Today marks the Anniversary of the Birth of Dame Margaret Greville, the Hon Mrs Greville, who was born on this day in 1863. The illegitimate daughter of a brewery millionaire, she married the son of a Baron, and became a noted Society Hostess, from her magnificent home at Polesden Lacey. To mark the Anniversary of her birth, we are taking a look at one piece from her enormous collection of jewels, the magnificent Greville Festoon Necklace.
Featuring five rows of diamond plaques set in platinum, the longer two strands were initially made by Cartier for Mrs. Greville in 1929 using her own stones, and the three smaller stands were added by Cartier later.
After Mrs Greville’s death in 1942, she bequeathed her massive jewellery collection to the Queen Mother, who often paired it with her favourite Greville Tiara, most notably for the Dutch State Visit in 1950, a Tour of Rhodesia in 1956, and the French State Visit in 1960.
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However, while the Queen Mother continued to favour the Greville Tiara, the Greville Festoon Necklace was rarely worn during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, when she favoured Queen Alexandra’s Wedding Gift Necklace, and only reappeared in the 1990s, when the Queen Mother, now in her 90s, frequently wore the three shorter strands at White Tie and Gala events. The Greville Festoon Necklace was also notably worn at her 100th Birthday Concert in 2000 and her 101st Birthday Concert in 2001, just a few months before her death. The Greville Festoon Necklace, like all her jewels, was inherited by the Queen.
However, like many of the Queen Mother’s jewels, the Greville Festoon Necklace seems to be on long-term loan to the Duchess of Cornwall, wife of the Queen Mother’s favourite grandson, the Prince of Wales. The Duchess first wore the Necklace at the CHOGM Banquet in Uganda in 2007, and then at the Waterloo Bicentenary Banquet in 2015, both times with the Greville Tiara, before wearing it at the Prince of Wales’ 70th Birthday Concert at Buckingham Palace last year. There is no doubt we will continue to see this magnificent piece for years to come.
Other Greville Jewels include the: