Diana's treasure: what happened to her jewels?

In a parallel world not far from our hearts, Lady Diana would perhaps be adding a pendant to a bracelet given to her by her beloved grandchildren. If the princess had not disappeared on a Parisian night in late August of 1997, now with good approximation it would be a happy grandmother who has just unwrapped the presents for her birthday . It is 59 in fact the years that Diana did not has accomplished (she was born on July 1 1961), most of which lived in the spotlight.

If we put one photo in succession to the other, we could almost make a film of it, such is the amount of images that we keep of the tragic heroine protagonist of the end of the last millennium.

It will be for this reason that we do not only remember her dresses that have entered our imagination by right but also the jewels that l 'they accompanied every public outing. There are not only tiaras and unimaginable quantities of diamonds, pearls and sapphires but also small joys from ordinary people who wore private moments such as the gold bracelet with charms given by Carlo ).

When the Prince of Wales still played the role of devoted husband, for each occasion he added a pendant including the initials of William and Harry, ballet shoes and the cathedral of Saint Paul where they married. We have had no news about the bracelet for years (experts record the last appearance in 1984) but a memorabilia of this importance will be jealously guarded by Diana's children in who knows what treasure chest. And who knows at what latitude, above all.

The will

The princess made her will in June of 1993 not imagining however to die so early and suddenly. The destination of the jewels was clear: his will was to leave his collection to the children to be divided according to the discretion so that their wives could enjoy it one day . And so did Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, who over the years occasionally paid tribute to the legendary mother-in-law by placing a ring, a pair of earrings or another necklace here and there to the delight of the real commentators who hurry to draw conclusions every time on the choice made.

Many of the precious items that we have seen from the very first years 80 until 1997 belonged to Diana's personal collection : perhaps it is useful to remember that blue blood was already flowing through the veins of ours since she was the daughter of Count John Spencer and the aristocrat Frances Ruth Roche. So where did Diana's jewels go? Let's try to follow her tracks starting from the two daughter-in-law.

The engagement rings

When the princess died, the boys were allowed to take something dear to her as a souvenir from Kensington's residence: William chose the gold Cartier Tank Française watch , a gift from the late father to Diana, while Harry took the engagement ring with which the father engaged himself with the mother, that sapphire from 12 carats surrounded by diamonds that we see on the ring finger of Kate . It seems that the two brothers had made a pact between them: the first one who gets engaged, uses the mother's ring.

This did not stop Harry from involving his mother in the love pledge given to Meghan. The two diamonds on the sides of the huge one arrived from Botswana may have been taken from one of the most loved jewels by the it girl real ante litteram . According to some rumors unconfirmed, it would be the pearl choker with an egg-sized sapphire worn with some of the outfits that made the stories such as the “revenge dress” and the “Travolta dress”, that of unbridled dance in the White House with the actor famous for his Saturday night fever, to understand each other.

Diana's aquamarine ring in all its glory. Photo Getty

The Duchess of Sussex for her part has brought home another masterpiece. The aquamarine worn at the wedding reception at the Frogmore House did not go unnoticed . Diana commissioned Asprey that very precious ring after the divorce but unfortunately we saw it on her finger very few times, the last two months before dying at the auction of her Christie's clothes. With that found he took three pigeons with a gem: the ring was simultaneously something old, something blue and a thought to the beloved mother of her husband.

The daughters-in-law and her jewels

In short, everything suggests that many of Diana's jewels are kept in the duchess' coffers but there is a but. To see them now those objects, although unique and priceless, are the quintessence of the years 80. Kate and Meghan, although with very different tastes and sensibilities, are lovers of contemporary jewelery and, in their own way, are writing their story in which they occasionally insert a tribute to the their darling. Meghan showed us part of her possessions until she took the famous step back as a member of the royal family. In her first release after the announcement of her pregnancy in Australia we saw her with butterfly earrings (part of a set that also included a necklace) and with gold bracelet with stones while Kate over the years has drawn often and willingly from her mother-in-law's jewels. Among the most amazing pieces there are certainly the earrings with diamonds and pearls of the South Seas worn at the BAFTAs of the 2019.

The tiaras of the princess

Scrolling through the photographs depicting Diana we almost always see her with two tiaras. The one she got married on 29 July of 1981 is the Spencer Tiara , the tiara belonging to her family for centuries to which she returned permanently after her death. The tiara was made famous by Lady Diana but was also worn on their wedding day by her sisters Sarah and Jane as well as Victoria Lockwood, the first wife of her brother Charles. After 25 years of darkness ( the last sighting dates back to 1993 and was on Diana's head), the Spencer tiara she came out again in 2018, at a wedding of course, that of her granddaughter Celia McCorquodale, Sarah's daughter.

In reality, for the big day the wife of the future king of England would have had to show off the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara , a diamond and pearl headdress that belonged to Queen Mary, inherited from Elizabeth who in turn decided to assign it to Diana as a wedding gift. The young bride decided to affirm her roots with that choice but did not disdain the gift that accompanied her in dozens of real commitments. The tiara, now back in the queen's collection, has returned to shine thanks to Kate who started using it the first time for a reception at Buckingham Palace in 2015 .

Fantasy in power

That Diana would bring some confusion to the enchanted Windsor house could be seen from how she played with the jewels. His collection boasts numerous collars, some of which are transformed into sparkling hair bands . Assembling and disassembling jewelry was his passion. The egg-sized sapphire was originally a brooch received as a gift from the Queen Mother mounted on a seven-strand pearl necklace. Among the wedding gifts, the one who spared no expense was the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. The sapphire set made by Asprey included a diamond necklace with pendant, a watch, a bracelet, a pair of earrings and a ring. Modernizing everything would have been an excess of rudeness but perhaps even keeping them in the drawer was not good: therefore Diana made her Cartier suffice and from the strap and other gems that she did not use of that set she pulled out one of her famous chokers. Those who benefit from the earrings also affected by the restyling are Kate who can combine them with the engagement ring.

The jewels returned home

Of the gifts made to Diana by members of the royal family, many after the divorce and departure went back to the sender. Not only the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara or the art deco choker of Queen Mary in diamonds and emeralds worn as a crown (Charles for the 22 th birthday had given her a matching bracelet remained in the Lady D collection) but among those returned to there is also a diamond brooch with Prince of Wales feathers . The princess used that wedding gift received by the Queen Mother as a pendant hanging from that diamond necklace of the Saudi parure and in the years 80 has often and willingly adorned his neck. Since as we said in that family the jewels make huge turns and then return to who has been seen the pin in recent years? Yes, right on Camilla who hoped to get away with it all the past time but you know, to the royal watchers nothing can be hidden.

… and those that went to the auction

Compared to the other relics of British royalty, Diana's jewels have remained, for better or for worse, in the family. Shortly before her death, however, the princess, aware of her popularity, had started to undress her clothes to auction them with the aim of raising funds for the causes that were close to her heart. The novella San Francesco would probably have gone on separating some precious since on September 6 1997 they would have had to beat some personal pieces such as a cross with a gold chain worn in Brazil in 1991 in a center that hosted AIDS patients . Since Diana's funeral was unfortunately held on the day set for the auction, the cross was sold twenty years later to an Australian collector who declares on Instagram that he also has a pair of pearl earrings. “Paul Burrell (Diana's historic butler) told me they were destined for a charity auction in Melbourne for the homeless. After more than twenty years the earrings have finally arrived in Australia “he writes in a post. Among the personal goods intended for charitable sale there is also added a necklace with the initial in silver and stones coming from the jewelry box of the very young Diana: who purchased it in 2017 spent just under 9 thousand dollars.

The Swan Lake necklace

The necklace is so called because it was worn for the first and only time by Diana on the occasion of the ballet Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall a few months before the accident. Made by Garrard with just under 200 diamonds and five pearls was herself to design it as a set in which earrings were also foreseen which, due to a delay of the jeweler, she did not have time to wear. This unique jewel has passed from hand to hand to auction houses and businessmen up to a Ukrainian couple who in 2017 put it up for auction for 12 millions of dollars having paid it ten years earlier 630 thousand. A quotation justified by the fact that “it is a general opinion that these may be the only important Diana jewels to be sold”.

And in the future?

One of the paranoias generated by the affair Meghan is that there is so little confidence in that marriage that some fear that once they come into possession of those jewels, one day you can sell them. The royal watchers know well that there are still many pieces to show off like the pearl necklace received for his 18 th birthday, numerous bracelets and other sets received as Wedding present. Now that the real commitments have resumed after the interruption from Covid, Kate could soon take some other precious mother-in-law from the safe . Meghan instead took her chest to the other side of the ocean and who knows when we will see all that bendidio on her again. At the moment, however, it seems that we will see only timid but significant tributes because the two, partly for the role and partly for the character, do not seem to be like diamond collars. Who will perhaps embody the spirit of the grandmother will be Charlotte who will undoubtedly give us great moments of style in a short time: she seems perfect for playing with diamonds and sapphires and who knows if she does not do it already in the privacy of her bedroom. It must be said that, if a good morning starts in the morning, we would be very happy to break the mold like grandmother wearing necklaces instead of crowns.


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