Today marks the 15th Anniversary of the Death of Princess Katherine of Greece and Denmark, who passed away on this day in 2007! The younger sister of three Kings and two Queens, who was the last surviving great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, Princess Katherine did not have the magnificent jewellery collection of her siblings, with her most prominent jewels being these Pearl Earrings!
Princess Katherine was educated at a boarding school at Broadstairs and then North Foreland Lodge in England, being a bridesmaid at the Wedding of Prince George, Duke of Kent and her cousin, Princess Marina of Greece, in 1934. Princess Katherine returned to Greece with her brother King George II following the restoration of the monarchy in 1935, joining the Greek Red Cross when the Second World War broke out, though the Greek Royal Family were forced to flee when Greek was invaded by the Axis in 1941, following which Princess Katherine worked as a nurse at a hospital in Cape Town, before retiring to England in 1946, meeting Major Richard Campbell Brandram MC, an officer in the British Royal Artillery, on board the Cunard liner RMS Ascania. The Greek Royal Family returned to Athens in 1946, with Princess Katherine’s engagement announced the following February. The Wedding to Major Richard Brandram at the Royal Palace of Athens took place in April, as originally scheduled after the sudden death of her brother, King George II.
The couple settled in the United Kingdom, where King George VI granted her the rank and title of a duke’s daughter, so she was styled as Lady Katherine Brandram. They had one son, Richard Brandram, and remained happily married until his death in 1994. Princess Katherine was the last surviving great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria at the time of her death in 2007, remaining close to the Greek and British Royal Families.
Consisting of two large round pearls surrounded by diamonds, these earrings may be royal heirlooms originating from her mother, Queen Sophia of Greece, appearing after her wedding to Major Richard Brandram in 1947, just weeks after the death of her brother, King George II. Princess Katherine, known as Lady Katherine Brandram in the United Kingdom, notably wore the Earrings for a Greek Ball in London in 1951, a Midnight Matinee with Douglas Fairbanks in 1953, and for the Greek Monarchy Centenary in 1963.
Princess Katherine also wore a pair of Sapphire and Diamond Earrings, which could have been the same diamond frame replacing the pearl with a sapphire, which were worn for the Wedding Ball of Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Sophia of Greece in 1962, the Greek Monarchy Centenary Gala in 1963, and also the Wedding of Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece in 2007.
The Pearl and Sapphire Earrings have remained with the family since Princess Katherine’s death, with the latter being worn by Katherine Moreton when she married Princess Katherine’s son, Richard Brandram, in 2009. The Pearl Earrings were worn by her granddaughter, Sophie Brandram, for her wedding to Humphrey Voelcker in 2017. There is no doubt we will continue to see these heirlooms worn for years to come!