The Orange Blossom Parure was given to Queen Victoria in stages by Prince Albert. The first of the two brooches was sent from Wiesbaden before they were married. The earrings and the second brooch were Christmas gifts in 1845. The chaplet tiara was an anniversary gift given by the Prince on February 10, 1846. She always wore the chaplet on their anniversary while Albert was alive.
Like many of the jewels given to Queen Victoria, the set was entirely Prince Albert’s own design. The leaves are made of frosted gold, the orange blossoms are made of white porcelain and the four green oranges, one to represent each of their children, fashioned from enamel. Great anniversary gift, huh?
Before we kick off a 4-day salute to royal romance, your Blog Hostess wants to apologize for her two-month AWOL stint. There’s a new novel in the works and we’ve been nose-deep in research material. We didn’t forget about our beloved readers, we’ve missed you. We’ve just been so enthusiastic about homework! [Yes. Your Blog Hostess is that kind of a nerd. Go on, laugh. I am.]
175 years ago today on 10th February 1840, a profoundly enamored pair of 20 year-olds were married in the Chapel Royal in St. James’ Palace. When discussing romantic love, does it really matter that the bride was the recently crowned Queen Victoria and the groom was her first cousin Albert, second son of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld? Well, modern science might have something to say about the first cousin part…but this is about romantic love not genetically-flawed offspring.Victoria and Albert remained over-the-moon smitten from their meeting when Victoria was still a princess until Albert’s death 21 years later. Take that ‘Seven-Year Itch!’ The royal pair was always faithful to each other without even a glint of suspicion to the contrary. This fairy tale love helped to restore the public respect and the prestige of the British Monarchy, previously tarnished by the past 3 kings who outwardly flounted their lovers, marginalized their queens and sired countless bastards. [Case in point, Victoria’s predecessor, William IV never sired a legitimate heir. Billy’s siblings had an equally difficult time going legit, save the youngest, Vicky’s daddy, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent.] While many, including your Blog Hostess, tend to dismiss the old “opposites attract” axiom as valid only for magnets, Victoria and Albert prove us wrong. Though Queen Victoria enjoyed a nice sojourn to a royal vacation palace, she was very much a city girl who enjoyed its social scene. Prince Albert was an outdoorsman, acquiring and designing the holiday homes of Balmoral in Scotland and Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight. The Prince-Consort preferred the company of scientists and intellectuals to Court chatter. They royal couple both loved music however Victoria preferred Italian opera while Albert was inclined toward the great German composers.
Albert was a natural-born organizer, the first to put the historically chaotic royal house in order. He created an efficient administration and imposed fiscal control over spending. The elevated social consciousness that came to be associated with the Victorian Era was a direct result of Albert’s high moral concerns, an issue that had never occurred to Victoria. Albert had always adored children, while before meeting her husband and motherhood Victoria considered kids to be “ugly and bothersome frogs.”
From the start they shared a love of horses, dogs and dancing but before meeting Albert, Victoria had never danced a waltz.
Victoria always kept work at work, her post as monarch was strictly separated from her private life. Right before the wedding took place, Albert was naturalized a British citizen by act of Parliament and styled “Royal Highness” by Order of Council. It took years for Albert to be styled “Prince-Consort.” Following her council’s advice, Victoria never made her husband King Consort or King, as Queen Mary did for William of Orange, nor did she confer upon him a royal title like Elizabeth II would do creating Prince Phillip the Duke of Edinburg. Then again, they were so in love their whole lives we wonder, If Albert had asked for a royal title would Queen Victoria have denied him? Then again, Albert just wasn’t that kind of guy.
The kind of guy Albert was? The kind that gives fabulous baubles for anniversaries! Prince Albert gifted many a tiara, circlet and chaplet to his beloved. Often having an active hand in their designs. Your Blog Hostess isn’t a romantic but is this the time to swoon or what?