Today marks the anniversary of the death of Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, who died on this day in 1981. The last surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria, and the Vicereine of both South Africa and Canada, Princess Alice lived through the reigns of six British monarchs. To mark the day, we are taking a look at her Pearl and Diamond Brooch!
Featuring a series of pearls inside a diamond heart, with a large pearl pendant, the large brooch is of a distinctly Edwardian design, and was probably given as a wedding gift to Princess Alice of Albany when she married Prince Alexander of Teck (later the Earl of Athlone) in 1906.
Princess Alice notably wore her Pearl and Diamond Corsage Brooch for a series of portraits in the 1920s, and for the Earl of Athlone’s first Speech as the Governor General of Canada in 1940. Princess Alice continued to wear her brooch well into old age, quite prominently for the wedding of her goddaughter, Princess Anne, in 1973.
After her death, the Pearl and Diamond Corsage Brooch was inherited by Princess Alice’s only daughter, Lady May Abel Smith, who was pictured wearing the heirloom only once, though it appears to have escaped the fate of a few other jewels of Princess Alice, which were sold at auction, and probably still belongs to Princess Alice’s grandchildren.