History of Famous Jewels and Collections
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Re: Debunking a myth about Queen Maud's riviere from the Duchess of Inverness
It is very strange since the necklace was on display with the other wedding gifts at Marlborough House, but Maud was not yet four years old when she inherited the necklace.
I have saved a short news report of the Duchess of Inverness' will in 1873:
Queen Victoria, Princess Alice, and Princess Maud inherited each a diamond necklace, the Prince of Wales a large single-stone diamond ring, and the Princess of Wales her long diamond earrings as Beth posted.
One of the jewels listed among Queen Maud's wedding gifts is a diamond riviere left to her by the Duchess of Inverness, who died in August 1873.
A number of newspapers at the time stated that receiving the necklace was contingent on the then Princess Maud marrying. And this has been repeated by a number of modern commentators.
But there is nothing in the Duchess of Inverness' will about this. Under normal circumstances during that era, a person legally inherited once they turned 21 years, the then legal age. Until such time an inheritance was theoretically in the hands of the executors. I strongly suspect that the necklace was placed in the care of the then Prince of Wales and that either he or Queen Alexandra decided to release it only when their daughter married. The question is why would they do that??
Has anyone ever read a biography of Queen Maud which might shed some light on this issue? Queen Maud was well over 21 years when she married!!