Queen Elizabeth II's Jewellery: What Will Happen To Her Precious Jewels Now That She Has Died

·4-min read
Photo credit: John Shelley Collection/Avalon - Getty Images
Photo credit: John Shelley Collection/Avalon - Getty Images

As our initial shock and grief over Queen Elizabeth II's death has begun to wane, in the days that have followed her passing, the British public have begun to ask questions about the the Queen's estate, where King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla will live now that he is to be the reigning monarch, what our bank notes are going to look like and who will inherit the Queen's incredible collection of jewellery, including her tiaras.

Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images
Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

When we speak of Queen Elizabeth II's jewellery, we must remember that the collection is divided in ownership already. There are the Crown Jewels, comprising of over 100 near-priceless treasures and more than 23,000 gemstones, which are party of the Royal Collection that has been housed in the Tower of London since the 1600s.

The jewels that are on display at the Tower of London belong to the Crown, rather than any single person and as such they will remain in the Royal Collection, held in trust for ruler and nation, to be used by the succeeding reigning monarch.

Queen Elizabeth II also had a private collection of jewellery, comprising of pieces she inherited, received as a gift by family members or bought for herself.

Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images

In terms of the jewellery that she inherited, we know that when Queen Mary died in 1953, most of her jewellery was left to her granddaughter, later Queen Elizabeth II. Mary was Queen Consort, married to King-Emperor George V. She only had one daughter, Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood and so it follows that she left much of her jewellery collection to her granddaughter Elizabeth.

When the Queen's Mother passed away, she also left a considerable jewellery collection to her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II. So there are plenty of sentimental heirlooms among the assortment.

It is thought that there are as many as 50 tiaras in the Queen's private collection, which may now be passed down to the younger women in her immediate family.

Photo credit: Diana Walker - Getty Images
Photo credit: Diana Walker - Getty Images

Over the years, the Queen was prone to lending out her tiaras to family members for formal events. Catherine, newly the Princess of Wales, wore the Cartier Halo tiara, featuring around 1,000 diamonds, for her wedding to Prince William. The Queen also loaned Meghan Markle an incredible, art-deco diamond bandeau tiara for her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018.

Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images
Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

As the Queen's will is private, we can't be certain which granddaughter-in-law or great-granddaughter stands to inherit these tiaras for keeps, but with the Duchess of Sussex in line to become Queen Consort once Prince William takes the throne, odds are that she will receive a generous selection of the gems.

In fact, the Queen had already been in the habit of gifting jewellery to family members in advance of her death, including to the late Princess Diana and also to Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

In 2017, the Duchess of Cambridge was gifted the Royal Family Order, which is a brooch emblazoned with the image of the Queen, and made from glass. The Order is usually gifted to honour a female family member for their service to the crown. On arrival to Westminster Hall, for the service that initiated the late Queen's period of Lying-in-State, the Princess of Wales wore a pearl and diamond leaf brooch which was on longterm-loan from the Queen.

Photo credit: VICTORIA JONES - Getty Images
Photo credit: VICTORIA JONES - Getty Images

For the same service, Meghan Markle wore a pair of diamond and pearl earrings that had been given to her by the Queen, which she wore for the first time in 2018, when visiting Storyhouse and Town Hall in Chester with Her Majesty.

As for Camilla Parker Bowles, who serves as Queen Consort while Charles III is King, it is thought that she will be given the Kohinoor crown, which forms part of the Royal rather than the private collection. It is a crown that contains some of the most famous diamonds in the world.

Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images
Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images

The 105.6-carat Kohinoor diamond was mined in India thousands years ago and it is one of the largest cut diamonds in the world. It was initially a brooch made for Queen Victoria, but was later mounted in the crowns worn by Queen Alexandra and Queen Mary. It's current setting is in the crown that was engineered for Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, for her coronation as Queen Consort in 1937, so it follows that this will be the crown worn by Camilla when she is crowned Queen Consort at King Charles III's coronation.

For Queen Elizabeth's own coronation, she wore the Imperial State Crown, which now sits atop her coffin as it lies in state in England, plus she held the Sovereign's Sceptre with cross, created in 1661, and the Sovereign's Orb, also created in 1661.

Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images
Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

At the coronation of King Charles III, on the other hand, the Archbishop of Canterbury is to place St Edward's Crown on the new King's head.

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