26 September 2017

Jewel History: Princess Marina's Ring (1934)

Prince George and Princess Marina, Duke and Duchess of Kent (Wikimedia Commons)

"Princess Marina's Ring"
(originally appeared in the Guardian, 13 Sep 1934)

Prince George [1] left London by train for Balmoral last night, where he is to join the King [2] and Queen [3]. He travelled alone. Yesterday morning he returned to England from his holiday in Yugoslavia, during which he has become engaged to Princess Marina of Greece [4]. The Princess is at present in Paris.


Prince George greets Princess Marina, her parents, and her sister, Princess Olga, at the docks in Dover

Soon after arriving in London, Prince George went to buy an engagement ring; he will give it to the Princess when he meets her on Sunday on her arrival in England with her parents, Prince [5] and Princess [6] Nicholas of Greece.


Embed from Getty Images

The stone which Prince George chose is a beautiful square-cut Kashmir sapphire set in platinum with a baton diamond -- an oblong square-cut diamond -- on either side. Its technical description is "a square emerald cut Kashmir sapphire," and it comes from the famous sapphire mines in Kashmir, where, according to a jewellery expert, the best gems in the world are found.


George and Marina pose for newsreel cameras on the grounds of Balmoral Castle

"This is a particularly fine specimen," the expert told a reporter, "and is cut in the modern square shape." Sapphires, according to one in close touch with Prince George, are the favourite stone of Princess Marina. The weight and value of the stone is being kept secret.

The purchase was made at Messrs. Cartier, the famous jewellers, in Albemarle Street, and work on the ring began within a few moments of Prince George's departure. A member of Messrs. Cartiers' said: "Prince George has displayed the most modern taste in his choice both of the ring and of the setting. His selection will undoubtedly make sapphires the most popular ring for engagements this year."


Marina and George pose for cameras at Marlborough House in London


NOTES

1. Prince George, Duke of Kent (1902-1942) was the fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary of the United Kingdom. He served in the military and worked as a diplomat, but he was also known for his hedonistic personal life. Although he reportedly had numerous relationships with both women and men, he married his second cousin, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, in 1934. They had three children before George's tragic death in a plane crash in Scotland during World War II.

2. King George V of the United Kingdom (1865-1936), who reigned from 1910 until his death in 1936, was Prince George's father.

3. Queen Mary of the United Kingdom (1867-1953), born Princess Mary of Teck, was the consort of King George V and Prince George's mother.

4. Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent (1906-1968), born Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, was the last foreign princess to marry a member of the British royal family. She was the youngest daughter of Prince and Princess Nicholas of Greece and Denmark; her paternal grandparents were King George I and Queen Olga of the Hellenes, and her maternal grandparents were Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia. She married Prince George, Duke of Kent (her second cousin) in 1934. (Her mother-in-law, Mary of Teck, was also one of her godparents.) George and Marina had three children -- Prince Edward (now Duke of Kent), Princess Alexandra, and Prince Michael. Only weeks after Michael's birth, George died in a plane crash in Scotland. Marina remained a vital, visible member of the royal family after her husband's death. She also became an international fashion icon.

5. Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark (1872-1938), Princess Marina's father, was the third son of King George I of the Hellenes and his Russian-born queen, Olga Constantinovna. Nicholas married his second cousin, Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia, in 1902; they had three daughters. He died only four years after Marina married Prince George.

6. Princess Nicholas of Greece and Denmark (1882-1957), born Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia, was Princess Marina's mother. She was the only daughter of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia. She married her second cousin, Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark, in 1902. They had three daughters: Princess Olga of Yugoslavia; Princess Elizabeth, Countess of Toerring-Jettenbach; and Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent.