Elizabeth's Jubilee Jewels
This unprecedented openness seems part of the shrewd royal campaign has rehabilitated the image of the monarchy following the lingering public anger after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, and what many saw as royal coldness towards “the people’s princess.” With two photogenic Princes, William and Harry, and William’s wedding to Kate Middleton, it looks like the Firm (as the Queen calls her family) is more popular than ever.
The pieces on exhibit include the Coronation Crown, created in 1858 and worn by Queen Victoria as well as the current Queen for her coronation in 1952; the Girls of Great Britain tiara, given to Elizabeth’s grandmother from a fundraising campaign across the country; and the jewelry made from the Cullinan Diamond. The diamond, the largest ever, was cut into nine stones that form the centerpieces of several jaw-dropping pieces. One of the stones – 530 carats – tops the Queen’s royal scepter.
And there’s one particularly poignant piece: the Small Diamond Crown made for Queen Victoria. The piece, which measures a bit less than 4 x 4 inches, enabled the queen to officially wear a crown while still wearing a mourning veil for her late husband.
But there’s one significant omission in the exhibition and its catalog. There’s no mention of the Duke of Windsor and and his scandalous abandonment of the throne in 1936 for Wallis Simpson, “the woman I love.” Mrs. Simpson, never a favorite of the royal family, may have been given some of its jewels. But there’s no mention of either the Duke or Mrs. Simpson in the catalogue.