A long battle to keep one of Queen Victoria’s most magnificent jewels in the UK seems to have been won.
The Queen’s sapphire and diamond coronet is now heading to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London after it was bought and donated by an Irish-American hedge fund owner, identified by the Sunday Times as William Bollinger.
The iconic jewel, designed by the Queen’s dear husband Prince Albert to match a brooch he gave her the day before their wedding in 1840, will go on public display in 2019, when a gallery named after Bollinger will have been refurbished.
The purchase ends a long saga which saw the UK government issue an export ban on the £5 million jewel after an anonymous buyer applied for an export licence.
Former culture minister Matt Hancock, who triggered the ban, said at the time that the tiara was one of Britain’s “most iconic jewels from a pivotal period in our history and symbolises one of our nation’s most famous love stories.”
The ban came after a recommendation by the reviewing committee on the export of works of art and objects of cultural interest, which said that the coronet had ”close connection with the UK’s history and national life.”
The coronet was crafted by goldsmith Joseph Kitching in 1842 at a cost of £415. The stones used in the process came from jewellery given to Victoria by her uncle King William IV and his wife Queen Adelaide.
The coronet is 11.5cm wide and is mounted with 11 sapphires set in gold with silver diamonds. It featured in of the official portraits of the Queen painted by German artist Franz Xaver Winterhalter in 1842.
It was also famously worn by the queen in the 1866 State Opening of Parliament- the first state appearance since the death of the Prince Consort in 1861. On the same occasion, she also wore the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond, another piece of jewellery to attract intense debate.