George IV State Diadem

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Queen Victoria wearing the diadem

The George IV State Diadem, officially the Diamond Diadem, was made in 1820 by the firm Rundell & Bridge for the coronation of George IV.[1] Originally set with hired jewels, it was designed for the king to wear over his velvet cap of maintenance in the procession to Westminster Abbey,[2] and is now a part of the Royal Collection held in trust by Queen Elizabeth II.

The gold and silver frame is decorated with 1,333 diamonds weighing 320 carats (64 g), including a four-carat yellow diamond in the front cross, and 169 pearls along its base.[3] Its design features roses, thistles and shamrocks, the symbols of England, Scotland and Ireland respectively.[4] When not in use, the diadem is on display at the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace.[5]

It has been worn by every queen and queen consort from Queen Adelaide, the wife of William IV, onwards. The diadem was reset with jewels from the royal collection for Queen Victoria.[6] Queen Elizabeth II wore the diadem in the procession to her coronation in 1953,[7] and she also wears it in the procession to and from the annual State Opening of Parliament.[8]

The iconic piece of jewellery has featured in many portraits of the Queen, including one painted by Lucian Freud in 2001[9] and one by Raphael Maklouf in 1984 that appears on Commonwealth coinage and Machin series stamps.[10] It has also featured on the banknotes of most Commonwealth realms, and those of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Guyana, British Honduras, British Virgin Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, Fiji, Hong Kong, Malaya, Malta, Mauritius, North Borneo, Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Saba, Southern Rhodesia, St Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Diamond Diadem at the Royal Collection.
  2. ^ Ronald Allison; Sarah Riddell (1991). The Royal Encyclopedia. Macmillan Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-333-53810-4. 
  3. ^ The Journal of Gemmology 23. Gemmological Association of Great Britain. 1992. p. 41. 
  4. ^ Paul D. Van Wie (1999). Image, History and Politics: The Coinage of Modern Europe. University Press of America. pp. 63–64. ISBN 978-0-7618-1222-7. 
  5. ^ The Royal Household (25 May 2003). "50 facts about The Queen's Coronation". The Official Website of the British Monarchy. 
  6. ^ Sophie McConnell (1991). Metropolitan Jewelry. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-87099-616-0. 
  7. ^ Don Coolican (1986). Tribute to Her Majesty. Windward/Scott. p. 273. ISBN 978-0-7112-0437-9. 
  8. ^ Jerrold M. Packard (1981). The Queen & Her Court: A Guide to the British Monarchy Today. Scribner. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-684-16796-1. 
  9. ^ "The Queen: Portraits of a Monarch - Lucian Freud". Royal Collection Trust. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  10. ^ Country Life 196. 2002. p. 161. 

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