Sparkling tiaras, the timeless brooches, the impressive necklaces—the late Queen Elizabeth II was renowned for her incredible collection of royal jewelry. But what will happen to those jewels following her recent death?
Royals are notoriously tight-lipped about their personal property, and their wills are confidential. But we can look to the past for clues about the Queen’s possible decisions regarding those who might inherit items from her grand collection of jewels.
Publications from the Royal Collection have shared some details about the plans set out by the Queen’s ancestors regarding the dispersal of their own jewelry collections. In 1925, Queen Alexandra died without a will, but she had made careful annotations in a photographic inventory of her jewelry, identifying specific pieces that should be given to loved ones. Her daughter-in-law, Queen Mary, took over the job of carrying out those wishes, distributing jewels to Alexandra’s relatives and friends.
When Queen Mary died in 1953, she had made more official plans for her jewelry collection. Apart from a few individual bequests, the lion’s share of her collection was bequeathed directly to her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II. Mary’s decision greatly enriched the jewelry collection of the new Queen, who wore her grandmother’s tiaras, earrings, necklaces, and brooches faithfully throughout her seven decades on the throne.
In 2002, when Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother passed away, she followed Queen Mary’s example and left all of her jewelry to her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II. The directives from Mary and Elizabeth helped to keep the collection of historic and important jewels together, rather than dispersing it across various branches of the family tree. Leaving jewelry directly to the monarch has financial benefits as well, as it avoids heavy inheritance taxes.
Queen Elizabeth II was a careful student of history. I expect that she will have followed the same pattern established by her mother and her grandmother and will have bequeathed her entire jewelry collection to the new monarch, King Charles III.
The late Queen regularly loaned fabulous tiaras, necklaces, and brooches to royals like Camilla, Kate, and Sophie. I believe that King Charles and Queen Camilla will now follow in her footsteps, sharing the late monarch’s glittering jewels generously within the family.
You Might Also Like