A stunning Royal presentation diamond brooch given by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to Lavina, Duchess of Norfolk, for assistance prior to her Coronation in 1953, is to be offered for sale by Mayfair Auctioneers Noonans
, specialist auctioneers of coins, medals, banknotes and jewellery, on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 in a sale of Jewellery, Watches and Objects of Vertu. It is estimated to fetch £4,000-6,000.
Formerly the property of Lavinia Fitzalan-Howard, Duchess of Norfolk, the diamond and platinum brooch by Garrard & Co. Ltd. is modelled in the form of the letters ER in the Queens own handwriting, and set throughout with brilliant-cut diamonds, signed to the reverse With grateful thanks and contained in its original Garrard & Co. Ltd. red leather case with the Royal cypher on the cover.
As Frances Noble, Head of Jewellery Department and Associate Director, Noonans explains: The Duchess stood in for The Queen during the rehearsals held at Westminster Abbey in the lead up to the Queen's Coronation on 2 June 1953. As Earl Marshall of England, the Duchess of Norfolks husband, Bernard Fitzalan-Howard, 16th Duke of Norfolk, had overall responsibility for the organisation of the Coronation, and indeed he had also planned the Coronation of King George VI in 1937.
She continues: Six identical brooches to this example were also given to the six Maids of Honour, who attended the Queen at the Coronation - Lady Jane VaneTempest-Stewart, Lady Anne Coke (later Lady Anne Glenconner), Lady Moyra Hamilton, Lady Mary Baillie-Hamilton, Lady Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby, and Lady Rosemary Spencer-Churchill. This is the first time that one of these brooches has been offered for sale at auction. This brooch was donated by the Duchess of Norfolk in 1956 to be sold for the benefit the British and Foreign Bible Society. It was purchased by a relative of the present vendor of the lot, and thence by family descent.
The brooch is accompanied by a handwritten letter from Her Majesty the Queen addressed to Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk, on headed stationery from Buckingham Palace and dated 4 June 1953, (two days after the Coronation), reading:
I write to express my heartfelt thanks to you for standing in for me in the Abbey in the weeks leading up to my coronation. It was extremely kind of you to be there to support me at such an important moment of ones life, and it gave me such tremendous confidence to know all was ready before the service. The Archbishop was very grateful for all your patient help and Mummy hopes that my understudy will be available when I am next ill in bed!!
I hope you will accept this small gift, which was Philips inspired idea, as an enduring reminder of my appreciation.
One of these six presentation brooches, the example given to Lady Anne Glenconner (née Coke), was displayed at her ancestral home Holkham, in North Norfolk, in 2012, at an exhibition entitled The Ostrich & the Crown, the exhibition celebrating Holkhams history from 1612 to 2012 and the Coke familys association with the Crown over 400 years. This exhibition was staged to mark the Queens Diamond Jubilee. Lady Glenconner wore her diamond brooch pinned to her hat to a service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey in 2013 to mark sixty years since The Queens Coronation. Lady Moyra Campbell (née Hamilton) and Lady Mary Russell (née Baillie-Hamilton), also wore their brooches to the Thanksgiving Service.
The sale will also include an Art Deco diamond brooch formerly the property of Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. Dating from circa 1930, the geometrically designed brooch is mounted in platinum and was bought by the current vendor from an auction at Sothebys in 1979, which had included a Collection of seven jewels, sold on behalf of Princess Margaret. The diamond brooch is estimated at £6,000-8,000.