Happy Birthday to the Countess of St Andrews, who turns 65 today! The illustrious Canadian-born academic and historian who is set to be the next Duchess of Kent, the Countess has worn the Kent Pearl and Diamond Fringe Tiara, but these days, her most notable jewel is usually her Sapphire Flower Brooch!
But first, lets learn about the Countess! Born Sylvana Palma Tomaselli, daughter of Maximilian Karl Tomaselli and Josiane Preschez, she comes from an Austrian branch of the Noble Tomaselli Family, but was born and grew up in Canada and England, receiving a BA (UBC), MA (York, Ontario) and MA (Cantab) degrees, before becoming a Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge in 2004. After being married to John Paul Jones from 1977 to 1981, the Countess married George Windsor, Earl of St Andrews, the elder son and Heir of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and the Duchess of Kent. The couple have three children; Lord Downpatrick, Lady Marina, and Lady Amelia Windsor, and though Lady St Andrews’ Catholicism no longer precludes her husband’s right to ascend the throne, two of their children surrendered their place in the line of succession by converting to catholicism. Specialising in French and British political theory in the 18th century, the Countess is a historian and lecturer at the University of Cambridge, known professionally as Dr Sylvana Tomaselli. A founding member of the European Centre for the Philosophy of Gender in Siegen, she is the current currently Director of Studies in History and Social & Political Sciences at St John’s College in the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. We wish the Countess a Very Happy Birthday and Many Happy Returns!
Composed of a cluster of small sapphires, surrounded by pave-set diamond leaves, this discreet sapphire and diamond brooch bares resemblance to the Queen’s Sapphire Chrysanthemum Brooch, and has notably worn on the Balcony of Buckingham Palace after the Trooping the Colour Ceremonies in 2003 and 2007.
In 2011, the Countess wore the Sapphire Flower Brooch as a Pendant from a small chain for the Dinner held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London on the eve of the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
The Countess also loaned the Brooch to her daughter, Lady Marina, for an event during the Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebrations in 2016. Since much of the spectacular jewellery collection inherited by the Duke of Kent seems to have been sold or is no longer publicly worn, it seems this Brooch is the most prominent jewel of the future Duchess so lets hope we see this jewel worn again soon!