Happy Birthday to Infanta Margarita, Duchess of Soria and Hernani, who turns 82 today! The younger sister of King Juan Carlos and the aunt of King Felipe, who was born blind, she has attended a plethora of glittering events over the decades, and to mark her birthday, we are taking a look at her Sapphire and Diamond Brooch!
Featuring a large square sapphire surrounded by two rows of diamonds, the Brooch can be traced back to a sapphire and diamond pendant suspended from a fine diamond necklace that was a wedding gift from King Alfonso XIII of Spain to Princess Maria de las Mercedes of the Bourbon Two Scicilies when she married Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona, the King’s heir, in 1935. While the provenance is unknown, we believe it might be the sapphire brooch given as a wedding gift to Princess Beatrice, the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria, from her brother-in-law, the Prince of Bulgaria, when she married Prince Henry of Battenberg in 1885. This could be the piece worn by a young Queen Victoria Eugenie at the Coronation of her uncle, King Edward VII, in 1902.
Despite its long history, Infanta Margarita is the first person who has been pictured wearing the Sapphire and Diamond Brooch, for the first time for the British State Banquet at the Royal Palace of Madrid in 1988, which would be a suitable link given its British past. The brooch has also been worn for a variety of events since, most prominently for the 25th Anniversary of her husband’s tenure as the President of Prado Museum’s Friends Foundation. There is no doubt we will continue to see the Brooch for years to come!