Queen Victoria’s gift to be sold at auction

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A granite bracelet given by Queen Victoria at her Deeside retreat to mark the engagement of her daughter, Princess Louse, is to be sold at auction in Edinburgh.

The engagement took place on the Balmoral Estate on 3 October 1870.

Princess Louise, her future fiancé Lord Lorne, the Lord Chancellor and the Lady of the Bedchamber, the Marchioness of Ely, went for a walk on the Estate.

At some point the couple were left tactfully alone and as Victoria’s wrote in her diary: “This was an eventful day! Our dear Louise was engaged to Lord Lorne.

“The event took place during a walk from Glassalt Shiel to the Dhu Loch. She had gone there with Janie Ely, the Lord Chancellor, and Lorne.”

The news was not welcomed by all members of the Royal Family, some of whom disapproved of Lorne because of his social position.

Although he was heir to the Duke of Argyll and a high ranking aristocrat, Lorne was a subject of the Queen and not a member of a royal house.

Victoria however strongly supported her daughter’s choice which she believed would make her happier than being forced into a dynastic marriage and welcomed an infusion of new blood into the family.

The bracelet, which is estimated at £600-800, was commissioned to mark the happy event and is inscribed ‘TO THE MARCHONESS OF ELY IN RECOLLECTION OF THE DHU LOCH 3RD OCTR 1870 FROM VICTORIA R’.

It is formed as a series of six circular cabochon-cut granites, flanking an oval cabochon-cut granite, all framed by Celtic knotwork design silver mounts, the central plaque opening to reveal a locket compartment containing a over painted photograph of the Princess Louise.

Its recipient Jane Ely, Marchioness of Ely – known as Janie - was a rather put- upon figure who lived in constant fear of the Queen and was famous for her lack of discretion.

She was, however, fiercely loyal to Victoria who in turn was very fond of her.

The bracelet is to be sold at Bonhams annual Scottish sale in Edinburgh on 29 August.