Let’s round out our tribute to royal ladies with April birthdays with a look back to a royal woman from history: Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom, the daughter and mother of queens.
Princess Beatrice was the youngest of the nine children of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She married Prince Henry of Battenberg and had four children of her own, the most famous of whom was Queen Ena of Spain. Beatrice inherited some gorgeous jewels from her mother, including a delicate diamond tiara with a sunray fringe pattern.
Here, in 1911, Princess Beatrice poses for an official portrait wearing the sunray fringe with a diamond meander base. The two pieces were separate jewels that could be worn independently as well.
Here’s a look at Queen Victoria wearing the sunray fringe in the summer of 1896. She’s also wearing several other pieces of recognizable royal jewelry, including the Coronation Necklace and Earrings, the Diamond Fringe Brooch, and one of her Ears of Wheat ornaments. And, of course, that’s a portrait of Prince Albert in the pearl bracelet on her right wrist.
This portrait of Princess Beatrice, painted in 1912 by noted portraitist Philip de Laszlo, shows her wearing the diamond meander tiara on its own.
The June 1911 portrait, by Bassano in London, was taken in connection with the coronation of her nephew, King George V of the United Kingdom, the same month. In the images (which show interesting signs of early “photoshop”-like editing) Beatrice wears the fringe and meander tiaras together to form a taller diadem. (Sadly, we don’t really know what happened to either tiara.) She also wears other pearl and diamond jewels from her collection. This image from the portrait sitting in particular gives us an excellent view of a trio of diamond fringe brooches pinned to her bodice.
She’s wearing a series of decorations on her right shoulder, including the Order of the Crown of India and the Royal Order of Victoria & Albert, as well as the Royal Family Orders of her brother, King Edward VII, and her nephew, King George V.
She also wore diamond earrings and several necklaces: a seed pearl choker with an elaborate diamond and pearl clasp and pearl pendants, a diamond rivière, and a long pearl sautoir. I think this image is particularly interesting, because the glass plate has cracked—a fascinating little artifact of photography from the period.
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