Queen Victoria’s wedding ceremony ring – a logo of the passionate marriage she had with Prince Albert – Royal Central
Queen Victoria’s wedding ring has its special edge, a symbol of the passionate marriage she had with Prince Albert. Put on her finger on the morning of February 10, 1840, her private instruction made sure she would wear it forever. What do we know about it?
If we study the paintings and engravings depicting the hands of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, we can look for the wedding ring she attached such great personal importance to. The fashionable painter Franz Xaver Winterhalter created an exquisite picture The Linked Hands of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, which followed the sentimental tradition of the art of love, although it acquired a later, moving quality because on Prince Albert’s deathbed in Windsor the Queen would “hold the hand that includes mine … ”and in her coffin she ordered that a cast of“ my beloved husband’s hand ”should be among the memorabilia.
Reflecting on the morning of their wedding at Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace, the Queen noted in her diary: “The ceremony … should leave a lasting impression on anyone who promises at the altar to keep what he promises” ( cit., Elizabeth Longford, Queen Victoria, 152). The artist Sir George Hayter captured the moment at the altar in his large painting of Queen Victoria’s wedding; Prince Albert put her wedding ring on her finger. The evening before the wedding, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had practiced the wedding ceremony and putting on their ring: “We read through the wedding ceremony together and tried to handle the ring”.
- February 10, 1840: Queen Victoria (1819-1901) and Prince Albert (1819-1861) on their return from the wedding ceremony at St. James’s Palace, London. Original Art: Engraved by S Reynolds after F Lock. (Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
On the same day before the wedding, Queen Victoria noted in her diary that she had received a “beautiful” prayer book from her mother, the Duchess of Kent. Prince Albert received a prayer book from the Duchess of Kent on the wedding day – the Duchess of Kent is also his aunt. Wrapped in dark green velvet with a bookmark made of semi-precious stones, the first letters of which mean VICTORIA: vermeil, jargoon, chrysolite, turquoise, opal, ruby, again jargoon and amethyst. The golden clasp consists of two clasped hands and is reminiscent of the joining of hands at a royal wedding. The Queen wrote in her diary: “I felt so happy when Albert put on the ring” (Ed. Lord Esher., The Girlhood of Queen Victoria, A Selection of Her Majesty’s diaries between the years 1832 and 1840, 320) .
When she returned to Buckingham Palace for the wedding breakfast, she first went upstairs to her dressing room, where she spent a blissful half hour with Prince Albert: “sat on the sofa”. During this time, Queen Victoria appears to have privately presented his wedding ring to Prince Albert (Longford, 152).
On the occasion of her wedding to Prince Albert, the Queen had received a beautiful ring from her beloved half-sister Feodore, Princess von Hohenlohe-Langenburg. It showed a crowned double heart and was inscribed ‘Unis a jamais’ in French. [United forever].
Queen Victoria’s hands became proverbial in her later reign for wearing an entire collection of rings. She clearly continued to associate them naturally with marriage. We know this because she gave her beloved granddaughter Princess Alix von Hessen a ring when she married the new Tsar Nicholas II. Just married, Alexandra thanked her grandmother for a pendant with her portrait and the “beautiful” ring she had worn at the imperial wedding (Andrei Maylunas and Sergei Mironenko, A Lifelong Passion, 112).
When the Queen’s body was being prepared for the funeral according to her private instructions, it was clear that she wanted to put her wedding ring on her finger, which was correct. A number of other rings were also put on her fingers, including, incredibly, the simple gold wedding ring that had once belonged to the mother of her loyal Highland servant, John Brown. This ring has apparently been worn by the Queen since Brown’s death in 1883 (Kate Hubbard, Serving Victoria, Life in the Royal Household, 359).
The marble portrait of the queen may be wearing a ring; her figure is certainly clutching a scepter and is crowned, which shows that Prince Albert’s wife – and she appeared in this portrait as an eternally young woman – was unmistakably a queen. I cannot yet determine this, as the photographs I examined do not show the portrait from an angle that allows the left hand to be viewed.
Unmistakably, however, the wedding ring she had received in 1840 was a symbol of that day, which she ever considered to be the “happiest” of her life.