The late Queen’s iconic £800,000 diamond crown is set to one day be worn by Kate, the Princess of Wales.
The Diamond Diadem headpiece is one of the most symbolic pieces of jewellery in the Royal collection. Queen Elizabeth II wore the crown several times during her reign – including to her first State Opening of Parliament in 1952 and on the journey to her coronation in 1953.
She subsequently wore it to all State Openings and for official photographs – including those used for British and Commonwealth coinage, banknotes and postage stamps.
George IV commissioned jewellers Rundell & Bridge to make the piece in 1820 at a cost of £8,216. Reset with jewels from the royal collection for Queen Victoria, it is estimated to be worth nearly £800,000 today and is one of the rarest pieces in the Crown Jewels collection.
George IV died in 1830 and since then, it has been worn by every queen and queen consort from Queen Adelaide, the wife of William IV, onwards.
So King Charles III's wife, Queen Consort Camilla, is likely to be next to wear the Diamond Diadem. The 75-year-old could wear the statement crown for the upcoming coronation in May.
And when Prince William becomes King, his wife Kate will inherit Camilla's title of Queen Consort. The Princess of Wales will then share the privilege to wear the prized Diamond Diadem.
The Royal Collection Trust, describing the Diamond Diadem , says: “[It is] a silver and gold-lined diadem with an openwork frame set transparent with diamonds; narrow band edged with pearls, surmounted by four crosses-pattée, and four sprays representing the national emblems of England, Ireland and Scotland; roses, shamrocks and thistles.
“[It is] set with 1,333 diamonds, including a four-carat pale yellow brilliant in the centre of the front cross.”
The iconic crown has featured in many portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, including one painted by Lucian Freud in 2001 and one by Raphael Maklouf in 1984, which appears on Commonwealth coinage.
Arnold Machin designed an earlier portrait in the 1960s that was used on coins and the Machin series of postage stamps in the UK.
The diadem has also featured on the banknotes of most Commonwealth realms.
George IV wore the crown over a large velvet 'Spanish' hat at the ceremonies in Westminster Hall and during the walking procession to Westminster Abbey. Queen Elizabeth II, however, preferred to wear it by itself.
The Royal Collection Trust said the original cost of the diadem included a £800 hire charge for the diamonds – although there was no sign that the stones were ever disturbed and returned to jewellers Rundell & Bridge.
The Trust added there was no evidence that the King purchased the stones outright either, so it could be that there was a discreet barter of old stones from George IV's extensive collection.
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