Royal love affair jewels fetch €736k at auction
A stunning collection of precious jewels which give a glimpse of the royal love affair between Edward and Mrs Simpson sold for £620,125 (€736,195.85) at auction.
The level of bidding, finishing at nearly £270,000 above estimate, shows "the longstanding fascination" for the lifestyle and taste of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee he controversially abdicated to marry in 1936, according to Bryony Meredith, head of Sotheby's London Jewellery department.
Items from fine jewellers such as Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels came under the hammer at the London sale.
Some were engraved with inscriptions marking important events in the history of the British monarchy and shedding light on the life of four generations of the royal family, from Queen Victoria (1819-1901) to the Duke of Windsor (1894-1972).
An eyecatching sapphire Cartier bracelet, seen on the Duchess's wrist during the Queen's visit to Paris in 1972, sold for £230,500.
It was the last time the Queen saw her uncle before he died.
The bracelet, designed as a series of oval links set with cushion-shaped sapphires in alternating light and dark shades of blue, was created around 1945.
A coral, emerald and diamond torsade choker, which was among several items that once had a place in the coveted collection of the Duchess of Windsor, sold for £110,500.
An amethyst, turquoise and diamond bracelet dating from 1954 by Cartier sold for £27,500 while an emerald, ruby and diamond brooch from 1930, with a gold 20 pesos coin at its centre found a buyer for £18,750. This dates back to 1918.
A pair of enamel, coral and diamond clips, each designed as a court jester's staff, sold for £18,750.
The Duke bought the Van Cleef & Arpels clips in February 1939 as a Christmas gift from the royal couple to his private secretary Anne Seagrim. She worked for him from 1950 to 1954 and helped him with his autobiography The King's Story.
A rectangular silver pocket frame engraved "From Great Grandmama V.R.I. 24th May 1899" whose cover conceals an oval photograph of Queen Victoria seated sold for £7,500.
The case features a stylised 80 in yellow gold on the front and was gifted to the four-year old Edward on the occasion of the Queen's 80th birthday.
Many pieces in the collection give an insight into the life of the Duke, when he was Prince of Wales and during his brief reign as Edward VIII , which lasted from January to December 1936.
A selection of cigarette cases which were gifts to Edward, known to the royal family as David, from his mother Queen Mary were also up for auction.
A silver cigarette case in Russian taste by W. Hornby which features the engraving "'David from Mama, Xmas 1913" sold for £5,000.
There was also a silver basket weaved case, inscribed "Darling David from Mama, God bless you, 1925" which made £5,000. This cigarette case may have been a 31st birthday present after he returned from a successful world tour, according to Sotheby's.
Ms Meredith believes the sale pulled in a lot of attention because of the quality of the item, the royal connection and the forbidden romance.
She said: "On the rare occasions when they have surfaced on the market in the last 30 years, jewels from their collection have consistently set new benchmarks and today was no exception.
"The offering included not only masterful examples of 20th century jewellery but also pieces whose intimate inscriptions trace the life of four generations of British monarchs and tell what is perhaps one the greatest love stories of our times, the romance that led Edward VIII to abdicate the throne of Great Britain."