Her Royal Highness the Archduchess Marie-Anne of Austria and Hungary,
Princess Elie de Bourbon Parme
On 21 October 1911, at the Austrian castle of Schwarzau, the Habsbourg Imperial family was gathered for the wedding of Princess Zita de Bourbon Parme (1892-1989) and Archduke Carl (1887-1922), who was in line to be emperor of Austria. Among the distinguished guests was Archduchess Marie-Anne of Austria (1882-1940), who was married to Zita’s brother, Prince Elie de Bourbon Parme.
Duke Robert de Parme (1848-1907), Princess Zita’s and Prince Elie’s father, was the last reigning Duke of Parma and the heir to an important fortune left by his grandfather, Duke Charles de Parme (1799-1883), his mother, Princess Louise de France, Duchess de Parme (1819-1864), and his uncle, the Comte de Chambord (1820-1883), the last pretender of the senior branch of the royal house of France.
In 1903, Prince Elie de Bourbon-Parme married Archduchess Marie-Anne of Austria (1882-1940). She was the daughter of Archduke Frédéric of Austria (1856-1936) and Archduchess Isabelle, née Princesse de Croÿ (1856-1931); she was related to most of the royal catholic families and her aunt, Archduchess Marie-Christine, married in 1879 the King of Spain, Alphonse XII.
Marie-Anne had amassed an amazing collection of jewels, gifts from her wedding to the Prince, bestowed upon her by the Prince’s family, and by hers as well. More than one hundred of these jewels are presented here, and give a very rare glimpse of what a royal collection of jewels could have been at the turn of the 20th century. The inventory written by Marie-Anne de Bourbon Parma after the death of her father-in-law, the Duke Robert de Parme in 1907, and modified by her in 1932 gives precious details about the provenance of these magnificent jewels.
It is incredible that the collection remained intact after revolutions, wars, and confiscations.
Vincent Meylan is a journalist and historian. He works for the French magazine Point de Vue and has written many books about jewellery. His next book The Queen’s Diamonds, The Saga of Marie Antoinette’s Jewels will be published in 2019 by Antique Collectors Club.
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