Today marks the 35th Anniversary of the Death of Mary Somerset, the Duchess of Beaufort, who passed away on this day in 1987! The former Teck Princess, a nice of Queen Mary, who married the illustrious Duke of Beaufort, the Duchess, who was an accomplished equestrian, possessed some spectacular jewels, which included this Pearl and Diamond Bandeau Tiara!
But first lets learn about the Duchess! Born Princess Mary of Teck, the second child of the Duke of Teck and Lady Margaret Grosvenor, she was the niece of Queen Mary, and descended from the Württemberg Royal Family and King George III. In 1917, the family dropped their German Titles and became Lady Mary Cambridge after her father was created the Marquess of Cambridge. Lady Mary married the Marquess of Worcester, Heir of the Duke of Beaufort, who became the 10th Duke the following year, but the couple remained childless. During the Second World War, the Duchess’ aunt, Queen Mary, was evacuated to Badminton House, taking over most of the house and creating many changes. Both keen equestrians, the Duke and Duchess began the Badminton Horse Trials in 1947, during which the Royal Family used to stay with them. Close to the new Duke and Duchess after the Duke’s death in 1983, the Duchess continued to reside at Badminton House, occasionally sitting in the state rooms to answer questions from tourists, until she passed away in 1987.
When Lady Mary Cambridge married the Marquess of Worcester, she received this spectacular Pearl and Diamond Bandeau Tiara as a wedding gift from the farmers of the Beaufort Hunt. The antique Bandeau was supplied by Messrs Mallett and Son and cost £350.
The Duchess wore the Pearl and Diamond Bandeau Tiara for less formal events that did not require her big Diamond Tiara, like when she joined her cousins, the Duke and Duchess of York, for a Gala Performance in 1933, pairing the Bandeau with an heirloom diamond stomacher.
While the Duchess of Beaufort wore her Diamond Tiara at the Coronation of her first cousin, King George VI, in 1937, she loaned the Pearl and Diamond Bandeau Tiara to her widowed younger sister, Lady Helena Gibbs, who resided with the Duke and Duchess.
In 1938, the Duchess wore the Pearl and Diamond Bandeau when she joined Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent for a Ball at the newly restored Assembly Rooms in Bath, after which the fate of the Bandeau is unknown, though it would have likely been worn while Queen Mary stayed Badminton House during the Second World War. The Duke and Duchess had no children and the Dukedom, and Badminton House, passed to a distant cousin upon his death in 1983, and while the Duchess was close to the new Ducal Couple, it appears her jewels were not in the family by that point, as they has not been seen on any ladies of the Family, who have instead worn another tiara.
A huge thank you to the wonderful History Famous Jewels for sharing the information and images!