Today marks the 145th Anniversary of the Birth of Princess Anastasia of Greece and Denmark, who was born on this day in 1878. The wealthy American widow who married the youngest son of the first Greek King, Princess Anastasia possessed a spectacular jewellery collection, from which we are featuring her spectacular Cartier Diamond Bandeau Tiara!
But first, lets learn about Princess Anastasia! Born as May Stewart into a wealthy family in Ohio, she was first married to George Ely Worthington for five years, before marrying the wealthy William Bateman Leeds, known as the ‘Tin King’, in 1900. The couple had one son, William Bateman Leeds, Jr., before his death in 1908, leaving massive fortune of 35 million dollars. Mrs Nancy Leeds settled in France, where she met Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark, the youngest son of King George I of Greece and Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia, to whom she got engaged in Capri in 1914, though the wedding was delayed due to family opposition and the outbreak of the First World War, which ended with the Greek Royal Family in the first of their many exile. Eventually, Nancy Leeds and Prince Christopher got married in Switzerlands in 1920, the year before her only son married her husband’s niece, Princess Xenia Georgievna of Russia. Through her husband, she became the aunt of King George II, King Alexander and King Paul of Greece, Queen Helen of Romania, the Duchess of Aosta (the short-lived Queen of Croatia), the Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Margarita, Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Princess Cecile, Grand Duchess of Hesse, Princess Theodora, Margravine of Baden, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, Princess Paul of Yugoslavia, Princess Sophie of Greece and Hanover, Princess Eugenie of Greece, and Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia. Shortly after her wedding, the Princess was diagnosed with Cancer and passed away at the age of 45 in London in 1923, being buried with her parents in New York City.
Composed of large collet diamonds set within two bands of diamonds, joined by alternation smaller diamonds, this Tiara is of unknown provenance but was created at Cartier in the early 1910s, likely around the time Mrs Leeds acquired her iconic Cartier Pearl and Diamond Tiara.
Mrs Leeds notably wore her Cartier Diamond Bandeau Tiara along with a magnificent Diamond Bow Stomacher that had two pear-shaped diamonds for a portrait taken shortly before the outbreak of the First World War.
When Nancy Leeds married Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark, the youngest son of King George I of Greece and Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia, in Switzerland in 1920, she wore her Cartier Diamond Bandeau Tiara with the Cartier Diamond Bow Stomacher and a spectacular Cartier Diamond Necklace.
After her death in 1923, Princess Anastasia’s property was inherited by her only son, William, and her husband, Prince Christopher, but the fate of all of her jewels remains unknown, except that they were photographed at some point, but it is not known if that was for cataloguing, exhibition or auction.