LONDON – A Royal presentation diamond brooch given by Queen Elizabeth II to Lavina, Duchess of Norfolk, for assistance prior to her coronation in 1953, sold June 14 for £180,000 to a European collector during a Noonans auction titled Jewellery, Watches and Objects of Vertu.
Formerly the property of Lavinia Fitzalan-Howard, Duchess of Norfolk, the diamond and platinum brooch by Garrard & Co. Ltd. was modeled in the form of the letters ER in the queen’s own handwriting, and signed to the reverse “With grateful thanks.”
Head of the Jewellery Department and Associate Director at Noonans Frances Noble explained: “The duchess stood in for the queen during the rehearsals held at Westminster Abbey in the lead-up to the coronation on June 2, 1953. As Earl Marshall of England, the Duchess of Norfolk’s husband, Bernard Fitzalan-Howard, 16th Duke of Norfolk, had overall responsibility for the organization of the coronation, and indeed he had also planned the coronation of King George VI in 1937.”
She continued, “Six identical brooches to this example were also given to the six Maids of Honour who attended the queen at the coronation: Lady Jane Vane-Tempest-Stewart, Lady Anne Coke (later Lady Anne Glenconner), Lady Moyra Hamilton, Lady Mary Baillie-Hamilton, Lady Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby and Lady Rosemary Spencer-Churchill. This is the first time that one of these brooches has been offered for sale at auction. The brooch was accompanied by a handwritten letter from the Queen addressed to Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk and dated June 4, 1953, two days after the coronation, in which she expressed her thanks to the duchess.”
The sale also included an Art Deco diamond brooch that was formerly the property of Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. Dating from circa 1930, the geometrically designed brooch was mounted in platinum and was bought by the current vendor from an auction at Sotheby’s in 1979, which had included a collection of seven jewels sold on behalf of Princess Margaret. The diamond brooch sold for £60,000 against an estimate of £6,000-£8,000 and, following a tense battle between three phone bidders, was purchased by a European collector.
The current rate of exchange is £1 = $1.20.
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