Today marks the centenary of the death of Princess Helena, who was born on this day in 1923! Queen Victoria’s third daughter who married a Prince of Schleswig-Holstein, Princess Helena resided in the United Kingdom for her whole life, wearing several splendid jewels, including this Diamond Corsage Brooch!
A spectacular diamond cluster surrounded by diamond scrolls, with three diamond pendants, this diamond corsage brooch is of unknown provenance but was possibly a wedding gift to Princess Helena when she married Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein in 1866.
Princess Helena notably wore the Diamond Corsage Brooch with her Diamond Tiara for a portrait taken around the time of the Coronation of King George Vin 1911. After her passing in 1923, the Diamond Corsage Brooch seems to be among the jewels, like Queen Victoria’s Hessian Diamond Jubilee Brooch, that went into the main royal collection, rather than being inherited by Princess Helena Victoria or Princess Marie Louise.
When King George V and Queen Mary’s third son, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, married Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott in 1935, the bride received several spectacular wedding gifts, including the Gloucester Honeysuckle Tiara and Queen Mary’s Teck Turquoise Tiara and Parure, as well as this Diamond Corsage Brooch, which went on display with the other wedding gifts.
Princess Alice began wearing the Diamond Corsage Brooch soon after the Wedding, with notable appearances at the Coronation of King George VI in 1937 with the Gloucester Honeysuckle Tiara as well as the Anglo-Danish Society Dinner in London in 1950, the Royal School of Needlework Reception at St James’ Palace, a Gala Performance at Covent Garden, and the Royal Film Performance of ‘Where No Vultures Fly’ in 1951.
The Duchess of Gloucester also wore the Diamond Corsage Brooch at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, a Dorothy Wilding Portrait, a Gala Performance at the Drottningholm Palace Theatre in 1956, the Order of Amaranth Ball, and the Iraqi State Visit to Britain in 1956.
By the 1980s, Princess Alice had given the Diamond Corsage Brooch to her daughter-in-law, the current Duchess of Gloucester, who wore it quite regularly with the Cartier India Tiara and the Iveagh Tiara through the 1980s and the 1990s.
More recently, the Duchess of Gloucester has worn the Diamond Corsage Brooch as a pendant from a diamond riviere for several gala events and a Guildhall Banquets, as well as Queen Margrethe’s Banquet at the Natural History Museum in London in 2000. There is no doubt we will continue to see this spectacular Heirlooms for years to come!