Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Jewels lost with Flying Princess

May 5, 1928

More than $200,000 worth of diamonds and other jewels were lost on the ill-fated transatlantic flight that took the lives of Princess Anne of Löwenstein-Wertheim, and two others on the Saint Raphael which disappeared over the Atlantic last August.
Friends of the late princess told the Associated Press believed that the princess took the jewels, which "consisted of many precious stones and family heirlooms" with her. They noted that the princess treasured the jewels "almost as dearly as her life."
A story now making the rounds in aviation circles says that the princess took the jewels with her "in the hopes of selling them in the United States in the event that the adventurers needed cash."
Also killed in the crash were Capt. Leslie Hamilton and Col. F.F. Minchin. This story has been denied, but Prince Charles Philippe, the Duke de Nemours, who recently married Marguerite Watson, knew all of the late flyers, and before leaving for his honeymoon, he told the press that Captain Hamilton himself told him "of a scheme to make money on the other side."
Before the journey began Hamilton bought 600 one pound notes. Once the Saint Raphael landed in America, the notes would be autographed by the Princess, Minchin and Hamilton, and would be sold for $25 or $30, "or for whatever price they might bring in the souvenir hunters' market."
"As I understood it from what Hamilton told me," said the duke, "he bought the 600 notes with money from his own pocket. He had hopes of enough being realized out of their sale to pay a part of their expenses at least."
The Princess' jewel collection was an "exceptional fine one," the duke said, adding: "I do not believe the story that she intended selling them in America. She prized them too highly."

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