Top 10: Romantic royal memorabilia
1) Wallis Simpson’s jewellery collection - £31 million
In 1987, Sotheby’s raised £31 million at a sale of the Duchess of Windor’s jewellery. Many items from the sale were bought for the Duchess by Edward VIII, who famously abdicated the throne to marry Simpson.
The top lot in the sale was Wallis Simpson’s Mclean diamond ring which sold for £1.8 million to a Japanese collector.
Also included in the sale was a diamond brooch which was bought by actress Elizabeth Taylor for £400,000. It is thought that Taylor outbid Prince Charles who was hoping to buy the brooch for Princess Diana.
2) The ‘Poltimore’ tiara - £926,400
This diamond studded tiara was made in 1870 by Garrard for Lady Poltimore, the wife of the second Baron Poltimore and Treasurer to Queen Victoria's household.
It was worn by Princess Margret on her wedding day as she arrived at Westminster Abbey by horse-drawn carriage.
The tiara sold for £926,400 at a Christie’s auction in 2006.
3) Henry VIII’s personal divorce plea - £275,000
This letter represents Henry VIII’s attempt to annul his marriage with Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne Boleyn.
Unable to contact the Pope directly, Henry VIII wrote a letter to Cardinal Benedetto de Accolti, the Bishop of Ravenna.
The Pope’s inability to grant Henry VIII this annulment paved the way for the creation of the Anglican Church. The letter is up for sale for £275,000 from online collectibles retailer, Paul Fraser Collectibles.
4) Princess Diana’s black dress - £192,000
A black taffeta dress worn by Diana on her first official appearance with Prince Charles in 1981 was sold at Kerry Taylor Auctions in 2010 for £192,000.
Kerry Taylor of Kerry Taylor Auctions said that Diana lost so much weight in the run up to her wedding that she returned the dress to the Emanuels, who designed it, to have it altered. The alterations needed were so drastic that a new dress was made for Diana and the original was kept by the designers until its recent sale.
5) Replica of Princess Diana’s wedding dress - £100,000
An exact replica of Princess Diana’s 1981 wedding dress was sold at auction house Cooper Owen in 2005. The ivory silk dress was made by David & Elizabeth Emanuel for a Princess Diana waxwork at Madame Tussauds.
The dress, which had a reserve price of £50,000, sold for £100,000 to a mystery telephone bidder.
6) Kate Middleton’s fashion show dress - £78,000
The see-through dress Kate Middleton wore in a fashion show in 2002, whilst she was still studying at St. Andrews University, was sold by Kerry Taylor Auctions in 2011 for £78,000.
The fashion show occurred at a time when William and Kate were just friends and has been billed by some as “the dress that started it all”.
The dress was bought by Nick Roberts, nephew of David Gainsborough Roberts who owns many famous items of entertainment memorabilia.
7) Letters from Edward VIII to his first love, Freda Dudley-Ward - £35,000
A collection of over 260 letters from Edward VIII to his first love Freda Dudley-Ward was sold by Bonhams & Brooks in London for £35,000 in 2001.
In one letter, dated April 18 1920, Edward told Dudley-Ward “Mon amour, I swear I’ll never marry any other woman but you”.
8) Love letter from Prince Charles to Janet Jenkins - £20,744
A series of love letters from the Prince of Wales to British Consulate receptionist Janet Jenkins were sold for £20,744 on eBay in 2009. The letters were all dated prior to Charles’ marriage to Diana.
In one of the letters Charles says how he had taken time off from watching the Princess Royal compete in a three day event at the Montreal Olympics, to be with Jenkins.
9) Diana, Princess of Wales & Prince Charles’ wedding cake - £17,000
In 1998, a slice of Charles & Diana’s five foot tall wedding cake sold at auction for £17,000. The entire cake was wrapped with icing and decorated with the Windsor royal coat of arms made from marzipan.
Several pieces of the royal cake have appeared at auction. In 2008, a slice sold for £1,200 at a Dominic Winter Book Auctions sale in Gloucestershire, UK.
10) Queen Mother’s prototype wedding dress - £3,500
A prototype of the dress the Queen Mother wore during her wedding to Prince Albert sold for £3,500 at a Dreweatts auction in 2011.
The dress was expected to sell for £500-£700. Malcolm Claridge from Dreweatts said the dress probably sold for more than expected due to an increased interest in the royal family in the run up to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
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