Princess Margaret was Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister and the second daughter of King George VI.
Margarget’s presence was arguably as commanding (and intimidating) as Her Majesty. Her life was filled with flash and excitement, and she ran with a very trendy set of people. The stories of her jewelry are almost as interesting as the life she led.
I’ve asked my favorite jewelry blogger, The Court Jeweller, to explain the stories behind some of Princess Margaret’s jewelry
What is your favorite piece of jewelry owned by Margaret?
But I think I’m going to go with the set of diamond floral brooches given to her by her husband, Lord Snowdon. The set is really versatile and can be worn in lots of various configurations.
Margaret’s daughter, Lady Sarah, wore the brooches combined as a floral tiara on her wedding day in 1994.
Sarah inherited the set of brooches in 2002, and she’s worn them as dress ornaments in the years since. She also very kindly loaned the brooches to her half-sister, Lady Frances, to wear at her own wedding in 2006. Instead of wearing them as a tiara, Frances wore the brooches arranged in the back of her hair.
The Queen inherited several pieces of jewelry from Victoria, Queen Mary and her own mother. Did Margaret inherit any equally gorgeous and historical pieces?
Like her elder sister, Princess Margaret received a whole cache of jewelry from their grandmother, Queen Mary. One of the oldest heirloom pieces that Margaret owned was a diamond hoop necklace that had belonged to Mary’s mother, the Duchess of Teck.
That necklace can also be worn as a tiara; today it belongs to Margaret’s son, Viscount Linley. His sister, Lady Sarah, inherited a gorgeous pearl and diamond necklace that Margaret received from Queen Mary.
David and Sarah had to sell a large number of pieces of jewelry that Margaret inherited from Queen Mary to pay off the massive taxes on their mother’s estate after her death. The sale included the Lady Mount Stephen Necklace, a diamond collet necklace that Margaret wore at nearly all major state occasions.
Some auctioned pieces had been given to Mary by her husband, King George V, to mark birthdays or anniversaries. At least one of these gifts, a diamond bracelet studded with a pearl, a ruby, and a sapphire, was acquired from the collection of his aunt, the late Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia. David and Sarah also sold pieces of jewelry that Mary had given to Margaret for birthdays and other important milestones.
I am fascinated by the beauty of Margaret’s wedding tiara. Tell me about this piece.
In my mind, Margaret’s wedding tiara is extra special because she bought it herself. The Poltimore Tiara was made by Garrard in 1870 for Florence, Lady Poltimore. It was worn by her daughter-in-law, Margaret, at the 1911 coronation of Princess Margaret’s grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary. In January 1959, Lord Poltimore auctioned the tiara, and Princess Margaret purchased it for less than 6,000 pounds.
The massive tiara is convertible: the piece can be taken apart, with sections able to be worn as a necklace or as a set of eleven (!) brooches.
Margaret wore it at her wedding, and she kept wearing it for the rest of her life at banquets and other important events.
At the 2006 sale of Margaret’s jewels, the tiara fetched — wait for it — 1.7 MILLION DOLLARS. The buyer also received the tiara’s blue velvet case and a special screwdriver to transform it into various configurations.
Read more about Margaret’s jewelry here.