A Real Love Story Marked by Memorial Jewellery
There was a girl called Alexandrina who fell in love with a young prince.
This is the stuff of fairy tales but this one is true. When Alexandrina ascended to the British throne in 1837, she promoted her middle name and became Queen Victoria and he was Prince Albert. Despite the heavy duties and extreme pressures of state, Victoria remained deeply in love and devoted to Albert who stayed by her side until his untimely death. She remained in mourning until her own death, forty years later.
Many think of Victoria as a somewhat stiff and cool lady. She was very far from that. To her immediate family, she could be very warm and tactile and was strongly engaged in creating and marking memories for her family and close friends. Albert, too, loved to create events and mark them with mementoes, mostly for Victoria. Despite their regal exterior, they were both incurable romantics.
Victoria was the original exemplar of a working mum. Busy as she was with matters of state she had nine children. Clearly, family planning was not the issue of her day! Just imagine – she was pregnant for almost a third of the 21 years of her married life! Truly a very busy woman.
She was not a devotee of haute couture even though state occasions required her to appear so. Neither was she a lover of expensive jewellery although she did “blow the minds” of the Parisian courtiers in 1855 when she wore the famous Koh-i-nor diamond, which had been totally recut under Prince Albert’s supervision.
Victoria was given many pieces of jewellery in her lifetime but she treasured the pieces that had meaning rather than great value. She would have each meaningful piece engraved with the date of the significant event.
As each of her children was born, she had a twist of their baby hair made into an enamelled heart locket and mounted on to her gold bracelet.