Today marks the Anniversary of the Birth of Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, Princess of Hanover, who was born on this day in 1925! The Consort of the Head of the illustrious House of Hannover, Princess Ortrud, had limited access to a huge vault of jewels, but this Hanoverian Topaz Parure was among her most worn piece!
Comprising a spectacular necklace of rectangular Topazes singed with diamonds with pear-shaped diamond pendants, the Parure also includes several large Topaz and Diamond Brooches and a pair of Earrings, which were like created from the pendants of the necklace.
The provenance of the Parure is unknown, but it is likely an antique heirloom from the early part of the 19th century, being notably worn by Princess Frederica of Hanover, the eldest daughter of the King George V of Hanover, being worn as a corsage ornament in a 16th century fancy costume in 1863, along with her brother, Crown Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover.
The Topaz Parure remained an Heirloom of the Hanoverian Royal Family through the trials and tribulation of the next century, including the annexation of the Kingdom of Hannover, exile, the First World War and the end of the German Monarchies, and devastation of the Second World War, becoming one of the primary jewels, along with her Diamond Necklace Tiara, of Princess Ortrud née of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, the consort of the Prince of Hanover, head of the Royal House and son of Princess Victoria Louise, Duchess of Brunswick and Prince Ernst August of Hanover. Princess Ortrud wore the Topaz Parure and her Diamond Necklace Tiara for several glittering occasions beginning with the the Wedding Gala of Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia and Princess Maria Pia of Italy in Portugal in 1955.
The following year, the Topaz Parure and Diamond Necklace Tiara were worn for the Christening of her son, Prince Ludwig Rudolph of Hanover, in 1956 and also for a spectacular Gala during King Paul and Queen Frederica of Greece’s State Visit to Germany, with her Diamond Necklace Tiara.
Princess Ortrud continued to wear her the Topaz Parure for Royal Events in the 1960s, including the Wedding of Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and the Prince’s niece, Princess Sophia of Greece, in 1962 or the Wedding of his nephew, King Constantine of Greece, and Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark in 1964. The Prince had a falling out with his mother, Princess Victoria Louise, who still retained the Brunswick Tiara and other historic jewels, (which even became the subject of a court case) and thus Princess Ortrud had relatively few jewels as the Consort to the Head of the illustrious House of Hannover, and since she passed away just a few months before her mother-in-law, she never got access to the entire collection, with the Topaz Parure remaining her most spectacular Heirloom.
Unlike the Hanoverian Diamond Necklace Tiara, which has not been publicly worn since Princess Ortrud, the Topaz Parure was worn, along with the Hanoverian Floral Tiara, by the then Princess Chantal, the then wife of Prince Ernst August of Hanover, for the Wedding Ball of Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein and Duchess Sophie in Bavaria at Schloss Nymphenburg in 1993. Since then the Topaz Parure has neither been worn by the current Princess of Hanover nor the Hereditary Princess or Princess Alessandra. Lets hope this spectacular family heirloom makes a reappearance soon!