01 March 2017

Jewel History: Jewels of the Queen's Drawing Room (1891)

Queen Victoria in her Golden Jubilee year, 1887

"The Drawing Room"
(excerpts from an article originally published in the Times, 14 Mar 1891)

Her Majesty the Queen [1] held a Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace yesterday afternoon. The Queen, accompanied by the Prince and Princess of Wales [2] and the other members of the Royal Family, entered the Throne Room shortly after 3 o'clock.

Victoria wears her diamond sunray tiara

Her Majesty wore a train of black Maltese lace, lined with black Regency silk and trimmed with a ruche of feathers. The dress was also of black Regency silk, trimmed with black Maltese lace, jet passementerie, and feathers. Her Majesty wore a white tulle veil surmounted by a diadem of diamonds, a necklace and brooches of large opals and diamonds [3], the Riband and Star of the Order of the Garter, the Orders of Victoria and Albert, Crown of India, Louise of Prussia, the Royal Red Cross, and the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Family Order.

The lace worn by the Queen, the design of which represents the rose, thistle, and shamrock, and the Maltese cross, was specially manufactured in Malta, and is a Jubilee gift from the ladies of the Maltese nobility.

Alexandra wears a tiara that may have been set with sapphires

Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales wore a dark blue velvet dress and train lined with a turquoise blue satin and trimmed with sable. Head-dress, a tiara, sapphire and diamonds [4]. Ornaments, sapphire and diamonds. Orders, Victoria and Albert, Crown of India, St. Catherine of Russia, St. John of Jerusalem, the Royal Red Cross, the Jubilee Commemorative Medal, and the Danish Family Order.

Beatrice wears her diamond star tiara on her wedding day

Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice, Princess Henry of Battenberg [5], wore a bodice and train of lilac and gold Indian brocade, with petticoat of lilac silk, trimmed with gold. Head-dress, veil, feathers, and diamond tiara [6]. Ornaments, diamonds. Orders, Victoria and Albert, the Crown of India, St. John of Jerusalem, Hessian, and the Jubilee Medal.

Her Royal Highness Princess Maud of Wales [7] wore a dress of a lovely shade of daffodil satin duchesse, with ruche of mousseline de soie at the foot; corsage of the same, satin trimmed chiffon, and girdle of gold, with jewels; train of the satin-lined same, to correspond. Orders, Victoria and Albert, St. John of Jerusalem, and Jubilee Commemoration Medal. Ornaments, pearls and diamonds.


1. Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom (1819-1901). This drawing room was held almost four years after her Golden Jubilee.

2. King Edward VII (1841-1910) and Queen Alexandra (1844-1925) of the United Kingdom. They were the Prince and Princess of Wales until Victoria's death in 1901.

3. These were the Crown Opals, which Queen Alexandra later remodeled, replacing the opals with rubies. Queen Elizabeth II owns and wears the ruby suite; read more about it here.

4. This may be the tiara that was later set with amethysts and owned by Princess Maud, Countess of Southesk. Alexandra also had a sapphire and diamond choker necklace; both the tiara and the necklace were gifts from her brother-in-law, Tsar Alexander III of Russia.

5. Princess Henry of Battenberg (1857-1944), born Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom. She was the youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert; her daughter, Ena, later became Queen of Spain.

6. This could be the tiara of diamond stars that Queen Victoria gave to Beatrice as a wedding gift.

7. Princess Maud of Wales (), later Queen Maud of Norway. She married her cousin, Prince Charles of Denmark, in 1896; a decade later, he was elected King of Norway. Their grandson, King Harald V, is the country's present king.