Today marks the Anniversary of the Death of Patricia Knatchbull, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma, who passed away on this day in 2017! The first cousin of the late Duke of Edinburgh, who lost her father, mother-in-law, and son in the tragic IRA assassination that made her a Countess in her own right, Lady Mountbatten had a spectacular jewellery collection, which included Lady Brabourne’s Diamond Earrings!
Each featuring a marquise-shaped diamond element, from which was suspended a round diamond cluster and an inverted pear-shaped diamond element, these striking heirlooms have an unknown provenance but were likely acquired around the same time as the Brabourne Tiara in 1925.
The Diamond Earrings were notably worn by Lady Brabourne, along with the Brabourne Tiara and Art Deco Parure, for multiple series of Official Portraits taken during Lord Brabourne’s time as the Governor of Bombay and the Governor of Bengal, as well as for countless viceregal receptions.
By the 1950s, Lady Brabourne has passed on the Diamond Earrings, along with the Brabourne Tiara, to her daughter-in-law the later Countess Mountbatten (the then Lady Brabourne) to wear at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the wife of her first cousin, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Countess Mountbatten wore the Diamond Earrings at several events through the 1960s and the 1970s, most notably for the Wedding of Princess Margaret in 1960, along with elements of the Mountbatten Pearl Star Tiara.
More recently, Lady Brabourne’s Diamond Earrings were worn by the Countess’ daughter-in-law, the then Lady Romsey, for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s Golden Wedding Anniversary Gala in 1997, along with Queen Louise’s Diamond Brooch.
Unlike most of the Jewels of Lady Brabourne, the Earrings were not included in the The Family Collection of the late Countess Mountbatten of Burma Sale at Sotheby’s in 2021, so they likely still remain with the current Countess Mountbatten and we await their reappearance!