Queen Elizabeth passed away on September 8, and while many titles have already changed hands, there are additionally lots of material affects belonging to the late monarch that need to be shared amongst her family. Much of her famous jewelry belongs to the crown and can’t be distributed permanently to anybody, but her private jewelry collection is another matter.
A royal expert named Katie Nicholl spoke with Entertainment Tonight about who will get what and when.
Will Camilla the Queen Consort receive Elizabeth’s jewels?
“There is a hierarchy in all of this,” Nicholl said. “The Queen Consort, really, gets first choice of the queen’s jewelry. And after that is Princess of Wales, of course, Kate [Middleton]. The Duchess of Sussex, I’m sure, will come in for some jewelry at some point, but she is much further down the pecking order.”
What is the difference between the Queen’s private jewels and the crown jewels?
The biggest technical difference is that the crown jewels “belong to the nation” rather than the individuals who wear them. Nicholl said that something else separating them is that the crown jewels are well-known and documented, whereas her private collection is much more mysterious.
“These are gifts that are given to the queen over her reign but the crown jewels belong to the monarch,” she explained. “They are handed from monarch to monarch in trust for the nation. So, technically, they belong to the monarch, but the monarch isn’t allowed to run off with the crown jewels. They stay safeguarded at the Tower of London in safekeeping for the nation, and when one monarch dies, the crown jewels are immediately passed to their heir.”
How much is Queen Elizabeth’s jewelry collection worth?
Since her collection isn’t well-known outside of her immediate circle, no one can really say what the Queen’s private collection is worth.
“While we can put a value of billions onto the crown jewels, putting a value on the queen’s private collection is much harder, simply because we don’t know every piece in her collection,” Nicholl said. ”And, also, how can you put a price on something that may have been given to her by a world leader or a king or queen or an emperor or an empress 40, 50 years ago? These pieces have so much significance, historical significance, that it’s very hard to put a price on them.”
She added that a jeweler might be able to see pieces she has worn over the years and put a theoretical value on them based on visible stones and settings, they would not be able to take into account the historical or sentimental value of the items. They are “simply priceless.”
What is the most famous piece of jewelry in Queen Elizabeth’s private collection?
Prince Philip proposed to Elizabeth on July 8, 1947, and presented her with a three-carat round cut diamond ring that was supposedly made from a tiara that belonged to his mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg. She will not be interred with this engagement ring, but will be wearing her Welsh gold wedding ring.
“Whoever gets to wear that ring is going to be a very, very special piece indeed,” Nicholl conjectured. “I would imagine, possibly, perhaps for Princess Charlotte. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, will be released by Dial Press in February 2022.