Features

Finding the Tsarina's ledger of personal gifts

Consigned to Sotheby’s London auction Russian Works of Art, Faberge & Icons on 5 June 2018, was a quite remarkable object offering unique insight into the private gifts of the last Tsarina of Russia, Alexandra Feodorovna. I ‘discovered’ its existence whilst browsing past auctions for research. Lot 429, it was one of the Tsarina’s personal ledgers dated between 1897 and…
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Features

The story of two royal photographs

At Hughenden, the Buckinghamshire manor and former home of Benjamin Disraeli, arguably Queen Victoria’s favourite Prime Minister, is a room with a poignant link to the family of the Queen’s second daughter, Princess Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse. The story behind this…
Features

Queen Victoria's granddaughters: Princess Irene of Hesse

It is fitting that this Hessian granddaughter of Queen Victoria was christened ‘Irene’ – a name meaning “peace” – an appropriate choice in more ways than one, as her character and the circumstances of her birth would prove. Perhaps one of Princess Alice’s surviving daughters about which least is known, she was destined to outlive all her immediate family, dying in 1953. Princess…
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Features

The hair of Marie Antoinette?

In the British Museum, there is a locket containing hair traditionally said to be that of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and Navarre. Donated to the museum as part of the Hull Grundy Gift (Gere, Charlotte; Rudoe, Judy; Tait, Hugh; Wilson, The Art of the Jeweller, A…
HistoryRoyal Weddings

Princess Charlotte: a historic royal wedding dress

In the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection at Kensington Palace is preserved one of the most important wedding dresses in British history. Worn by Princess Charlotte (1796-1817) for her wedding on 2 May 1816 in the magnificent Crimson Drawing Room at Carlton House to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. It was a wedding dress to celebrate not only the personal happiness of the popular Princess…
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Features

Music for the Elector: Mozart in Munich

Mozart’s musical debut, anticipating his journey to the imperial court at Vienna by seven months, took place, somewhat predictably, before royalty. This was, had he known it, the beginning of what would prove to be many performance-based trips throughout Europe…
Features

Louisa, the British-born Queen of Denmark

Louisa, fifth and youngest daughter of George II and Queen Caroline, was Queen of Denmark and Norway from 1746 until her premature death five years later, in Copenhagen in 1751. Today in Great Britain, Louisa is a virtually forgotten figure – overshadowed by her mother, the brilliant Queen Caroline, a woman of high culture, sophistication and outstanding intellect, rightly recognised now as…
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