Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dowager Duchess of Coburg holds exhibit

November 20, 1903

In her latest column, the Marquise de Fontenoy writes that fashionable women in the United States "might do worse than follow the example of the widowed duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha," who recently raised a "remarkable large sum of money" for a local children's hospital by holding an exhibition in her palace in Coburg.

The exhibit was "tastefully arranged in showcases hired for the occasion," which featured the "most valuable and highly prized possessions of the Dowager Duchess, her four daughters,  her nephew, Grand Duke Kirill of Russia, and the widow of Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

The exhibit featured all the jewels of the royal women. The jewels of Crown Princess Marie of Romania and her mother, Duchess Marie, were said to be "particularly magnificent."

Among other things on display was a "wonderful tea service" given to Duchess Marie by her father, Emperor Alexander II of Russia, on the occasion of her marriage to Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, as well as an "almost priceless collection of laces and furs" that Duchess Marie inherited from her mother, Empress Marie;  an entire fleet of "exquisitely modeled silver ships" purchased by the late Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who served in the British navy until he succeeded his uncle, Ernst II, as Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; and the robes worn by the princesses at the coronation of Edward VII and by Duchess Marie at her coronation of her brother, Alexander III.

The exhibit also featured "wonderful fans" and Grand Duke Kirill's "elaborate toilet 'necessaire' of his big traveling automobile."

The exhibit was a huge success with people coming from Frankfurt and Cologne."  The Marquise commented that she could not help but think that "something of the same kind might be attempted with success by the fashionable women" in this country to raise money for "some deserving charity."

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