Our week-long Sparkling Spotlight tribute to royal ladies with October birthdays features a trip in a time machine today! The famed Queen Marie of Romania, who loved dramatic royal jewels, celebrated her birthday on October 29. Today, we’re showcasing jewels she wore for a theatrical portrait session during her time as Romania’s crown princess.
Marie was born Princess Marie of Edinburgh, the eldest daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh (a son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert) and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia (the only daughter of Tsar Alexander II of Russia). She married Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania in 1893, and they succeeded to the throne as King Ferdinand and Queen Marie of Romania in 1914. Around 1908, while she was still Romania’s crown princess, Marie posed for a series of dramatic portraits. These were published as postcards in Germany (where her parents lived) and Romania.
In the portraits, Marie poses wearing a light, floaty medieval-inspired dress with sparkling sequin detailing. The photos were taken in the Silver Bedroom within her private apartments at the Cotroceni Palace in Bucharest. The palace was built in 1895 and decorated largely to Marie’s taste. You’ll note her flair for the dramatic in the oversized furnishings, the Celtic-inspired engravings and crosses (the reason that the room is sometimes also called the “Celtic Bedroom”), the large floral displays, and even the animal skin that drapes her chair in several images.
In several of the pictures from the portrait session, Crown Princess Marie is draped in ropes of pearls. These coordinate nicely with her choice of tiara: her Diamond Loop Tiara, which was one of the jewels that she sent to her Russian imperial relatives during World War I for safekeeping. This turned out, of course, to be a massive error. The Russian Revolution soon toppled her cousin, Tsar Nicholas II, from his throne, and Marie’s jewels were never seen again. There have been attempts to track down the lost pieces, but so far, they’re still MIA.
Marie completed the look with a pair of jewels set with diamonds and amethysts. She wears a double cross pendant that features large amethysts in the center of each Maltese cross. Around her waist, she affixed a moonstone and amethyst belt made in the medieval style. One of the most important experts on Romania’s royal family, Diana Mandache, shares that some of the jewels from the image are now included in the collection of the Romanian National History Museum in Bucharest.