Who owns the Queen's jewels and who will inherit them?

As we mourn Queen Elizabeth II many will be wondering who owns the jewels she wore and what will happen to them?

The Queen with Prince Charles and Princess Anne November 1954 Marcus Adams.jpg

The Queen wore a mix of the regal Crown Jewels as well as her own jewels. These jewels sit in two categories. The first category is the Crown Jewels that are property of the Crown and are sacred and ceremonial objects of immeasurable value and historical worth. The second category is the Queen's personal collection that makes up the vast majority of the jewels that she has worn during her lifetime.

Read more about the Queen's jewels here

Who owns the Crown Jewels?

The Crown Jewels are held in trust and are passed from ruler to ruler, meaning King Charles III is now the owner of the 100 Crown Jewels that are kept in the Tower of London. The Crown Jewels are the ceremonial jewels that are worn at State Occasions and notably the Coronation Regalia.  They include St Edward’s Crown (1661), the Imperial State Crown (1937), the Sovereign’s sceptre with Cross (1661) and the Sovereign’s orb (1661).  These jewels are symbols of the sovereignty of the ruler and the nation’s most precious treasures.

The Imperial State Crown (below, right), the Sovereign’s sceptre (below, left) and orb are currently adorning the Queen’s coffin during her lying-in-state in Westminster Hall. They will remain there for the State Funeral and the Committal service on Monday 19th September 2022.

After Joseph Asscher cut the enormous 3,106ct Cullinan diamond in 1902, the two biggest diamonds, Cullinan I and Cullinan II, were set into the Sovereign’s Sceptre and the Imperial State Crown, both of which are part of the British Crown Jewels.

Three different crowns featured in the Queen’s coronation in June 1953. They were in order of appearance: the Diamond Diadem, St Edward’s Crown and the Imperial State Crown. St Edward’s Crown and the Imperial State Crown are part of the Crown Jewels but the Diamond Diadem belongs to the Queen’s personal collection of jewels.

The Diamond Diadem was created for George IV’s coronation in 1821 by Rundell, Bridge & Rundell. It was worn by the Queen on her coronation and to the State Opening of Parliament since the first year of her reign. Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession exhibition at Buckingham Palace

The Queen wore the Diamond Diadem (above) on her way to her coronation as well as to every State Opening of Parliament of her reign. This is the crown the Queen wears in postage stamps bearing her image, instantly recognisable around the world.  The Diamond Diadem was made by Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, in 1820.  The rose, thistle and shamrocks represent England, Scotland and Ireland and are set with 1,333 diamonds. 

Queen Elizabeth II wears Queen Mary's Russian brooch set with a blue sapphire and diamonds with the almost ever-present three strand pearl necklace at the first official engagement at the start of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.

Who owns Queen Elizabeth II’s jewels?

Queen Elizabeth II’s own jewels were her property. The collection is the most magnificent collection of jewels in the world. The collection has been amassed over 400 years, passed down the generations with jewels from many different branches of the family from the Stuarts to the Hanovers. The jewels range from Queen Elizabeth I’s Medici pearls to fabulous Imperial Russian jewels.  The jewels are priceless not only because of their historical provenance that reaches back to the 16th century, but the quality and unique nature of each piece.

Where are the Queen's jewels kept?

The 400 or so tiaras, rings, necklaces and brooches are rich in history and of incalculable value. They are stashed 40 feet under Buckingham Palace in a converted air raid shelter with an alarm connected to the palace’s own police station.

The Cullinan IV and III make up the Queen's most valuable brooch, and the Queen once referred to them as "Granny's Chips" as they were the smaller stones from the impressive raw diamond found in South Africa in 1905.

Among the highlights of the Queen’s jewels are the brooch with two Cullinan diamonds (above): the pear-drop Cullinan III that weighs 94.4 carats and the square-cut Cullinan IV of 63.3 carats. The Cullinan V (below) and VII were also set into brooches by her grandmother Queen Mary.

The Queen pictured at the Epsom Derby in 1962 wearing the Cullinan V Heart brooch made by Garrard in 1911. It is one of the six numbered brooches gifted to Queen Mary. Image: Reginald Davis/Rex Features

The most famous of the 50 tiaras owned by the late Queen are the Diamond Diadem, the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland (below), the Lover’s Knot tiara (worn by both Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge), the Greville tiara (worn by the Duchess of Cornwall) and the Fringe tiara.  Several of these, including the Fringe and Kokoshnik tiaras, can be converted into necklaces 

Queen Elizabeth wears the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, 1956, Baron Studios. Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration Credit line: The Royal Collection (c) 2012, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Who will inherit the Queen’s jewels?

It is likely that these jewels will be passed down to members of the Windsor family and if the Queen follows tradition, she will leave the majority of them to the next monarch, which in this case is King Charles III. But as the Queen’s will is private, there may be some surprises. Who has inherited which jewel will be keeping royal watchers keenly looking out for their re-appearance. One of the most valuable jewels in the Queen's collection is the Nizam of Hyderabad necklace (below) given to her as a wedding present by the Nizam.

The Nizam of Hyderabad necklace was a wedding gift from the ruler of Hyderabad from Cartier in London. Set with approximately 300 diamonds, The Queen wore the necklace for photographs that form the basis of Her Majesty’s image on postage stamps until 1971.Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession exhibition at Buckingham Palace

The Queen had already given some of her jewels to her sons' wives: Camilla, Kate and Meghan.  Kate, the new Princess of Wales, wears Princess Diana’s engagement ring and she chose a pearl and diamond brooch given to her by the Queen for the Cathedral service at Westminster for the lying-in-state.

If tradition prevails, most of the Queen's personal jewels will be passed on to King Charles III and Queen Camilla. It is speculated that Catherine, Princess of Wales will also receive some of the jewels as she will eventually be Queen.


Support our Work with a Contribution of any Amount

We need your help to keep The Jewellery Editor’s independence so that we can continue to offer quality writing that’s open to everyone around the world.

It means we can give a full and varied picture of the big, wide world of jewellery and watches whether it is on our website or social media channels.

Every contribution is hugely appreciated and key to ensuring our future.

Terms and conditions




We use our own and third party cookies to improve your experience and our services. If you continue, we consider that you accept their use. You can get more information on your website at cookies policy.