Princess Marie Louise’s Diamond Sunburst Brooch

Today marks the Anniversary of the Death of Princess Marie Louise, the fascinating granddaughter of Queen Victoria who married and divorced a German Prince, and later became a Princess ‘of nowhere’. To mark the Anniversary, we are taking a look at her Diamond Sunburst Brooch.

Featuring rays of diamonds radiating from a central diamond cluster, with a smaller pendant, the Diamond Sunburst Brooch was not among a series of diamond stars Princess Marie Louise received as wedding gifts upon her marriage to Prince Aribert of Anhalt in 1891, as Queen Victoria recorded in her diary that Princess Marie Louise wore “her mother’s wedding veil, and the diamond stars I gave her, pinned in amongst the wreath”. This Diamond Sunburst Brooch also originated from Queen Victoria, who received a diamond star and pendant upon her accession, and after being worn by the Duchess of Connaught at the Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia in 1896 (h/t to British Royal Jewels), it was bequeathed to Princess Marie Louise at the time of Queen Victoria’s death in 1901.

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The Diamond Sunburst Brooch was left to the newly divorced Princess Marie Louise, and she continued to wear it for decades afterwards, even after becoming a Princess ‘of Nowhere’, most notably at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 and a series of portraits taken by Cecil Beaton.

Princess Marie Louise also loaned Queen Victoria’s Diamond Sunburst Brooch to her sister, Princess Helena Victoria for the Wedding Ball of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Princess Ingrid of Sweden in 1935.

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After her death in 1956, Princess Marie Louise left most of her jewels, including her Cartier Indian Tiara to her godson, Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, while others were inherited by the Queen and Lady Patricia Ramsay. Queen Victoria’s Diamond Sunburst Brooch, however, was inherited by the Queen Mother, who wore the brooch for the French State Visit in 1960 and for a family portrait released to mark the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s Silver Wedding in 1972. The Diamond Sunburst Brooch was inherited by the Queen in 2002, and has not yet made a reappearance on the Queen or the Duchess of Cornwall, though let’s hope we get to see it at the upcoming Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace.

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UPDATE: In 2021, the Duchess of Cronwall wore Princess Marie Louise’s Diamond Sunburst Brooch at the World Premiere of James Bond’s “No Time to Die” at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

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HMJV | HRFJC | Royal Magazin

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