Empress Maria Feodorovna’s Sapphire Choker

The Princess Royal celebrates her 70th Birthday this week! The only daughter of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, who has been a working member of the Royal Family for over 50 Years, Princess Anne possesses an impressive collection of jewels, and to mark the occasion, we are featuring her Top 7 Jewels, continuing with Empress Maria Feodorovna’s Sapphire Choker

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Consisting of four rows of pearls interspersed by 20 diamond bars, with a angular sapphire and diamond clasp, which can be separated into two bracelets, the Sapphire Choker originates with Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, who was pictured wearing the choker with her sisters in the 1890s, and it was one of the few jewels she managed to escape with from Russia, owning it until her death in 1928, when the Sapphire Choker was bought by Queen Mary from her daughters for £6,000, being worn a couple of times in the 1930s.

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After Queen Mary’s death in 1953, Empress Maria Feodorovna’s Sapphire Choker was inherited by the Queen, and was worn only a few times in the 1950s, as a choker and also as a bracelet.

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The Queen doesn’t wear chokers, so Empress Maria Feodorovna’s Sapphire Choker  was given to Princess Anne in the early 1970s, and has been frequently worn for a plethora of important occasions, including her 50th Birthday and Prince William’s Wedding Gala in 2011. There is no doubt we will continue to see this important heirloom for years to come.

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Princess Anne has also worn Empress Maria Feodorovna’s Sapphire Brooch! Given as a wedding gift by the Prince and Princess of Wales (the future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) to Princess Dagmar of Denmark (sister of the Princess of Wales and later Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia) in 1866, this oval cabochon sapphire surrounded by two rows of diamonds with a pear drop pearl pendant was worn by her at a card game wit her siblings and father. After Empress Marie Feodorovna’s death in exile in 1928, her daughters sold the brooch to Queen Mary, daughter-in-law of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, who wore it until her death in 1953. It passed down to the Queen, who wears it a few times every year, and appears to have loaned it to Princess Anne for the Team GB Ball in 2021.

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