07 January 2014

Jewel History: State Ball at Delhi (1903)

Lady Curzon, Vicereine of India [1]
"State Ball at Delhi"
(originally appeared in The Washington Post, 7 Jan 1903)

Delhi, India, Jan. 6 -- The state ball tonight in the palace of the grand mogul proved to be one of the most attractive features of the Durbar festivities. The European dance among the columns and pillars of the palace was a strange and wonderful sight. When a fanfare of silver trumpets at 10 o'clock announced the arrival of the viceroy, Lord Curzon of Kedleston, the scene was a brilliant one. Lady Curzon was gowned in gold brocade and wore a magnificent tiara [2] and necklace of diamonds, with four rubies that had belonged to the King of Theebaw [3].

Some 5,000 guests were present, among them the Duke of Connaught, Lord Kitchener, and all the other prominent personages in India, the Duchess of Marlborough, and numerous other Americans. Lord and Lady Curzon and the Duke and Duchess of Connaught on the royal dais received scores of native princes, whose costumes were dazzling creations.

1. Detail of a colorized picture postcard of Lady Curzon wearing the famous Worth "peacock" dress at the 1903 Durbar festivities; source here.
2. For the ball, Lady Curzon wore her Boucheron tiara, made in 1898 for her state trousseau. Read more about the tiara at A Tiara a Day.
3. Thibaw Min was the last king of Burma, reigning from 1878 to 1885; he was forced to abdicate by the British after they invaded the country. Read more here.