The historical record of Queen Marie’s jewels has been one highly conditioned by the shifting grounds of the intervening political regimes and legislations. Many of them were thus lost or scattered in many places, but their memory and beauty can still be glimpsed in old photographs, and more compellingly in newly discovered drawings from the 1900 or documents such as the list of her jewels compiled in 1902, her correspondence, bills and her will. Many of Marie’s jewels were lost in the maelstrom of the Bolshevik Revolution, and only a few survived, a part of which can now be admired as museum exhibits, while others became family heirlooms after her death, imprinting the destiny of their inheritors. The old photographs and drawings exude the spirit of a princess, who then became a queen, and was a keen collector of jewels of a multitude of styles and fashions, from the Victorian ones to Byzantine designs in the manner of those of Empress Theodora, from flamboyant Art Nouveau to the reduced to essence Art Deco, and in her last years to a preference for pearls and diamonds.
1/14 November 1916
Can I write about it? Can I? Will I find the courage, and yet I want to tell you, just now, because in my unutterable despair it was you my heart called for, you, you, my old Mama from whom I am cruelly separated, from whom for two long terrible sorrow filled months I have had never a word.
Why was this to be? Who can tell? The popular belief is that God took him from me, to pray for his country that is in danger – so let it be!
He was so well lately, so jolly, so sweet. We are not living in town but in a house that has been „réquisitionnée” for us close by out in the country, Cotroceni being in a too exposed position in these days of aeroplanes and bombs.
One day he had a sore throat and sudden fever – but he did not seem ill with it, although the temperature was enormous. The doctor declared that it was „amigdalite” – the next day he has the same temperature, the it suddenly fell and and we thought all was over – but the next day up goes the temperature again and nothing can make it go down, it remains 40, 40… 40…. In despair I send for other doctors, there is a consultation, they take some of his blood and analyse it and find typhoid fever… that terrible illness that seems to follow our family and the male members of our family. Continue reading
Queen Marie’s diary: 12/25 October 1916, Buftea [nearby Bucharest].
Day of struggle and anguish, 3 times my Mircea nearly slipped away. Towards evening a ray of hope, night terrible.
Saw General Berthelot, had a long earnest conversation with him, as I consider that he is the man who must save our country as we cannot save ourselves. Told him my child was dying, that perhaps God would ask that sacrifice of me but that in spite of what absorbed my completely now, I wanted to speak to him of my country, so that I should not lose both at once! Have not the courage to write down our conversation, but I felt as though I was making my will.