Today marks the Anniversary of the birth of Princess Helena, Duchess of Albany, who was born on this day in 1861. The Waldeck and Pyrmont Princess who was married to Queen Victoria’s youngest son, the Duchess possessed some lovely jewels, most of which are with her descendents, like today’s Diamond Necklace.
In 1882, Princess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont received this diamond necklace, and a large diamond star brooch, from her groom, Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, the youngest son of Queen Victoria, ahead of their wedding at Windsor Castle.
The necklace was one of the Duchess’ principal jewels, and after notably wearing her Diamond Necklace on her wedding day, she was pictured in the piece in numerous Official Portraits even after being widowed in 1884.
The Duchess of Albany used the Diamond Star atop her Diamond Necklace when converted the piece into a Tiara for the Coronation of her brother-in-law, King Edward VII, in 1902, with the same combination being worn a decade later for the Coronation of her nephew, King George V, in 1911.
After the Duchess of Albany’s death in 1922, the Diamond Necklace was inherited by her only son, Prince Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, whose family managed to retain most of their jewels despite much upheaval in the 20th century. The Necklace was worn by American investment banker Kelly Rondestvedt when she married the Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 2009.
The couple are close to many royal families and Hereditary Princess Kelly wore the Duchess of Albany’s Necklace at the Pre-Wedding Galas of Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Madeleine of Sweden. The Hereditary Princess is the principal wearer of the family heirlooms, including the Turquoise Parure and the Duchess of Albany’s Diamond Star, and there is no doubt that we will continue to see the Necklace for years to come.