Victoria’s bow brooches are a trio of bows, two large and one small, that – unsurprisingly – belonged to Queen Victoria. The Queen is regularly seen in one of these easy-to-wear brooches, and it certainly makes the top five of her most-worn pieces. She also wore it when she became the longest-reigning British Monarch in history this year.
Her Majesty usually sports a large one for day wear and occasionally uses the smaller one as sash pins on more formal occasions, though the difference in size is minimal.
Victoria asked Garrard to make her three brooches in 1858, with over 500 diamonds she had in storage. She left them to The Crown after her death in 1901, and so they have been passed on from Queen to Queen ever since.
Queen Alexandra and Mary used them as more than brooches in their respective tenures as Queen, creating makeshift stomachers from them, amongst other things (see the image below). Look at Order of Splendour here to see the bows being worn over the years, including The Duchess of York using it at the top button of her shirt in the 1980s!
Mary wearing the bows from her bust as a stomacher. Alexandra wore them as a skirt decoration.
Pictures: Royal Navy Media Archive and Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014