Jewellery

Britain’s tiniest Crown Jewels on display at Windsor Castle

To celebrate 100 years of Queen Mary's exquisite doll's house, the model and its astonishing contents is now on display at Windsor Castle - including its tiny, but very real, Crown Jewels

18 January 2024

By Kim Parker

It’s truly a palace fit for a Thumbellina-style Royal Family. This year, Britain’s Royal Collection Trust is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Queen Mary’s doll’s house, with the astonishing model going on display at Windsor Castle – complete with its own tiny Crown Jewels.

Built between 1921 and 1924 as a gift from the nation to Queen Mary after WWI, the miniature building is an exact 1:12 scale replica of a luxurious Edwardian home, with its own functioning electricity, working lifts and even running water. It was the brainchild of King George V’s cousin, Princess Marie Louise, who recruited the renowned architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, to design the house and created a committee of experts to ensure it was decorated and furnished to the highest order.

Queen Mary's Dolls' House
Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House contains perfect miniatures of many luxurious Edwardian household items, including a functioning grand piano, scissors that can really cut paper, tiny bottles of actual wine and tiny Crown Jewels with real gems.

Fans of Edwardian-inspired dramas such as Downton Abbey will delight in the house’s tiny, lavishly furnished salons and ‘below stairs’ spaces, which are all stocked with contributions from over 1,500 of the era’s best known artists, craftspeople and manufacturers such as Singer sewing machines and Hoover vacuums.

The tiny Crown Jewels on display at Windsor Castle
The tiny Crown Jewels on display at Windsor Castle

And, as befits a present crafted for a Queen famous for her love of sparkling jewellery, the doll’s house contains its own Lilliputian Crown Jewels. The diminutive headpiece was made in 1924 and is a replica of Queen Mary’s State Crown (which was made by Garrard and most recently worn by Queen Camilla at King Charles III’s Coronation). It is set with real diamonds, including a copy of the famous Indian Koh-i-nur diamond, rubies, sapphires, emeralds and lustrous seed pearls.

King George V and Queen Mary
George V (1865 – 1936) with his wife, Queen Mary of Teck (1867 – 1953) in their coronation robes, circa 1911 (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images).

There are also tiny crowns for the King and the Prince of Wales, plus two orbs, a sceptre, the sword of state and two pairs of spurs, just like those that were worn by King George and Queen Mary in 1911 at their coronation.

The teeny jewels, along with the house and the rest of its glittering contents, are now on display at Windsor Castle and will be throughout 2024 to allow visitors to marvel at their miniature magic, 100 years after they first thrilled their Royal owner.

Like this? Discover more about the British Crown Jewels used at the Coronation of King Charles III