Today marks the Centenary of the Death of Princess Helena, Duchess of Albany, who passed away on this day in 1922! The Waldeck and Pyrmont Princess who was married to Queen Victoria’s youngest son, the Duchess possessed some lovely jewels, most of which remain with her descendants, like today’s Sapphire Bracelet!
When Princess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont was marrying Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, the youngest son of Queen Victoria, in 1882, she received her Diamond Necklace and Diamond Star from the groom, as well as this heart-shaped sapphire and diamond bracelet surmounted by a crown from her eight bridesmaids; Lady Florence Anson, Lady Florence Bootle Wilbraham, Lady Blanche Butler, Lady Mary Campbell, Lady Anne Lindsay, Lady Ermyntrude Russell, Lady Alexandria Vane-Tempest, and Lady Feodore Yorke.
The Duchess of Albany was frequently pictured wearing similar bracelets, but the heart-shaped sapphire and diamond clasp is never visible in existing pictures, though there is no doubt it continued to be worn for years, especially after being widowed in 1884.
After the Duchess of Albany’s death in 1922, most of her jewels were inherited by her only son, Prince Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and was likely given to his daughter, Princess Sibylla, when she was marrying Prince Gustav Adolf of Sweden in 1932. The Duchess of Albany’s Sapphire Bracelet soon became among Princess Sibylla’s favourites, usually paired with the Connaught Diamond Tiara or the Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara, as well as her Sapphire Necklace.
Princess Sibylla continued to wear the Duchess of Albany’s Sapphire Bracelet after being widowed and it remained among her most frequently worn jewels, with a notable appearance at the Wedding Ball of Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Sophia of Greece in 1962. After her death in 1972, the sapphire Bracelet was reportedly inherited by her eldest daughter, Princess Margaretha, though it has not yet been publicly pictured on her.