|When George IV died, he was buried on his own instructions with a diamond-clad love token of his secret wife around his neck, cementing forever the illicit love which had scandalized society.|
The token’s other half, a matching locket containing a miniature portrait of the king, was kept by Maria Fitzherbert, said to have been clutched in her own hand as she died in 1837.
| 200 years later that other half, which George IV as a handsome young knight, can be seen by the public for the first time, as the descendants of Mrs Fitzherbert offer it for sale. The locket, which is encrusted with 18 diamonds, is said to hold the key to the unconventional romantic life of George IV, who flouted convention and his duties to the crown for true love. The item, which has never been seen in public, is to be offered at Christie’s for an estimate of up to £120,000|
According to records, this portrait and its twin each cost £26.5 around 1800, during a happy period in which the couple lived together in Brighton. While George IV was buried with the portrait of Maria, Mrs Fitzherbert kept the matching portrait of him as a keepsake.