Today marks the Anniversary of the Birth of Queen Maud of Norway, the British Princess who became the first Queen of an Independent Kingdom of Norway! To mark the occasion, we are going to be taking a look at her statement Seed Pearl Choker:
Featuring no less than twenty rows of seed pearls separated by diamond bars, unlike most of Queen Maud’s jewels, the Seed Pearl Choker has no established provenance but was probably acquired during the late Victorian or the Early Edwardian era, when chokers were popularised by her mother, Queen Alexandra, to hide a scar. After being worn in some portraits in the first decade of the 20th century, Queen Maud’s Seed Pearl Choker was not publicly worn for decades, when fashions changed. In 1938, Queen Maud brought all her jewels with her to England while she was having an operation, and where she passed away of heart failure. Queen Maud’s jewels remained in England, throughout the Norwegian Royal Family’s exile during WWII, and were only reclaimed during a visit for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. Soon afterwards, her daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Martha passed away, and the Choker remained in the vaults for years until the Norwegian Royal jewellery collection was divided up following the wedding of then Crown Prince Harald in 1968.
Chokers came back in fashion in the 1970s, and Crown Princess Sonja wore Queen Maud’s Seed Pearl Choker during the Swedish State Visit to Norway in 1974 and on a visit to India in the 1980s. Years later, the Seed Pearl Choker was worn by her daughter, Princess Märtha Louise, for a very important occasion, the Consecration of King Harald V in 1991. Despite Queen Sonja’s predilection of Pearl Chokers, Queen Maud’s Seed Pearl Choker has not been the most worn Royal Heirloom, and hasn’t been publicly seen in decades, making us wonder if it too, along with Queen Maud’s Pearl Tiara, was stolen in London in 1995 and is among the unspecified jewels. If the Seed Pearl Choker still exists with the Royal Family we hope it makes another reappearance.