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Royal Collection © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Ring with a miniature of George III
XQG 2004 GIII 441
This ring formed part of a suite of jewels given to Queen Charlotte by the King on their wedding day, 8 September 1761. Charlotte Papendiek records that this ring is set with the ‘likeness of the King in miniature, done exquisitely beautiful for the coin, by our valued friend Jeremiah Meyer’ and was ‘given also to her Majesty to wear on the little finger of the right hand on this auspicious day’. The Queen also received ‘a diamond hoop ring ... a pair of bracelets, consisting of six rows of picked pearls as large as a full pea; the clasps - one his picture, the other his hair and cipher, both set round with diamonds; necklace with diamond cross; earrings, and the additional ornaments of fashion of the day’.
These personal gifts from the King were additional to the magnificent jewels formerly in the collection of George II. The young Queen Charlotte had at her disposal a truly magnificent collection of jewels which made her ‘the first queen since the early seventeenth century to possess jewels rivalling those of Continental royalty’.
On her death the Queen’s vast collection was dispersed; her personal jewels, including the famous diamonds given by the Nabob of Arcot, were left to her four youngest daughters, who sold many pieces. The fate of the ring containing the King’s miniature (set under a large flat-cut diamond) is unclear; it re-entered the collection in 1909. Queen Charlotte’s hereditary jewels, which were bequeathed by her ‘to the House of Hanover, or to be settled upon it, and considered as an Heir Loom, in the direct Line of Succession of that House’, passed to the Prince Regent. Most of these were subsequently lost to the British crown under Queen Victoria when the King of Hanover successfully claimed them as part of his inheritance.
Catalogue entry adapted from George III & Queen Charlotte: Patronage, Collecting and Court Taste, London, 2004