Happy Birthday to Princess Irene of The Netherlands, who turns 80 today! The second daughter of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard, she caused much scandal when she converted to Catholicism and gave up her place in the line of succession to marry the Duke of Parma, whom she later divorced. To mark her birthday, we are taking a look at her Ruby Earrings-
Featuring a central ruby surrounded by a cluster of diamonds and rubies, the earrings look to be of antique design and have been worn by Princess Irene since the late 1950s, around the time she controversially received the Dutch Ruby Peacock Parure as a gift from her grandmother, Queen Wilhelmina, on her sister, Crown Princess Beatrix’s, birthday. The earrings may come from Queen Wilhelmina, Queen Sophie, or Queen Emma, though their provenance is unknown. Later, Princess Irene also wore the earrings with the Bourbon Parma Tiara of her husband’s family, though they were rarely worn after the 1970s, around the same time the Ruby Peacock Parure disappeared from public view until being worn by Queen Maxima in the late 2000s.
However, unlike the Ruby Peacock Parure, Princess Irene’s Ruby Earrings have remained with her family, and now belong to her daughter, Princess Margarita, Countess of Colorno, who has notably worn them to King Willem-Alexander’s 40th Birthday and Inauguration Gala. There is no doubt we will continue to see these for years to come.