Princess Marina’s Bow Brooch

Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent born Princess of Greece, the Queen’s Aunt, passed away on this day in 1968, and to mark her Death Anniversary, we are taking a look at Princess Marina’s trademark Romanov Bow Brooch, which was worn to a plethora of important occasions.

Made around 1850, the historic piece features a”double ribbon bow centered by an oval-shaped diamond weighing approximately 3.50 carats, accented by numerous pear-shaped and old mine-cut diamonds weighing approximately 38.00 carats, further set with numerous old mine and rose-cut diamonds weighing approximately 64.25 carats…” It was probably made for the famous Grand Duchess Vladimir, though their aren’t any clear pictures of her in the piece, while other theories state it was a wedding gift to her daughter from Tsar Nicholas II.

The Greek Royal Rubies
The Greek Royal Rubies

In 1902, the Grand Duchess gave the Bow Brooch to her only daughter, Grand Duchess Elena, when she married Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark, who notably wore the piece in a portrait with her grand Diamond Kokoshnik Tiara.

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In 1934, Princess Nicholas gave the Brooch as a wedding gift to her daughter, Princess Marina, when she married Prince George, Duke of Kent. The piece was exhibited along with the other wedding gifts before the Wedding.

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Princess Marina wore the historic Bow Brooch for a plethora of important occasions, even after being tragically widowed in 1942, including the 1937 Coronation of King George VI and the 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II as well as a variety of official portraits and royal events. She usually wore the piece with her Diamond Girandole Earrings and usually with her City of London Fringe Tiara.

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Princess Marina was last pictured in her historic Bow Brooch at the State Opening of Parliament in October 1967, which was the last one she attended before her death the following year. Unlike the Girandole Earrings, it was not worn by the next Duchess of Kent, and was sold off sometime in the 1970s, eventually ending up in the collection of American philanthropist and collector, Mrs Charles Wrightsman. The Bow Brooch was auctioned at the sale of her jewels at Sotheby’s in 2012, fetching $842,500, many times over the original estimate, and is now in a private collection.

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UPDATE: It appears that Princess Marina’s Bow Brooch now belongs to the Al-Thani Collection of the Qatar Royal Family and was worn by Sheikha Amna bint Mohammed Al Thani of Qatar for the Committal Service of Queen Elizabeth II at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. The Funeral of Princess Marina was also at the Chapel in 1968. (Found by David Rato/Spanish Royal Jewels)

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For more information, check out:

Duchess of Kent’s Tiaras

Cambridge Sapphire Parure

Kent Festoon Tiara

City of London Fringe Tiara

Kent Pearl and Diamond Fringe Tiara

Kent Pearl Bandeau

Princess Marina’s Girandole Earrings

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