An emerald and diamond brooch that belonged to Princess Charlotte of Wales is headed for auction in July. Princess Charlotte would have succeeded her father, King George IV, as Queen if she hadn’t died in childbirth in 1817.
The brooch was given by Princess Charlotte’s husband, Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, who went on to become Leopold I, King of the Belgians, to Princess Charlotte’s lady of the bedchamber, Mary Anne John Thynne, Baroness Carteret.
The story of the brooch is written in the accompanying Regency fitted ebony box, which states, “This broach belonged to Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Augusta, Obt 6 Nov 1817 at 22, & on her lamented demise, was the kind and valued gift of Her Consort, Prince Leopold of Saxe Coburg to Mary Anne John Thynne, one of H.R.Hs ladies of the bedchamber, in attendance on that afflicting event, whose wish it is, that it should descend unalter’d to posterity, in lasting and grateful remembrance of its former beloved & illustrious possessor.”
James Nicholson, Head of Dreweatts Jewellery department, said: “This is a jewel of extraordinary historical importance interwoven into the story of Britain and its Royal Family. Had Princess Charlotte and her son lived, they would have gone on to inherit the British throne after the Prince Regent(later King George III1). This would have meant no Queen Victoria or her descendants sitting on the British throne, and our Royal Family might look very different today. The colour of the emeralds in the brooch are truly mesmerising, and seated in its box with the inscribed gold lid, it is without doubt an exceptional piece.”
The brooch has a central squared cushion-cut Colombian emerald estimated to weigh 2.47 carats. It has several step-cut and oval-cut emeralds to the cardinal points, claw set in gold cut-down collets, with old mine cut diamond scrolls and cut-down collet set diamond accents.
It will be auctioned on 12 July by Fine Jewellery, Silver, Watches and Objects of Vertu. It carries an estimate of £10,000-£15,000.