The jewellery used by The Royal Family’s female members is partly personal jewellery, partly jewels owned by The Danish Royal Property Trust and, finally, the crown jewels.

The Royal House of Denmark’s jewellery collection includes inherited, gifted, purchased and borrowed jewels, which are best known from the large gala arrangements such as the New Year’s banquet, state visits and round birthday and anniversary celebrations. On these occasions, the historical jewels are worn as part of the traditional display of splendour, but at the same time are a tangible reflection of The Royal House of Denmark’s familial and diplomatic relationships through the centuries with the countries surrounding us.

The jewellery used by the female members of The Royal Family is partly personal jewellery, partly jewels owned by The Danish Royal Property Trust and, finally, the crown jewels, which since the 1700s have been placed at the disposal of the sitting queen.

The Jewellery in The Danish Royal Property Trust

A group of distinctive jewels worn by HM The Queen are the jewels from The Danish Royal Property Trust. The Danish Royal Property Trust was established by Frederik VIII and Queen Lovisa in 1910. The purpose was to collect and secure gold, silver and other valuable objects ‘which are desired to be kept in Our Family and therefore shall pass undivided from King to King of our House’.

The objects in a type of trust known as a fideicommissum are passed down from generation to generation. They are not owned by the individual person, and a sale or pledging of the inheritance is therefore not possible. In The Danish Royal Property Trust, this means that the important collections – not least co-founder Queen Lovisa’s large inheritance from her Dutch, German, French and Swedish ancestors – have been able to be kept together in The Royal House of Denmark.

The Danish Royal Property Trust’s jewellery is used by the sitting queen and can be taken abroad to be worn at events there.

The Crown Jewels

The most striking jewels worn by The Queen are the crown jewels, which primarily consist of four large jewellery sets, or garnitures as they are also called: an emerald set, a brilliant-cut diamond set, a pearl-ruby set and a rose-cut diamond set. The garnitures all consist of necklaces, earrings and brooches. The emerald set also has a tiara. The jewellery can be divided so that the individual pieces can be combined in different ways.

The crown jewels belong to The Crown, that is to say, to the monarch and his queen, and they are thus at the disposal of the sitting queen.

It is customary that the crown jewels remain in Denmark, which means that they are not taken along on visits abroad. On those occasions, The Queen’s personal jewellery or jewellery from The Danish Royal Property Trust is worn instead.

When the crown jewels are not in use, they are exhibited in the secured cellar under Rosenborg Castle. The Danish crown jewels are thus the only ones in the world that are both museum objects and used by the country’s queen.

The history of the crown jewels goes back to Christian VI’s queen, Queen Sophie Magdalene, who in her will from 1746 stipulated that her jewellery should not be passed to one specific person, but should always be at the disposal of the country’s sitting queen, with the justification that ‘in this Royal House, there are so few jewels and no crown jewels at all’. Most of Queen Sophie Magdalene’s original jewellery has been modified by subsequent queens as jewellery fashions have changed.

Today, the four crown jewel sets are in the form that Christian VIII’s queen, Queen Caroline Amalie, gave them between 1840 and 1842. With recycling of Queen Sophie Magdalene’s original jewels, supplemented with extra gemstones, she had four garnitures made in keeping with the prevailing fashion in the Napoleonic Era by the jewellery maker C.M. Weishaupt & Söhne in Hessen.

In addition to the four large garnitures, the crown jewels consist of additions to the collection by subsequent queens. Among others, a jewellery set from Countess Danner, Frederik VII’s morganatic spouse, with amethysts, citrines, pearls and diamonds from 1860, and the pearl ‘bayadère’ of Frederik VIII’s queen, Queen Lovisa: a very long pearl necklace with pearl tassels as well as her three pearl bracelets with brilliant diamond- and emerald-adorned clasps.

The Crown Jewels at Rosenborg Castle

At Rosenborg Castle, you can find the four jewellery sets designated as crown jewels. Rosenborg Castle is open to the public.