Eagle brooch
The Royal Collection © 2012,
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
RCIN 65320

Eagle brooch


Charles Augustus Ferdinand du Vé for R.& S. Garrard

Acquired by Queen Mary

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This is one of the brooches given to each of the twelve ladies - unmarried daughters of the nobility - who carried Queen Victoria's train at her wedding in 1840. According to The Times of 10 February, ‘The whole workmanship [of the brooches] is very superior and exactly in accordance with the directions of the Royal Bride’. The stones used were all highly symbolic: turquoises and pearls representing true love, rubies for passion and diamonds for eternity.

The brooches were manufactured by the London jeweller Charles du Vé. A sketch of the design remains in the archive of his descendants, with a note that he ‘Made 12 … worn by the Bridesmaids at Queen Victoria's marriage’. Du Vé was a watchmaker and jeweller with premises in Maddox Street in London. He was contracted to the firm of R. & S. Garrard, which later claimed responsibility for the eagle brooches.

Queen Victoria appears to have had a hand in the design of the dresses to be worn by her train bearers. She made a watercolour sketch indicating a white dress trimmed with white roses which was given to her Mistress of the Robes, the Duchess of Sutherland. In her Journal the Queen recorded that the dresses ‘had a beautiful effect ’. After the wedding ceremony, each train bearer was presented with one of these brooches in a blue velvet box. Several of these survive in the families of their original recipients, for example at Woburn Abbey and at Hatfield House. An example, possibly this one, belonged to Queen Victoria's granddaughter, Princess Marie Louise (1872-1956).