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Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia

3 of 45 portraits of Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia

Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia, studio of Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt, (circa 1623) - NPG 71 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia

studio of Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt
oil on panel, (circa 1623)
27 1/2 in. x 23 1/2 in. (699 mm x 597 mm)
Purchased, 1859
Primary Collection
NPG 71

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In this portrait she may be shown wearing the famous Medici Pearls, also known as the Hanover Pearls, six strands joined together in a thick rope. The pearls have a long history. They were originally given to Catherine of Medici by Pope Clement VII; she in turn gave them to her niece, Mary, Queen of Scots. When Mary died the pearls were, it is thought, confiscated by Elizabeth I. On Elizabeth's death they passed to Mary's son James I who gave them to his daughter, Elizabeth of Bohemia. Elizabeth in turn gave them to her daughter Sophia on her marriage to the Elector of Hanover. The pearls returned to England with Sophia's son, George I, and remained here until the reign of Queen Victoria. Victoria refused to return the pearls to her uncle, the Duke of Cumberland, when he became the Elector. This led to a court case which lasted for twenty years and which was eventually settled in favour of Hanover. The pearls may never have been returned however. Queen Alexandra wore a choker of them and it is said that Elizabeth II has earrings and a diadem of the same provenance.

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