Princess Mary was born on 4 November 1631 at St. James’s Palace, the eldest daughter of King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria.
On 2 May 1641, at the age of nine, the kings daughter was married to William II, son of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange and Amalia von Solms, at the Chapel Royal, Whitehall Palace.
Mary is shown wearing her wedding ring and the large diamond brooch given to her by her husband on 3 May 1641, the day after their marriage. A large pearl necklace and costly pearls in her hair, like a ribbon. A gem setted bracelet on the left.
Look at her spectacular coral gown, decorated with silver thread trim along its border, is thought to be similar to that worn for her wedding, rather than the cloth of silver-gold she wears. The apparent weight of the fabric, falling in broad, heavy folds, along with the bright highlights along the creases, suggest the fabric may have been cloth of silver. Shimmering highlights, applied in swift, cross-hatched strokes, were used as a form of shorthand by artists, mimicking the lustre of metallic threads as the textile caught the light. In accordance with the fashion of the period, her gown is open down the front, revealing a stiffened stomacher across the chest and a matching skirt beneath.
The ribbons, which would at one time have been functional, lacing the skirt and stomacher to the bodice, were applied purely as adornment. One ribbon, however has been pinned or stitched flat to disguise the seam between the bodice and skirt.
The Princess’s brooch, the string of pearls and ribbons on her shimmering dress are rendered with remarkable precision and delicacy, characteristics that defined the artist’s finest late works.