Friday, 3 May 2013

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands: Inauguration Tiara

The Saphire parure was a gift of King Willem III to his wife Queen Emma in 1881.
The design is probably by the famous jewelery-designer Oscar Masin who also worked for the Paris jewelery-firm of Mellerio.

Original design of 1867 with diamonds in place of the sapphires

Oscar Masin was a master-jeweler who worked/designed for several jewelery-houses. The original design of the tiara is already drawn up by him in 1867 but it was 1881 when it actually came to making and delivering this tiara.

On the 14th of December 1881 the large tiara was delivered to the Dutch Royal House also together with a second frame (for a much smaller setting for using only the top row of 27 diamonds from the big Tiara) and also with two huge diamond and sapphire bracelets.
Tiara design of 1881.

The 31 sapphires came from kashmir and the 655 brilliant-cut diamonds used for this tiara came from the Jagers-Fontein-Diamonds-Mine in South-Africa.

The setting is partly done with "pampille en tremblant" a technique used often by Oscar Masin and which he perfected.

This technique is to put diamonds (in their setting) on very small movable springs that bring out the most of the sparkle of the diamonds! Because of this the sapphire tiara and also the small other tiara that can be made with another frame have a great capacity to catch the light because of the little movements due to the small springs with which the diamonds are attached.

Alternate versions

In 1928 the tiara was totally renewed when (identical to the original design) a new frame was made by the dutch jewelery-company "Van Kempen en Vos" in The Hague. The old frame was made of gold and the new much lighter frame was made with platinum.

Queen Beatrix

The design of the necklace looks a lot like the tiara's design and is of later date but made to match the tiara. The big pendant of the necklace is nowadays often worn as pendant on a bow-pin and that makes it a brooch now, often worn by both Queen Beatrix and Princes Margriet.

The tiara was worn by HM Queen Maxima of the Netherlands on 30 April 2013; the Inauguration of King Willem-Alexander.

Queen Maxima

The Orange-Nassau Family has lots of sapphires in their possession even one of 163 carats (to compare: the biggest sapphire in the front of the Tiara is 44 carats). Several of these were originally bought by Queen Anna-Pavlovna (wife of William II of the Netherlands) who loved saphires!

Queen Maxima


Thursday, 2 May 2013

Inauguration Gown of Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

Inauguration custom made gown of Queen Maxima by Dutch designer Jan Taminiau.

The Royal family of the Netherlands; King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima, Princess Beatrix (former Queen) and the daughters of the King and Queen TRH Princesses of the Netherlands.

The current heir is now their eldest daughter, HRH Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange, Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau (official name: Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria; born 7 December 2003). Her official title in Dutch is Hare Koninklijke Hoogheid De Prinses van Oranje.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

30 APRIL 2013: ABDICATION of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands

The eve of Queen Beatrix's abdication
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has made a farewell national address on the eve of her abdication and investiture of her son, Prince Willem-Alexander. 

The queen thanked the Dutch people for their "heart-warming displays of affection" and paid tribute to her late husband, Prince Claus.

The queen was also attending a sumptuous gala dinner in her honour at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

She has been head of state since 1980, when her mother abdicated.

Monday evening's gala dinner was attended by her family and other invited royals and high-ranking dignitaries, including Britain's Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain and Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik and his wife.

In her televised address, an emotional Queen Beatrix said that the people's devotion had given her the strength to carry on during her 33-year reign.

"Without your heart-warming and encouraging displays of affection, the burdens, which certainly have existed, would have weighed heavily."

Paying tribute to Prince Claus, who died in 2002, she said he had helped modernise the House of Orange.

"Perhaps history will bear out that the choice of my partner was my best decision."
The queen said hereditary authority of itself did not give substance to a contemporary monarchy; rather this was earned through "the will to serve the country".

Willem-Alexander is well-prepared for the task ahead of him and will stand above party and group interests, she said.

Now aged 75, the woman known affectionately as Queen Bea has said it is time for a new generation to take over.

In a short ceremony in the Royal Palace on Tuesday, she will sign the instrument of abdication.
Her son will become the Netherlands' first king since Willem III, who died in 1890.

Earlier on Monday, Willem-Alexander, 46, his future queen Maxima, an Argentinian-born investment banker, and their three children took part in a final dress rehearsal at Amsterdam's Nieuwe Kerk.

Abdication 'tradition'

Signing the throne over to her son, Willem-Alexander
Queen Beatrix is the sixth monarch from the House of Orange-Nassau, which has ruled the Netherlands since the early 19th Century.

Correspondents say she is extremely popular with most Dutch people, but her abdication was widely expected and will not provoke a constitutional crisis.

Under Dutch law, the monarch has few powers and the role is considered ceremonial.
In recent decades it has become the tradition for the monarch to abdicate.

Queen Beatrix's mother Juliana resigned the throne in 1980 on her 71st birthday, and her grandmother Wilhelmina abdicated in 1948 at the age of 68.

She has remained active in recent years, but her reign has also seen traumatic events.
In 2009 a would-be attacker killed eight people when he drove his car into crowds watching the queen and other members of the royal family in a national holiday parade.

In February last year her second son, Prince Friso, was struck by an avalanche in Austria and remains in a coma.

King and Queen of the Netherlands


Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Duchess of Cambridge: Another unsuccessful attempt to link her to "noble" blood

This is just getting rather sad. The Daily Mail refuses to give up on finding possible "royal/noble" blood when it comes to the Duchess of Cambridge. The Daily Mail had previously put out a few years back that Kate or Catherine Middleton is a descendant of Mary Boleyn, sister of Queen Anne Boleyn. This however has been disproven by professional genealogists who have been researching her genealogy for years now. (

The latest attempt on 16 December 2012 to link her to "noble" blood (which the Daily Mail is incorrectly calling her ancestors) shows a link to a supposed second cousin, 3x removed; Barbara Lupton. The study was done by school children. "Pupils in Melbourne, Australia, stumbled across the link during a genealogy project set by their teacher Michael Reed." So how factually correct this all is -- we have no idea because once again, the Daily Mail, has NO sources as to where the information came from exactly! Just word of mouth!

What exactly is the obsession to link her to noble/royal blood? She is a commoner through and through.

According to the Daily Mail:
The teacher contacted Edward, the surviving son of Sir Christopher and Lady Bullock who confirmed the connection.

He also sent his findings to the Duchess, who thanked him for the research.

Her assistant private secretary Rebecca Deacon wrote back on October 19, in the early stages of Kate's pregnancy, that the Duchess sent her best wishes and thanks to the teacher.

Mr Reed told The Sunday Times: 'It is a good feeling to know that I've unearthed something that may be of interest to the Duchess, her family and the Royal family.'

He traced the Duchess's family line back five generations to the Marquess of Lansdowne and his brother Thomas FitzMaurice who lived at the Buckinghamshire stately home Cliveden with his wife Mary, 4th Countess of Orkney in the late 18th century.

William Bortrick, the chairman of Burke's Peerage, said it will make an 'interesting inclusion' in the next edition of the guide, which will be published after the Duchess gives birth.
Ok, let's get this correct. She is linked to them -- related by marriage -- she DOES NOT descend from them or have any blood connection to them so that means there is no noble blood involved. Olive Lupton, Kate's great-grandmother, is a 2nd cousin (distant relation for these days) of Barbara Lupton who married Sir Christopher Bullock. So these are not ancestors.

Ancestors: are those people you directly descend from, not extended family members! An ancestor or forebear is a parent or (recursively) the parent of an ancestor (i.e., a grandparent, great-grandparent, great-great-grandparent, and so forth). Ancestor is "any person from whom one is descended. In law the person from whom an estate has been inherited."

The ancestry here, according to the chart above is that of Bullocks father, The Rev. L. Bullock [full name not written out] who married Cecil Augusta Spearman. The connections come from Spearman's family, NOT the Lupton's OR Bullock's! So, the Duchess of Cambridge IS NOT related at all to these previous ancestors of Spearman as two marriages remove the Duchess's distant cousin from the actual family from which these notable people descend. She is only related to the children of Sir Christopher Bullock and Barbara Lupton -- Richard Henry Bullock and Edward Anthony Bullock.

The Prime Minister and Marquess of Lansdowne, William Petty FitzMaurice isn't even an ancestor of the Spearman's or the Duchess's cousin's (Richard and Edward Bullock), but rather a great-uncle of Thomas FitzMaurice, 5th Earl of Orkney (maternal grandfather of Cecil Augusta Spearman). The Marquess was a brother to Thomas FitzMaurice, the husband of Mary, suo jure 4th Countess of Orkney. So again, I applaud the Daily Mail at twisting the truth -- which is far from these conclusions.

As of right now, Kate's lineage only links her back to Edward III of England as an ancestor through a Sir William Fairfax (b. circa 1496). Sir William was the son of Sir Thomas Fairfax (b. circa 1475) and Agnes Gascoigne (b. circa 1474); herself the daughter of Sir William Gascoigne (b. circa 1450) and Lady Margaret Percy (b. circa 1447). By William Fairfax, she descends from Edward III thrice.

Sir William descends from Edward III by the king's granddaughter Lady Joan Beaufort's first marriage to Lord Ferrers. Their daughter Mary married to her step-brother, Sir Ralph Neville, son of Sir Ralph Neville (later 1st Earl of Westmorland) by his first wife, Lady Margaret Stafford. Sir Ralph would go on to marry Lady Joan Beaufort after the death of Margaret Stafford.

Lady Margaret Percy also descends from Edward III by her paternal grandparents, Sir Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland and Lady Eleanor Neville. Percy was a great-grandson of Prince Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence, son of Edward III. Eleanor Neville was another daughter of Lady Joan Beaufort by her second marriage to Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland.

However -- Croft's Peerage -- has put this up on their site...
A descent from Sir William Gascoigne V is one of the commonest "royal descents" in both Britain and the United States. The New England Historic Genealogical Society has estimated that up to 50 million Americans can trace their ancestry back to King Edward III. All of these people are related (albeit very distantly) to the Duke of Cambridge and possibly to the Duchess.

This purported Royal descent depends on the correct identification of the Duchess of Cambridge's Fairfax ancestors. Anthony Adolph ("The Fairfax Ancestry of the Duchess of Cambridge - A Correction" Genealogists' Magazine Vol 30 No 10 Jun 2012 page 407) casts a critical eye on this line of descent and finds that the Fairfaxes of Norwich are unlikely to be descended from the Fairfaxes of Walton and Gilling, thus making the Duchess of Cambridge's connections to royalty through her Fairfax ancestry "probable" at best.[4]
  1. WARGS.COM: Ancestry of Catherine Middleton
  2. Douglas Richardson. "Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd edition, 2011.
  3. Douglas Richardson. "Plantagenet Ancestry," 2nd edition, 2011.
  4. Croft's Peerage: Kate Middleton

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Turquoise Parures of Queen Mary

 The Turquoise Parures of Queen Mary
Queen Mary wearing the original tiara

There were two turquoise parures assembled by Queen Mary; one was worn by Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon and the other was given to the late Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester.[1]



The Gloucester Parure

Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester
The Queen Mary turquoise parure was given to the young Princess Mary of Teck (Queen Mary) by her parents the Duke and Duchess of Teck when she became engaged to the future George V in 1893. The parure, later given to the Duchess of Gloucester, consisted of three 1850 turquoise brooches, a tiara, a necklace, and earrings.[1] Over the years another drop necklace was added and the Teck earrings worn as detachable pendant drops on the oval cluster earrings.[1]

The three brooches had been a gift to Mary's mother, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, upon her confirmation in December 1850.[1] Princess Mary of Cambridge wore the two brooches as part of a headdress and the corsage brooch pined to her bodice when she attended her first debutante at Buckingham Palace.[1]

The collection known as the “Gloucester Jewels” is mainly the collection of jewels given to Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester upon her marriage to Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, son of King George V and Queen Mary, in August 1935.[1] During the beginning of the 20th century turquoise was a very fashionable stone and Queen Mary was aware of the Duchess's fondness of them. The turquoise parure from Queen Mary consists of the tiara, a long chained necklace of twenty-six turquoise and diamond oval clusters, matching cluster earrings and ring, two bow brooches, a bow-shaped corsage brooch with a tassel, a bangle bracelet, and two four row turquoise bead bracelets.[1]

Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester
The tiara of turquoise and diamonds was arranged in rococo scrolls and a sunburst. The centre of the tiara contains the largest turquoise in the piece surrounds by a “burst” of diamonds and turquoise pear shaped stones, quite similar to the famous Persian tiaras of Empress Farah of Iran. Apparently Queen Mary found the composition too high, and it was lowered by E. Wolff & Co. in August 1912.

On 29 October 2004, after the death of Princess Alice, the collection was passed to the current Duchess of Gloucester, wife of Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Her Grace has worn every parure known to have been given to her late mother-in-law Princess Alice.



The Princess Margaret Parure

Princess Margaret wearing her turquoise parure
As a baby, Princess Margaret was given a string of turquoise and pearl beads.[1] In August 1951, upon her 21st birthday, Princess Margaret was given the antique parure of Persian turquoises set in diamonds.[1]

The parure had been given to her mother upon her marriage in 1923 to the Duke of York, later George VI.[1] This parure consisted of a long necklace with a number of graduated pendant drops, matching pendant earrings, hair ornaments, a large square brooch, and a high oval tiara.[1] A bow brooch and ring were added to the set.[1]

Bow brooch most likely added after; © Christie’s 2012

The string of turquoise and pearl beads given to Margaret at birth were eventually given to her daughter, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones.[1]

  1. Leslie Field. ''The Queen's Jewels,'' Henry N. Abrams, Times Mirror Books, 1987. pg 158.


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Lady Frances Manners, Lady Bergavenny

Coat of arms of the 8th Baron Bergavenny
Lady Frances Neville, (née Manners) Lady Bergavenny (c.1530 - circa September 1576) was an English noblewoman and author. Little is known of either Lady or Lord Bergavenny, except that the latter was accused of behaving in a riotous and unclean manner by some Puritain commentators. Lady Bergavenny's work appeared in The Monument of Matrones in 1582 and was a series of "Praiers". Her devotions were sixty-seven prose prayers, one metrical prayer against vice, a long acrostic prayer on her daughter's name, and an acrostic prayer containing her own name.


Frances, Lady Bergavenny was the third daughter of Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland and his second wife, Eleanor Paston. Her father was a soldier and the eldest son of Sir George Manners of Belvoir, Leicestershire, and his wife, Anne St. Leger. By Anne St. Leger, Frances was thus a great-granddaughter of Anne of York, the elder sister of Edward IV and Richard III.

Before 1554, Frances had married Henry Nevill, 6th Baron Bergavenny. Nevill or Neville, was born between 1527 and 1535. He was the son of George Neville, 3rd Lord Bergavenny and Lady Mary Stafford. Neville succeeded to the title of 4th Lord Bergavenny after his father's death in 1535. He held office of Chief Larderer at the coronation of Queen Mary in 1553. When Lady Bergavenny died in 1576, Neville remarried to Elizabeth Darrell, daughter of Stephen Darrell and Philippe Weldon, before 1586; they had no issue. He died 10 February 1586/87 without male issue. He was buried on 21 March 1586/87 at Birling, Kent, England.

She died circa September 1576 and was buried at Birling, Kent, England.


Lord and Lady Bergavenny had one daughter Hon. Mary Neville, Baroness Le Despenser (25 March 1554 -- 28 June 1626). Mary gained the title of suo jure 3rd/7th Baroness le Despenser. She had claimed the succession to the Barony of Bergavenny, but this was settled on her cousin, Edward Neville, who became the 7th Baron Bergavenny.

The first, second, and fourth creations of Baron le Despenser had been under attainder from 1400 upon the death of Mary's ancestor, Thomas le Despencer, 2nd Baron le Despencer, [1st Earl of Gloucester] (1373–1400) and became abeyant as well in 1449 after the death of the infant Lady Anne Beauchamp, the 15th Countess of Warwick. The representation of the three Baronies of le Despencer fell into abeyance between Anne's cousin George Nevill, 4th Baron Bergavenny and aunt, Anne de Beauchamp, 16th Countess of Warwick. On the attainder and execution of Lady Margaret Plantagenet [Margaret Pole], Countess of Salisbury on 28 May 1541 any claim to the three Baronies by the descendants of the 16th Countess of Warwick, lapsed and the sole representation lay with the Barons Bergavenny. The attainder of Thomas, 2nd Baron le Despenser, was reversed in 1461 but the abeyancies continued until 25 May 1604, when the abeyancy of the 1295 Barony of le Despencer was terminated in favour of Mary Neville. She married Sir Thomas Fane, son of George Fane, on 12 December 1574. They were parents to Sir Francis Fane, who gained the title of 1st Earl of Westmorland. The title of Earl of Westmorland was forfeit after the death of Mary's cousin, Charles Neville, 6th Earl of Westmorland. The title was revived in 1624 in favour of Fane because Mary was a descendant of Sir Edward Neville, 1st Baron Bergavenny, a younger son of the 1st Earl of the 1329 creation [Ralph Neville, husband of Lady Joan Beaufort and son-in-law to Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster].

Lady Despenser died on 28 June 1626 at age 72.


Her Praiers in prose and verse were later published in 1582 by Thomas Bentley in the Second Lamp of his anthology of Protestant women writer's prayers, The Monument of Matrones. In a deathbed dedication of her work to her daughter, she calls it a "jewell of health for the soule, and a perfect path to paradise." Her collection includes sixty-seven pages of prose prayers for private use and public worship linked to various occasions and times of day; a five-page acrostic prayer based on her daughter Mary Fane’s name, and a concluding prayer based on her own name.


  • Beilin, Elaine V. "Frances Neville, Lady Bergavenny" in Matthew, H.C.G. and Brian Harrison, eds. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. vol. 45, 490-491. London: OUP, 2004.
  • McCoy, Richard, Kathleen Lynch, Carol Brobeck, Martha Fay, Roque Rueda, "Redefining the Sacred--Monument of Matrones," Redefining the Sacred in Early Modern England: An NEH Summer Institute. -Folger Shakespeare Library, 1998. Web. 30 Nov. 2011.
  • Bentley, Thomas. Monument of Matrones. London, imprinted by Henrie Denham, [1582].
  • The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. vol. 45, 490-491. London: OUP, 2011
Re-written by Meg McGath (September 2012)