A Coronation gift given by Her Majesty The Queen to the late Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk has sold at auction for £180,000. This was a personal brooch given by The Queen to The Duchess of Norfolk for her assistance prior to the Coronation in 1953.
The diamond and platinum brooch by Garrard & Co was modelled in the form of the letters ER in The Queen’s own handwriting and signed ‘With grateful thanks.’ The Duchess of Norfolk took the part of The Queen during dress rehearsals for the Coronation in 1953. Her husband, The Duke of Norfolk – Bernard Fitzalan Howard – was the man who had overall responsibility for the organisation of the Coronation.
Accompanying the brooch was a handwritten note from Her Majesty The Queen to Lavinia which read;
“Dear Lavinia, 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 one’s 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 my understudy will be available when I am next ill in bed! I hope you will accept this small gift, which was Philip’s inspired idea, as an enduring reminder of my appreciation. Elizabeth R.”
All six of Her Majesty’s Coronation maids of honour were presented with identical brooches. They were – Lady Jane Vane Tempest-Stewart, Lady Anne Coke, Lady Moyra Hamilton, Lady Mary Baillie Hamilton, Lady Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby and Lady Rosemary Spencer-Churchill.
A further brooch with royal connections was also sold at the same auction. An Art-Deco diamond brooch dated approximately 1930 sold for £60,000. The brooch was previously owned by Princess Margaret, The Queen’s late sister. The brooch was apparently purchased by a European collector.