Queen Victoria (1819 - 1901).

Queen Victoria (1819 - 1901).Flick / National Media Museum

Four black brooches among the collection owned by the British monarch who lived in mourning for 40 years.

For 40 years, from her husband Prince Albert's death in Dec 1861 until her own passing in 1901, Queen Victoria was in mourning, wearing black. For generations, her "mourning jewellery" has been passed down through the Royal Family but now the collection, priced at £1.5 million is up for auction at the London auction house, Southeby's. 

Victoria's "mourning jewellery" is part of the collection of 400 items up for auction as part of Countess Mountbatten of Burma, born Patricia Mountbatten, headed for auction in March.

The four black brooches were worn by Queen Victoria to honor the death of her third child and second youngest daughter, Princess Alice, who died from diphtheria aged 35.

According to Sotheby's one of the brooches is a cross-shaped "hardstone, enamel and diamond pendant" centering on an onyx heart featuring the word "Alice" underneath a coronet on its front. On its reverse, the words "Dear Alice" are inscribed alongside the princess's death date "14th December 1878," which also marked the 17th anniversary of the passing of Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, in 1861.

The brooch is expected to sell for between £2k and £3k when the auction begins on March 24.

One of the other brooches is a unique onyx pearl button featuring an initial "A" set with seed pearls. Its reverse features a miniature portrait of Alice inscribed with the words "From Mama VRI 7th April 1879."

The third is described as a "banded agate and pearl pendant" dating from 1878 and includes a lock of Princess Alice's hair. It is inscribed "from Grandmama VR," as a gift from the Queen to Alice's daughter, who was also named Victoria.