|Duchess of Windsor Diamond, Emerald and Rubies Brooch sold for 315,627 US dollars. Photo courtesy: Sothebys|
The brooch is surmounted with a gold and ruby crown that despite its regal appearance is soaked in sentiment. The initials W and E (initials of Wallis & Edward Simpson, the Duchess & the Duke of Windsor) picked out in emeralds are located right in the center and the Roman numeral XX perhaps allude to kisses set with rubies, are just below the entwined initials.
The brooch was commissioned by the Duke Edward VIII in 1957 as a gift on their 20th wedding anniversary. Contrary to rumor, Edward didn’t inherit vast quantities of royal jewels from Queen Alexandra to lavish on the Duchess. Instead, the collection of jewels amassed by the Duchess over the decades was purchased by the Duke himself.
When the Duchess died in 1986 it was revealed that she had specified that her jewelry and other memorabilia be sold, with the proceeds to benefit the Pasteur Institute, the pre-eminent French medical research institute. This may have been an expression of gratitude to the French government and people for giving the Duke and Duchess a home in exile when it became clear after World War II that they would never be welcome in Britain.
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