She who pwns people with history

A gold bracelet Queen Victoria had inscribed with a poignant message from her late husband which was then gifted to one of her daughters has been discovered.

The gold, diamond, pearl and enamel band was bought by Victoria and Prince Albert for a wedding present to Princess Alice.

Albert tragically died six months before the big day which went ahead, although Alice was instructed to wear black mourning dress immediately before and after her marriage to Prince Louis of Hesse.

Victoria inscribed the bracelet with with a message from both of them.

The message reads: ‘To dear Alice from her loving parents Albert and Victoria R who though visibly parted are ever united, April 25 1862.’

Victoria presented the memento to the princess three months before the ceremony and four months after Albert’s untimely death.

 

It is thought it was the last significant item the couple had commissioned for any of their children.

The bracelet features a portrait of the princess on the front next to a picture of a ship to signify her leaving the family home and moving to Germany with her new husband.

Princess Alice died in 1878 and the bracelet is thought to have been passed on to her second eldest daughter, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.

It is thought the band left the family after the empress was executed with her husband Tsar Nicholas II during the Russian Revolution in 1918.

It was acquired by Professor Leonard Shaw, a millionaire engineer and antiques collector, who kept it at his home on Guernsey.

An auctioneer visited the property after he died aged 98 in November 2010 and discovered the rare piece of royal memorabilia amongst the vast collection.

The item is to be sold with a pre-sale estimate of £10,000. James Bridges, director at Martel Maides Auctions in Guernsey, said: ‘The bracelet was found as part of Professor Shaw’s collection after he passed away.

'He had a huge collection of jewellery and pocket watches, he was a real philanthropist, but we don't know how he came to acquire the bracelet.

'He bought a lot at auction in the 1960s through to the 1980s but it could have been from a private seller. I would be surprised if it was ever on the market before now.

'Princess Alice was engaged in 1861 and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert commissioned the bracelet to be made before she moved to Germany with her husband.

'The message on the back can be read in two ways; to signify her leaving the family behind or because Prince Albert was apart from his wife and daughter after his death.

'Princess Alice died when she was 35 and had seven children but two of them were murdered in Russia. It could have been here that the bracelet left the family.

'Queen Victoria liked giving jewellery as gifts to people such as nannies and godparents, but it is unusual to have something she gave one of her children for sale. It is incredibly rare.'

Princess Alice’s wedding at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight was described as ‘most sombre of Royal weddings’ following her father’s death.

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