The story of Princess Anastasia's emerald revenge and the wrath of Queen Victoria Eugenia has just trickled into America with tourists who heard the tale on the Riviera, the scene of the incident. But the story of the ancient grudge dates back to the Chicago World's Fair. That famous exposition was held to celebrate the anniversary of the discovery of America, and naturally a special invitation to attend was sent to the royal house of Spain, whose celebrated predecessor, Isabella, made Amerlca's discovery possible by pawning her Jewels.
When Eulalia, the Spanish princess, arrived, Chicago blew the trumpet, beat the tom toms and turned out the guard and Chicago society, led by the late Mrs. Potter Palmer, preened his finest feathers and planned - in good American slang - to "pitch a bunch of blowouts that will knock the princess cold." Mrs. Palmer, as Queen of Chicago society and chairman of the women's commitee gave the first invitaion. It was a reception at her mansion on Lake Shore Drive, and everybody who was anybody in the Middle West toddled out that afternoon "to meet the Princess of Spain"
They looked for her as soon as they crossed the threshold and they kept out looking. Two hours passed. The guests were controlling their disappointment with difficulty and Mrs. Palmer was controlling her agitation not at all. It really looked as the princess of spain had been kidnapped or - horrid thought - had simply forgotten the first Chicago reception in her honor. While a few disgruntled guests remained at the Potter Palmer home - waiting vainly in the hope that the princess would make an eleventh hour entrance, a newspaper reporter was outside the "royal suite" at the Auditorium Hotel. He had sent in a message to inquire the cause of the princess's failure to go to the party. Her Highness did not deign to see the reporter in person. She sent out an answer by an under secretary. This was the answer: "The princess of Spain regrets that she could not accept the Invitation. She had been informed that the hostess is an innkeeper!" An innkeeper?" The puzzled reporter scratched his head. The husband of Chicago's social czarina an"Innkeeper?" What could the woman mean! Then the light dawned and the reporter rushed for his office. His refloating eye had caught the imposing facade of the Palmer House, which Potter Palmer owned. Chicago society never forgot or forgave that slight, and when the story traveled to other American cities it made the eyebrows of other social leaders draw together angrily. Even New York dowagers, who affect to scorn oil things west of Fifth avenue, clucked several clucks. The attitude of the princess of Spain 'was just a bit too typical of all European nobility to suit c. i. ... Her Higness sailed hack to her own country, her farewell was not as cordial us her welcome had been. She didn't start the Spanish-American War, but she left behind her a rankling feeling that, in flouting Mrs. Palmer, she had snapped her fingers in the face of every society woman in the United States.
Also, out In Cleveland, Ohio, a young lady named Nancy Stewart Worthington divorced her banker-husband, George Worthlngton, and married William D. Leeds, multi-millionaire "tin 'plate king" .
When L e e d s died in Paris In 1908 he left his beautiful widow a fortune of $40,000,000. She was one of the richest woman in the world. In the years that followed suitors buzzed about her like bees around the rose. The most persistent cavalier of all was Prince Christopher, younger brother of the then King ot Greece nephew of the Queen of England and cousin to the King.
All the world knows how America's "dollar princess" married Prince Christopher and changed her name to Anastasia - how she became a chief matchmaker in European society; how her son, Billy Leeds, married Princess Xenia, a cousin ot the late Czar of Russia, and how, during the recent Riviera season, Princess Anastasia's villa at Cannes was the mecca for royalty and ex-royalty from all quarters of Europe. What the world didn't know, until the returned tourists brought the Riviera-gossip to the USA.
Is what hapened at Princess Anastasia' s ' grand ball in honor of Billy Leeds and Princess Xenia Romanov on their return from the honeymoon. The guest list included some representatives of royalty, among them the King- and Queen of Spain. Her Majesty was quite averse to accepting an invitation from 'the ex-widow of a "till plate king" as the princess of Spain had been to attending a reception given by an "innkeeper's wife". The Queen ofSpain, as everyone had predicted, wore her celebrated necklace of emeralds. It was considered the finest and costliest emerald necklace in the world, and the Queen (so the spiteful .'put it) never missed the chance to bedazzle envious eyes with it. Of all her marvelous collection of jewels she cherished it the most.
"The world's most wonderful emeralds - the words were magic to the Queen of Spain. It Is to be supposed that Princess Anastasia had seen the necklace. The "dollar princess" is famous for her own jewels. Though her diamond tiara is so beautiful she was requested not to wear it at the Court of St. James for fear it would "outshine royalty," and though she boasts a $250,000 rope of perfectly matched rose pearls, she had never bee able to compete with the Queen of Spain's emeralds.'" It is not to be supposed, however, that Princess, Anastasia deliberately planned to outshine one of her guests. Oh,'my, no! But according to the Riviera gossips - that is exactly what she did by accident no doubt. Before she gave that grand ball at Cannes Princess Anastasia took, a cool million, of her $40,000,000 and paid it to a Paris Jeweler for an emerald necklace to be made especially, for her.
The Jeweler isn't talking, but it is understood he had one blanket order "It must be finer as the Queen of Spain's necklace," And so Princess Anastasia gave her reception just as another famous American society leader gave a reception in Chicago years ago. And so the Queen of Spain went to it, just as a princess of Spain refused to attend in Chicago. But really the Riviera gossips stop there they only add this: The Queen of Spain has changed her style in jewelry. She appeared at the last court affair wearing a rope of pearls, and when one of the guests was tactless enough to inquire, "But where are your beautiful emeralds?" its said the Queen of Spain flushed, frowned, lifted her eyebrows and remarked weary: "Emeralds? So vulgar! Don't you think so?" To which the Princess Anastasia and the society women of America might reply, "Emeralds may be vulgar, grapes may be sour, but revenge is certainly sweet"
In 1926, after her death, Cartier was commissioned by her executors to sell her jewelry and a number of her emeralds were bought by Lady Deterding.
Her diamond and emerald tiara was bought by Eva Cromwell Stotesbury.
And an similar ornament was seen at 1927 together with an array of wonderful emeralds as necklace on Mrs Ellin Mackay Berlin.
Thank you to Volker for his help!
Sources:The Sunday Star;Cartier archive;Nadelhoffer Cartier;
Juwelen aus der Schmuckschatulle der Königin von Griechenland |
More Royal Jewels:
sagenhaften russischen Smaragde der griechischen Königin Olga Konstantinovna
Queen Olga Konstantinovna daughter of Aleksandra Iosifovna Grand Duchess
of Russia and her emeralds
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