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Showing posts from April, 2019

Daisy, Princess of Pless: The Most Beautiful British Woman in the German Court and the Case of the Cursed Necklace

Born Mary Theresa Olivia Cornwallis-West on June 28, 1873 at Ruthin Castle in Denbighshire, Wales, United Kingdom, Daisy was the daughter of Col. William Cornwallis-West and his wife Mary "Patsy" FitzPatrick.

Her bloodline is impeccable, descending from a string of society beauties, which included her grandmother, Lady Olivia Taylour,  who was expelled from the Buckingham Palace by Queen Victoria after she was caught flirting with Prince Albert. Also, her mother, at 16 years old, was alleged to have had an affair with the Prince of Wales, the eventual King Edward VII.

Daisy married one of German Empire’s wealthiest heirs, Hans Heinrich XV, Prince of Pless, Count of Hochberg, Baron of Fürstenstein, on December 8, 1891 in London. The union produced four children. At the wedding reception, Edward VII told Daisy, “…Learn German and become a faithful subject of your adopted country.”

Daisy spent her married life mainly at the enormous Castle of Pless (currently Pszczyna), a 600-…

Frances Ellen Work, the American Ancestress of Diana, Princess of Wales

Born on October 27, 1857 in New York City, New York, U.S.A., Frances Ellen Work was the daughter of renowned stockbroker Franklin H. Work—a self-made man who was a protégé of Cornelius Vanderbilt—and his wife Ellen Wood, whose mother had connections with eight American presidents and other notable personalities such as Orson Welles, Humphrey Bogart, General Patton. She was affectionately referred to as “Fannie”. According to her New York Times obituary, Frances was "considered a great beauty in her youth”.
Frances married Hon. James Boothby Burke Roche (later 3rd Baron Fermoy) on September 22, 1880 at Christ Church, New York City. The union produced two daughters and twin sons. The first child, Eileen (1882−1882), died young. The second, Hon. Cynthia Roche (1884−1966), married firstly Arthur Scott Burden (1879−1921) in 1906 and secondly Guy Fairfax Cary (1879−1950) in 1922. She is the matrilineal great-grandmother of American actor Oliver Platt. The third child, Hon. Edmund Maur…

Read: Queen Elizabeth II's Famous 21st Birthday Speech

In 1947, King George V and Queen Elizabeth embarked on a journey of the South African dominions (South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, Swaziland, Basutoland, and the Bechuanaland Protectorate). With them were Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. Their leisurely, three month journey (February to April) involved travelling 10, 000 miles, including 4920 miles by rail. On April 21st, Princess Elizabeth, then-Heiress Presumptive to the Throne, turned 21. The Royal Family was in Cape Town when this speech, her most popular and most enduring, was broadcast. Her pledge to devote her life “whether it be long or short” touched the hearts of many, and it is said that her words even moved Winston Churchill to tears.

On my twenty-first birthday I welcome the opportunity to speak to all the peoples of the British Commonwealth and Empire, wherever they live, whatever race they come from, and whatever language they speak.
Let me begin by saying 'thank you' to all the thousands of kind people…

The Hever Castle, the Two Queen Anne and the Astors

Hever Castle is one of the most storied castles in England, attracting thousands of visitors every year not only because of its interesting structure but also the history that transpired here.

Hever Castle can be found in the village of Hever in Kent, England. It was originally a medieval defensive castle, which was built in 1270. In 1462, merchant and Lord Mayor of London Geoffrey Boleyn converted the existing structure into a manor, adding a Tudor dwelling within its walls.

In 1505, Geoffrey Boleyn’s grandson, Thomas Boleyn, inherited the castle and lived there with his wife Lady Elizabeth Howard and their children George, Mary and Anne, who would later become the wife of Henry VIII, who would often stay at the nearby Bolebroke Castle while courting the Marchioness of Pembroke. Hever Castle came into the possession of Henry VIII after the death of Anne Boleyn’s father in 1539. Interestingly, a year later, Henry would bestow the property to another wife of his, another Anne in the …

The George IV State Diadem: A Royal Treasure Rich in History

The George IV State Diadem is one of the most interesting and precious tiaras in the royal vault. Indeed, images of this head ornament has graced postage stamps and coins, featuring the national emblems of England, Scotland and Ireland. 
In 1820, after the long wait, King George IV finally succeeded to the throne. He wanted a grand coronation like no other, so he commissioned Rundell & Bridge to make him diadem, which he would wear on his coronation procession to Westminster Abbey. The tiara cost £8,216 to make; £800 of which was paid to “hire” the diamonds. However, it seemed that the diamonds were never returned to the jewellers and an arrangement was made instead. 

The crown consists of  1,333 diamonds weighing a total of 320 carats (64 g), including a four-carat yellow diamond in the front cross pattée set in gold and silver frame, which measures 7.5 centimetres (3.0 in) tall and 19 centimetres (7.5 in) in diameter. The crown’s upper string used to have 86 pearls and the lo…

Winnaretta Singer, Princesse Edmond de Polignac: The Muse of Modern Music

During the Gilded Age, Winnaretta Singer emerged as one of the most colorful and interesting million-dollar princesses not only because of her immense fortune and intriguing private life, but also because of her ceaseless patronage of music and the arts and support for social causes.
Birth and Early Years
The American heiress was born on January 8, 1865 in Yonkers, New York, U.S.A., the 20th of the 24 children of Isaac Merritt Singer, inventor and founder of Singer Sewing Machine Company, and his second wife, Parisian model Isabella Eugenie Boyer. Following the American Civil War, Winnaretta’s family moved to Paris where they remained until the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. The Singers then moved to England and took up residence at Mr. Singer’s Oldway Mansion, a palace in Paignton, Devon.
Winnaretta showed a profound passion for music since her teenage years that on her 13th birthday, she requested to hear a performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet op. 131, a piece of mus…

A Gift from Brazil: Queen Elizabeth II’s Brazilian Aquamarine Parure Tiara

In 1953, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place. Floods of precious gifts were showered upon her, including a diamond necklace with very large aquamarines and matching earrings, the gift of the president and the people of Brazil to the new British sovereign.

The set was made by Rio de Janeiro’s Mappin & Webb, and it consisted of a necklace and matching pendant earrings comprised of multiple oblong Brazilian aquamarine set in diamond and platinum. The necklace contains nine large oblong aquamarine stones with a larger drop pendant. Interestingly, additional perfectly matched pieces of aquamarine continued to be collected within Brazil, which, in 1958, were given to The Queen in the form of a similarly designed bracelet and brooch to add to her existing set.

To complete the set, the Queen commissioned jeweller Garrard to create a tiara, a wonderful creation with an aquamarine as a focal point that exceeded all other stones of this set.  The tiara originally consisted of a…

The Eccentric Princess Marie of Orléans, Princess Marie of Denmark

Marie Amélie Françoise Hélène was born in Ham, London, England on January 13, 1865. She was the eldest child of Prince Robert d'Orléans, Duc de Chartres, and his wife, Princess Françoise d'Orléans. Marie was a descendant of the “Citizen King” of France, Louis Philippe. She spent the first few years of her life in England before her family moved to France following the defeat of the Second Empire in 1871. By then, she referred to herself as une bourgeoise.

Marriage Family
At the age of 20, Marie was arranged to marry Prince Valdemar of Denmark, the youngest son of King Christian IX. After obtaining consent from Pope Leo XIII, the couple was wedded in, first, a civil ceremony on October 20, 1885 in Paris, then, two days after, in a religious ceremony at the Château d'Eu in Normandy.
They had five children all together. The first born, Prince Aage of Denmark (1887–1940) renounced rights to the throne Mathilda Calvi dei Conti di Bergolo in 1914. He was created Count of Rosenb…
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