Duchess of Medinaceli’s Emerald Pendant

Today marks the 75th Birthday of Princess Maria da Glória de Orleans-Braganza , Duchess of Segorbe! The Brazilian Princess who became the Crown Princess of Yugoslavia and is now married into an illustrious Spanish Duke, having had access to some spectacular jewels, Princess Maria da Glória now usually wears this spectacular cabochon Emerald Pendant, which we are featuring today!  

But first, lets learn about Princess Maria da Glória! The daughter of Prince Pedro Gastón de Orleans-Braganza and Princess María de la Esperanza de Borbón-Dos Sicilias, making her a great-granddaughter of Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil, and a niece of the Countess of Barcelona, the Duchess of Braganza, the Countess of Paris, Infante Alfonso, Duke of Calabria and Princess Alice of Bourbon-Parma, and Princess Isabel Alfonsa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, as well as the first cousin of King Juan Carlos of Spain, the Duke of Braganza, the late Duke of Calabria, Princess Diane of Orléans, Duchess of WürttembergPrincess Claude, Duchess of Aosta, and Princess Anne of Orléans, Duchess of Calabria. Growing up between Palacio do Grão Pará in Petrópolis and the Palais d’Orléans-Bourbon in Villamanrique de la Condesa, Princess Maria da Glória married Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia, the only son of King Peter II of Yugoslavia and Princess Alexandra of Greece, in 1972, and the couple had three sons; Hereditary Prince Peter, and Prince Philip, Prince Alexander, before their divorce in 1985. That same year, Princess Maria da Glória married Ignacio Medina y Fernandez de Cordoba, the 19th Duke of Segorbe, son of the XVIII Duchess of Medinaceli and Rafael de Medina y Vilallonga, with whom she had two daughters; the Countess of Ampurias and the Countess of Ricla. Despite being the fourth son of the Duchess of Medinaceli, the Duke of Segorbe, who inherited one of his mother’s lesser titles, is the current Head of the Casa Ducal de Medinaceli Foundation, and has expelled his great-niece, the current Duchess of Medinaceli, and nieces and nephews, including the Duke of Feria, from management of the Foundation. The Duke has been involved in the restoration of many family properties, and the couple resided at the Palacio de Moratalla for many years. We wish HRH a very Happy Birthday and Many Happy Returns!

A large Cabochon Emerald surrounded by diamonds, the Pendant is likely an Heirloom of the House of Medinaceli, and was pictured on Victoria Eugenia Fernández de Córdoba, the 18th Duchess of Medinaceli in a portrait at some point in the 1950s. The head of the Casa de Medinaceli, one of the most important aristocratic families in Spain, the Duchess was the founder and honorary president of the Casa Ducal de Medinaceli Foundation, which manages the many Palaces and cultural heritage of the Medinaceli Family.

Embed from Getty Images

After the death of the Duchess of Medinaceli in 2013, it appears that the Cabochon Emerald Pendant has been inherited by the Duke of Segorbe. Princess Maria da Glória has notably worn the Emerald Pendant for the Wedding of her son, Prince Philip of Serbia, in Belgrade in 2017, at the Wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor at Windsor Castle in 2019, and later that year for the Wedding of Dom Miguel Lasso de La Vega y Valdenebro, 5th Viscount of Dos Fuentes. Previously, Princess Maria da Glória had gotten a Tiara and some Emerald Jewels from her mother, Princess María de la Esperanza, which had been sent to Brazil in a tin by mail, and were sold at Auction in Geneva in 1982, so the Cabochon Emerald Pendant and the coordinating pear-shaped Emerald Earrings worn with them are Princess Maria da Glória’s grandest jewels. These is no doubt we will continue to see this spectacular Heirloom for years to come!

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