Formerly the property of the duchess, Lavinia Fitzalan-Howard, the diamond and platinum brooch by Garrard & Co is modelled in the form of the letters ER in the queen’s own handwriting, and set throughout with brilliant-cut diamonds, signed to the reverse With grateful thanks and contained in its original Garrard & Co red leather case.
The duchess stood in for the queen during the rehearsals held at Westminster Abbey in the lead-up to the coronation on June 2, 1953.
As Earl Marshal of England, the duchess’ husband, Bernard Fitzalan- Howard, 16th Duke of Norfolk, had overall responsibility for the organisation of the coronation. He had also planned the coronation of King George VI in 1937.
Six identical brooches to this example were also given to the six Maids of Honour who attended the queen at the coronation: Lady Jane Vane-Tempest-Stewart, Lady Anne Coke (later Lady Anne Glenconner), Lady Moyra Hamilton, Lady Mary Baillie-Hamilton, Lady Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby and Lady Rosemary Spencer-Churchill.
Frances Noble, head of the jewellery department and associate director, Noonans, says: “This is the first time that one of these brooches has been offered for sale at auction. This brooch was donated by the Duchess of Norfolk in 1956 to be sold to the benefit the British and Foreign Bible Society. It was purchased by a relative of the present vendor of the lot, and thence by family descent.”
The brooch is accompanied by a handwritten letter from the queen to the duchess on headed stationery from Buckingham Palace and dated June 4, 1953, giving thanks for her support.
Brooch owned by Margaret
The sale will also include an Art Deco diamond brooch which was formerly the property of Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon.
Dating from c.1930, the geometrically designed brooch is mounted in platinum and was bought by the current vendor from an auction at Sotheby’s in 1979. That sale had included a collection of seven jewels sold on behalf of the princess. The diamond brooch is estimated at £6000-8000.