Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the Death of the Countess of Barcelona, mother of King Juan Carlos and grandmother of King Felipe of Spain, who passed away on this day in 2000. The Bourbon-Two-Sicilies Princess who was the de-facto Queen Consort of Spain, the Countess had a magnificent jewellery collection, from which we are featuring her Pearl Brooch.
The Pearl Brooch, featuring a central pearl ringed by diamonds with a detachable pearl pendant, was part of the Wedding Gifts given to Princess María de las Mercedes of Bourbon-Two-Sicilies when she married Infante Juan of Spain, the third son and heir of the exiled King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain, in 1935, and displayed with her corbeille de mariage. The Brooch originated from his grandmother, Queen Maria Christina.
Though not as much of a favourite as her pearl jewellery, the Pearl Brooch was worn by the Countess of Barcelona in a variety of configurations, including as a pendant, throughout her life, most notably at the Wedding of Infanta Pilar.
After the Countess of Barcelona’s death, the Pearl Brooch passed to her daughter-in-law, Queen Sofia, who wore it frequently for a variety of daytime and evening occasions, often without the pearl pendant.
Now, the Countess of Barcelona’s Pearl Brooch has passed to Queen Letizia, who wore it for the first time on Spanish National Day in 2017. With quite a few royal occasions coming up in the next few months, let’s hope we see this heirloom jewel again soon.