One of The Queen's most cherished jewels is Queen Victoria's Wedding Brooch. The stunning sapphire and diamond pendant dates back to the 1840s, and has made dozens of royal appearances over the years. The most recent being a reception for secretaries at The Queen's Gallery on Feb. 21, where the monarch accessorized her elegant blue and white lace dress with the beloved gem.
The spectacular jewel is one of the Queen's most treasured possessions, as it was a gift given to her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria from her soon-to-be husband Prince Albert on the eve of their wedding.
The 17th-century monarch loved the gift so much, she wore it on her wedding day and many times after up until the tragic death of her husband in 1861. It was the perfect finishing touch to her bridal attire, which included a necklace and earrings set given to her in 1838 by Sultan Mahmud of Turkey.
The monarchy's Royal Collection is unsure where the sapphire and diamonds originated from, but theorize that Albert my have purchased the completed piece from a leading London jeweller such as Kitching & Abud or Mortimer & Hunt, or sourced it from abroad.
Regardless, Victoria was besotted with the brooch and made sure it would have a lasting place in her family's history by designating it a heirloom of the Crown in her will. This means that the brooch will forever be in the reigning monarch's possession.
Before Queen Elizabeth II inherited the brooch upon her accession to the throne in 1952, her mother and grandmother, Queen Mary, both wore the jewel on many occasions. In addition to wearing it at this year's Ascot celebration, the Queen has sported the accessory for a variety of events, including visits to Barbados and Ireland.
In a meaningful nod to its history and owners, the monarch chose to wear the brooch to Prince William's christening in 1982. As William is heir to the throne, the family heirloom will one day be his before it is passed down to his son Prince George.
The brooch may appear familiar to royal watchers of Princess Anne. The Queen's daughter has been spotted wearing a sapphire and diamond adornment in years past, and although it looks strikingly similar to Queen Victoria's Wedding Brooch, it is in fact another piece in the royal jewelry collection. The late consort to Queen Victoria commissioned the similar but much smaller brooch for his wife in honour of her 26th birthday.