The Duchess of Windsor's gem-set and diamond cross bracelet, Cartier, 1934-1944.
The chain bracelet spectacle-set with circular- and brilliant-cut diamonds, suspending nine gem-set Latin crosses, to a navette-shaped clasp, length approximately 190mm, signed Cartier, French assay and maker's marks. Comprising: A cross set with calibré-cut sapphires, emeralds, one similarly cut ruby and a baguette diamond, inscribed and dated: Our marriage Cross Wallis 3.VI.37 David, slightly imperfect. Est. 350,000—450,000 GBP. Lot Sold 601,250 GBP
A cross set with calibré-cut aquamarines, inscribed and dated: God save the King for Wallis. 16.VII.36.
A cross set with calibré-cut amethyst, inscribed and dated: Appendectomy Cross Wallis 31-VIII-44 David.
A cross set with calibré-cut emeralds, inscribed and dated: X Ray Cross Wallis – David 10.7.36.
A cross set with baguette diamonds, inscribed and dated: The Kings (sic) Cross God bless WE 1-3-36.
A cross set with calibré-cut rubies, inscribed and dated : Wallis – David St Wolfgang 22-9-3.
A cross set with calibré-cut yellow sapphires, inscribed and dated : "Get Well" Cross Wallis Sept. 1944 David.
A cross set with calibré-cut sapphires, inscribed and dated : Wallis – David 23-6-35.
A cross in platinum, inscribed and dated: WE are too (sic) 25-XI-34.
LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: Cf: Sotheby's, The Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor, Geneva, Thursday 2nd April 1987, Lot 31.
Cf: Suzy Menkes, The Windsor Style, London, 1987
Cf: Diana Cooper, The Light of Common Day, London, 1959
Cf: Philip Ziegler, Diana Cooper, London, 1981
Cf: A King's Story, The Memoirs of H.R.H. The Duke of Windsor, K.G, London, 1953, chapter entitled The Heart Has Its Reasons.
Cf: Michael Bloch, The Duke of Windsor's War, London, 1982
Cf: Charles Higham, The Secret Life of the Duchess of Windsor, USA, 1988
Cf: Robert Rhodes James, editor, Chips and the Diaries of Sir Henry Channon, London, 1967
NOTE: This jewel was worn regularly by the Duchess of Windsor as can be seen in many contemporary photographs; most notably on the occasion of her wedding. It became widely known at the time of the controversial Nahlin cruise in the summer of 1936 from a number of photographs which appeared in the international press. These images clearly showing Wallis Simpson wearing the crosses around one of her wrists, and these caused intense speculation as to the true nature of the couple's relationship. Lady Diana Cooper, a member of the King's party on that occasion, remembered that both the King and Mrs Simpson were seen wearing bejewelled crosses. After joining the royal party along the Dalmatian coast, she wrote to her friend, Conrad Russell: 'We... were greeted by the young King radiant in health, wearing spick-and-span little shorts, straw sandals and two [sic] crucifixes on a chain round his neck...' [Diana Cooper, The Light of Common Day, London, 1959, p. 175; Philip Ziegler, Diana Cooper, London, 1981, P. 176].
In February 1937, by which time Mrs Simpson was staying at Cannes and the Duke at the Schloss Enzesfeld in Austria, she wrote to him enclosing 'proofs of [Cecil] Beaton's article that is going to appear in US Vogue. See about the crosses and the chain in the article,' [Letters, P.227]. The piece duly appeared [1st July, 1937, pp. 32 – 35], but only after their wedding on 3rd June and with a version in which the crosses were no longer mentioned.
The following notes refer to the inscriptions engraved upon each cross.
Our marriage cross: The Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson were married by the Rev. R. A. Jardine on 3rd June 1937, at the Chateau de Candé, Monts (Indre et Loire), France. The guests included Fern Bedaux, Herman Rogers and his wife, Katherine, Major E.D (Fruity) and Lady Alexandra Metcalfe, Mrs D. Buchanan Merryman (Mrs Simpson's Aunt Bessie), Dudley Forwood.
The Duchess in her memoirs remembered their wedding day: 'Somehow the preparations got done. Mainbocher made my trousseau. ~From his sketches I chose for my wedding gown a simple dress of blue crepe satin. Reboux made a hat to match. I asked Constance Spry, the prominent London florist, to come to Candé to do the flowers... [it] was beautifully warm and sunny. Herman Rogers gave me away, and it must have been with a profound sense of relief that he saw me become the responsibility of another.
'Here I shall say only that it was a supremely happy moment. All I had been through, the hurts I had suffered were forgotten; by evening, David and I were on our way to Australia.' [The Heart Has Its Reasons, pp.297/9].
God Save the King for Wallis: This inscription refers to an incident on 16th July 1936, when King Edward VIII was riding in a procession on Constitution Hill after presenting new colours to the Guards. He was threatened by an Irish journalist named Macmahon with a loaded revolver. Mrs Simpson mentioned the fact, but only in passing
Sotheby's. Exceptional Jewels and Precious Objects Formerly in the Collection of The Duchess of Windsor, 30 Nov 10, London www.sothebys.com