Emperor Christian Victor I

Emperor Christian Victor I

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

"To be or not to be" Thursday (Princess Anne-Marie, Dowager Baroness D'Rothchild)

Her Highness Princess Anne-Marie D'Pont Du Lac, 12th Dowager Baroness D'Rothchild, Knight of the Order of the Polar Star, to use her full style or if you'd prefer her fashionable epithet, Madame D'Rothchild, was an icon of the style of a bygone era. She was born as the eldest daughter of  Prince Louis D'Pont Du Lac, the youngest son of the pretender to the abolished Franconian throne. Due to the Franconian succession law male heirs preceded females and thus her younger brother was next in line before her. They also had a younger sister, who married the 9th Marquis D'Bacquemme and so linked the Royal House of Franconia to the current Line of Pretence to the throne of the Principality of Monagask.

After the death of her grandfather and father, Princess Anne-Marie's brother, a haemophiliac became the next Pretender to the throne of Franconia. She had by now married the 12th Baron D'Rothchild and born the heir to the D'Rothchild name and the future Grand Duchess of Hanoveria. Her brother, Prince Louis D'Pont Du Lac II also produced three children who were considered miracles due to the Prince's constant degenerating health and she committed herself to support him no matter what it took. 

(The Baron D'Rothchild specially granted us the use of this family photo as public reference. Photos predating the 96 Revolution is rare as we know.)
We see Madame D'Rothchild wearing the tremendously valuable and historic Franconian Royal Sapphire Parure more commonly referred to as the D'Pont Du Lac Sapphires. She also wears the golden sash and badge of a Knight of the Polar Star. 

Madame D'Rothchild, as she was now fashionably referred to since her marriage, was a powerful influence on 60's and 70's fashion of the affluent class in both Europa and the Americanias. She was totally detached emotionally from her "rank in pretense" but basked in her husbands wealth. But the glamour of her couture, blazing jewellery and lavish parties was brought in stark contrast with a very serious and personal battle. Her unfortunate brother's wealth deteriorated along with his health and he eventually faced a bitter divorce on top of it all. The Prince D'Pont Du Lac and his three children were eventually totally reliant on his siblings, The Marquise D'Bacquemme and Madame D'Rothchild. Anne-Marie felt it unfair to wear expensive jewels, inherited from her father, while her brother suffered so she decided in 1993 to sell this inheritance without asking her son, the 13th Baron D'Rothchild for help or advice. The sale of the D'Pont Du Lac Sapphires and Emerald Parures were thus hastily arranged.


The auction caused a media frenzy as it took place in the Imperial capital city of Londinium. Royalty and millionaire business men from all the over the world flocked to get a chance at grabbing a king's ransom at a time when Royalism was at a peak. At the last minute the Baron D’Rothchild managed to pull the famous sapphires from the sale but the emeralds came up for bidding. He tried desperately to buy them back for fear of some jeweller buying them up in order to dismantle them for mass sale but was outbid at the very end. Fortunately for posterity the buyer was the then new Empress Crystobel I of the United Empire of Scot Britania herself. The Empress was considered the wealthiest women in the world and was well known to be a very dedicated collector of jewellery and art. Nothing would block her if she put her mind on buying anything as she considered herself a custodian of history. The emeralds still exist today as part of the Imperial Collection.

As if the 1993 auction wasn't enough of a strain on the young Baron, his mother stubbornly repeated what became known as the "Emerald Folly" in 2009. This time she was determined to sell "her" Sapphires by virtue of the extended problem of her brother's death tax. Technically the jewellery were the property of the Dowager Baroness and she, refusing help from her wealthy son, stubbornly insisted on selling them to raise cash for her brother's children. She also prohibited him from buying them, saying: "...The past is the past, let it go. Make your own future..."  The world famous D'Pont du Lac Sapphire Parure was the main drawing card at the international auction hosted by Princess Augusta and was to fetch a record high price. 

We can see the sapphire parure placed in the centre of the pedestal for viewing before the auction. 

The D'Pont du Lac Sapphire Parure caused a massive bidding war at first between several parties. As the bidders fell by the side only, Gloria Van der Bilt and the "anonymous" phone bidder remained. Gloria stopped bidding when the price exceeded the long term investment value. It then became clear that the bidder on the phone was buying for more than just investment value. He did because he was buying to add it to the Imperial Jewellery Collection, to be left to his descendants for he was the Crown Prince Imperial. Gloria left the auction empty handed. The Crown Prince Imperial was revealed to be the bidder the moment his new wife wore the sapphires for the first time in 2010 just over a year after the purchase. 

Madame D'Rothchild and her family were not affected as directly as many others by the 1996 Revolution but still lost family and friends. The D'Rothchilds were more concerned by internal troubles and also by the vast responsibilities of the family business. Even though she has grown old, she still represents her family and indeed the Franconian Royal House where and whenever required and this she does with a smile. Her brother's illness and death has made her the surrogate mother for her niece and nephews and she has made hemophiliac related charities a high priority in her free time, lending support by serving on managing boards and by garnering media attention for fund raising. She has a special talent for grabbing attention with lavish parties and spectacular yet eccentric arrivals at media events. 


Princess Anne-Marie, Dowager Baroness D'Rothchild at right with her niece Princess Antoinette D'Pont Du Lac representing The Franconian Royal House at the Investiture of the King Nikolas III of Syldavia in 2012. The Baroness's lack of interest in the trappings of titles and rank often causes slight dress code or protocol faux pa's. At this event in particular, as we can see, she neglected to wear her Order of Knighthood, which strictly speaking is required at an event of this level of State importance. She is however never reprimanded as her own rank of Princess affords her protocol leniency's but secretly the other Royals must find her refreshingly free and amusing. 

The Dowager Baroness D'Rothchild at left as she arrived for the 2012 Christmas Ball with her son and daugther in law. 

"She is still feisty, this has always been her real treasure. Even though she has no value for spending money she certainly knows how to get it and has never loved it more than family. I can see why my father married her and I am proud to be her son."-The current Baron D'Rotchild on describing his mother. We wish her well and many happy returns. See you on the red carpet. 

8 comments:

  1. Ok now I need a tux for the red carpet.

    Sorry for being M.I.A., bad period, trying to recharge my "want to do" mod

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    1. Just glad you're back. I appreciate my regular fans and their comments.

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    2. Silly me. I only realised now that you are wearing a tux in your profile pic. Was this all for the "red carpet" on this blog??

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  2. Hello from Spain, princesa Anna has a very interesting life. Her jewelry collection is awesome. I like to see your pics. Keep in touch

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  3. Thank you for your support Martha. It's greatly appreciated.

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  4. I have spent my days off catching up on your post and they are wonderful as always. I love their backstories and of course the jewelry. I do miss my Royals!!

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    1. Such kind words. I appreciate your interest in my blog. Thank you. :)

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