Today marks the Anniversary of the Death of Princess Marie Louise, who passed away on this day in 1956! The fascinating granddaughter of Queen Victoria who married and divorced a German Prince, and later became a Princess ‘of nowhere’, the Princess possessed some splendid jewels and to mark the Anniversary, we are featuring her Diamond Star Brooch!
A seven pointed star accented by laurel branches, “formed of 148 brilliants of the first water, and is enclosed in light blue velvet case, on which are stamped the initials of the bride and bridegroom,” the Diamond Star Brooch created by Dyson and Sons of Windsor was among a series of diamond stars Princess Marie Louise received as wedding gifts upon her marriage to Prince Aribert of Anhalt in 1891, this from the Town of Windsor, near to where she grew up at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park. Princess Marie Louise said after receiving the gift at the Windsor Town Hall:
I thank you for this beautiful gift, which I shall always value as a souvenir of my English home.”
The Diamond Star Brooch was worn by Princess Marie Louise on her wedding day, pinned to the centre of her bodice, though Queen Victoria only recorded in her diary that she wore
“her mother’s wedding veil, and the diamond stars I gave her, pinned in amongst the wreath”
The marriage was unhappy and the couple were divorced in 1900, but Princess Marie Louise retained her jewels, among them this Diamond Star Brooch, which was worn for a series of portraits in the 1910s, and also for the Coronation of King George VI in 1937, with her new Cartier India Tiara.
A more prominent appearance came at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, when she hid sandwiches and a flask in her coronet, pairing with the Cartier India Tiara and her Diamond Sunburst Brooch.
At the time of her death in 1956, Princess Marie Louise left some Jewels to the Queen, the Diamond Sunburst Brooch to the Queen Mother, the Cartier Indian Tiara to the Duke of Gloucester, and the Honeysuckle Tiara and Cartier Stomacher to Princess Patricia of Connaught / Lady Patricia Ramsay, while this Diamond Star Brooch was inherited by Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, though she does not seem to have worn it before it was auctioned along with two other jewels from Princess Marie Louise in 1975, the year after the death of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester. The current location is unknown.