Today marks the 160th 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 Star!
In 1882, Princess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont received this large diamond star brooch, and a diamond necklace, from her groom, Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, the youngest son of Queen Victoria, ahead of their wedding at Windsor Castle.
The Diamond Star, along with the Diamond Necklace, was one of the Duchess’ principal jewels, and after she was pictured wearing the piece on her bodice and in her hair in numerous Official Portraits even after being widowed in 1884.
The Duchess of Albany used the 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 Diamond Star was worn by worn by the American-born Hereditary Princess Kelly of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha at the Wedding of the Prince of Prussia and Princess Sophie of Isenburg in 2001. The Hereditary Princess is the principal wearer of the family heirlooms, including the Turquoise Parure and the Duchess of Albany’s Diamond Necklace, and there is no doubt that we will continue to see the Diamond Star for years to come!