Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Focus on... Kent Jewels: Princess Michael's Dress Ornament

One of the more unusual items in Princess Michael's collection is the dress ornament she has worn on several occasions.
Princess Michael's Dress Ornament
Princess Michael has worn this ornament on several occasions. One of them was a re-internment of the remains of Diane de Poitiers, the famous favourite of Henry II and one of Princess Michael's ancestresses (just as a point of interest, Marie Christine is also descended from Henry II's wife, Catherine de Medici).

Another was Otto von Habsburg's 90th birthday celebrations in 2002 (thanks to Bobby for the information!).The most official event the Princess wore the ornament to was perhaps the Banquet at Guidhall in honour of the Turkish President, when Princess Michael acted as a hostess (the banquet itself was hosted by Lord Mayor). 
Princess Michael wearing the dress ornament during Diana de Poitiers' re-internment 
The dress decoration consists of three rows of pearls suspended between two bow brooches. Now, much as it pains me to say, this is in all probability not real but mere costume jewellery. 

The pearls alone are so huge that should they be natural, their cost would have been in millions. The bow brooches may be real (encrusted with real diamonds, that is to say), but it is more likely they are paste too. 
Princess Michael wearing the dress ornament for an evening event
Since on all occasions Marie Christine wore the ornament with the same (or very similar) black dress, it is possible that the ornament is actually part of the dress. 

Bearing in mind Princess Michael's fascination with French Royalty (which, given her ancestry, is not unusual), it is also possible she commissioned this ornament in general design of a fabulous piece from French Crown Jewels, which similarly consists of two bow brooches with four rows of diamond rivieres suspended between them.
A similar ornament from French Crown Jewels
If you are interested in Kent Jewels, you are in luck because we have been covering Kent Jewels the whole week. Why not check out the list of Kent Jewels already covered here (scroll to the end of the post)?


  1. The third photograph is not from the Lord Mayor's banquet. The banquet at the Guildhall was a white tie affair and Princess Michael wore the pearl and diamond festoon tiara. HRH also wore this jewel at Crown Prince Otto's 90th birthday in 2002 with some pearl earrings.


    1. You are perfectly right: thank you for drawing my attention to the error! Just corrected it. :)