ was dismantled and the stones were returned to Hanover, including the Cumberland Diamonds. These stones were replaced by stones from the Queen’s collection and also stones furnished by Garrard. The cost of the refurbishment of this circlet does not appear in the Garrard Royal Ledgers, as the cost was met by the Paymaster General, not the Royal Household. It is of note that the large Cumberland Diamond was replaced with a similarly large stone that had been gifted to Queen Victoria by the Sultan of Turkey (it was included in the same gift as the diamonds included in ‘Queen Victoria’s Fringe Brooch’ – as recorded in Roberts).
Due the Hanoverian Claim, part of the ‘Queen Victoria’s Oriental Circlet’ had to be dismantled to removed the stones that had come from ‘Queen Charlotte’s Stomacher’. It was thus at this time that the tiara was altered, as rather than recreating the whole piece with new stones, it was decided to alter the back of the piece, meaning that it was no longer a whole circlet.
Thus ‘The Diamond Diadem’, ‘Queen Victoria’s Regal Circlet’ and ‘Queen Victoria’s Oriental Circlet’ passed to Queen Alexandra in 1901. Queen Alexandra subsequently altered the oriental circlet to include rubies instead of opals.
In 1910 when all three pieces passed to Queen Mary, Queen Alexandra commissioned her own Circlet; ‘Queen Alexandra’s Circlet’ included the Cullinan VII stone. This circlet later passed to Queen Maud of Norway (without the Cullinan VII stone, which passed to Queen Mary, both in 1925).
In 1911, Queen Mary first wore ‘Queen Victoria’s Regal Circlet’ to the first state opening of parliament of the new reign, therein after, she wore her own circlet.
In 1936, all three pieces again passed to Queen Elizabeth, then the decision was taken to dismantle ‘Queen Victoria’s Regal Circlet’ and the stones were used to furnish Queen Elizabeth’s new crown; which could also be dismantled to be worn as a circlet.
Thus today, the Royal Collection includes 'The Diamond Diadem', 'Queen Victoria's Regal Circlet', the circlet from 'Queen Mary's Crown' and the circlet from 'Queen Elizabeth's Crown', the latter two of which are kept in the Jewel House of the Tower of London.
I am in the process of creating very detailed and referenced notes on all the above mentioned pieces. Yet I thought I would share with you my overview of the ‘story of the stones and pieces’. To help clarify previous discussions and affirm my own conclusions based on those discussions and my subsequent research.