The movie Downton Abbey has been stirring up a buzz for the meticulously recreated period costumes and jewelry, but we have of course focused on the order insignia, and especially so, as the movie features Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood, the late aunt to HM Queen Elizabeth, played by Kate Phillips.
The movie is set in 1927, the same year that the Princess was made Dame Grand Cross of the British Empire and she is portrayed wearing the insignia, including a purple sash of the Order, at a fictional ball thrown in honour of her parents, George V and Queen Mary, at Harewood House.
Most of Princess Mary’s personal archive, including correspondence, diaries, clothing and personal effects have recently been handed to the National Trust and we can expect to see them at the Harewood Estate.
Fans of the movie will be interested to know that Princess Mary’s original diamond star of the Order of the British Empire can be seen in Tallinn (Estonia) at the Tallinn Museum of Orders of Knighthood. The beautiful diamond star was comissioned for the coronation of her brother George VI (1937) and was worn by her on many occasions.
By the way, visitors to the Tallinn Museum of Orders of Knighthood can also see the diamond-studded garter, similar to the one worn by George V.