Following the death of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Victoria’s husband, in 1861, Queen Victoria withdrew from public life and wore widow’s weeds, which she continued to wear until her death in 1901. Under government pressure she came back into public view in 1870. However she did not wish to wear her Imperial State Crown again, partly because she found it very heavy and uncomfortable to wear, and partly because it would have been impossible to wear with her mourning veil. The new small crown was created as a replacement. Because of its size it could be worn on top of her veil, so meeting both the ceremonial needs of the British monarchy and her own desired form of dress as a widow.
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