COTE DE TEXAS: The Mystery of Princess Eugenie’s Emerald Tiara

The Mystery of Princess Eugenie’s Emerald Tiara

And no, I’m not talking about a newly discovered Nancy Drew book!

Word of warning!  You might want to get a cuppa tea, settle in and enjoy!  Tea?  We’re going to merry England!

When Princess Eugenie of York was recently married, there were several surprises for the loyal Royal Watchers.

The first surprise was finally learning how to properly pronounce her name - in the French manner.  It has long been thought that her name is pronounced – “You-JANE-Knee” – emphasis on the second syllable.  But during the marriage ceremony, the world learned her name was pronounced You-shaaa-knee – no accent at all.   The name just rolls off the tongue in a blurry, lazy mass of sshhh’s.

Who knew?    God knows it is the hardest name to pronounce and I still want to say it the old way.

Eugenie was named after Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, whose mother was Victoria’s youngest daughter Beatrice.  I suppose Sarah Ferguson thought it was funny to name both her daughters after a set of mother-daughter descendants of Queen Victoria.


Beatrice with her daughter Victoria Eugenie Julia Ena, who was called Ena.

Later the Queen of Spain, Ena had a best friend who was a socialite hostess from England and who plays the starring role in “The Mystery of Princess Eugenie’s Emerald Tiara.”

The Wedding Flowers at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor

Besides finally learning how to properly pronounce “Eugenie,” her wedding dress was the next suspenseful surprise.  Would Eugenie reveal her scar from the scoliosis operation she had as a young girl?  Active in a charity that helps other young teens with their own scoliosis battles, it was thought perhaps Eugenie would show her own scar.  A SCAR?!?!?!

But when she did reveal the dress, the back open to her shoulder blades, her scoliosis scar was so well healed, it was barely noticeable.  I’m sure in real life, it is more easily seen, but regardless, what a brave and non-nonsense girl she is!   I instantly liked her all the more, thinking of helping other scoliosis sufferers on the biggest day of her life.   Eugenie is very admirable.

The wedding day arrived with such a blustery wind, her beautiful autumnal flowers could barely stay upright against the onslaught, but all in all, it was a wonderful day for a Royal Wedding!

Eugenie again surprised Royal Watchers by not wearing a veil, but if you had such a spectacular tiara, would you hide it under a veil?  Still, it’s hard to find another Royal bride who did not wear one.  The custom is that an unmarried Royal does not wear a tiara until she is wed.   As such, Royal brides will usually hide their tiara under a veil until after they say “I do” –  when they will then expose the tiara, as a now, married, woman. 

But lately that tradition has gone by the wayside.    Meghan Markel, the Duchess of Sussex wore her tiara to the church as did Kate, both their tiaras were on view through their veils.  But then again, they weren’t Royal when they walked down the aisle.  Not yet, anyway!

The Duchess of Cambridge – before she was married her tiara was hidden under her veil.

The Duchess of Sussex, also wore her tiara under a veil.  

It had been thought that both of these brides would wear the Spencer Tiara, the one Diana, their mother-in-law, had worn at her own wedding but neither did. 

Meghan has revealed this charming story of her own tiara.   Before her big day, she and Harry went to Buckingham Palace to visit the Queen who had laid out an array of tiaras from which Meghan was to choose one for her wedding. 

I die!!!!!!

Meghan chose the Art Deco tiara which went with her contemporary dress.

This story makes me wonder, though.  Was Eugenie’s emerald tiara amongst the ones that Meghan was to choose from and as such was one she dismissed?  Or had Eugenie already told her grandmother that she wanted to wear the emerald tiara?   I hate to think that Eugenie’s choice was one of Meghan’s left overs.   Regardless, both girls wore the tiara best suited to their own dress.

The Mystery of Princess Eugenie’s Emerald Tiara:

The buzz about the tiara began immediately, as soon as Eugenie appeared, being driven to the church with her father next to her.  The tiara created such a fuss, no one seemed concerned with her dress.  The tiara was, in a word, stunning.  The center stone was a huge emerald, without a doubt the largest I’ve ever seen.  Flanking it were 12 smaller emeralds embedded in a sea of pave diamonds.   No one had seen the tiara before and no one seemed to know where it came from.  

Before the wedding, it was believed that Eugenie would wear the York Tiara, the one her mother wore at her own wedding to Prince Andrew.   The Queen gives out tiaras to her relatives,  but they are considered a “life-time” gift, one that is to be returned upon your passing.   For a while it was thought that the York Tiara was one of those – a lift-time gift to Sarah, but one to be returned.  In reality, the Queen had bought the tiara, new, for Sarah’s wedding gift.   It came with a matching diamond necklace,  bracelet and earrings.  Sarah was allowed to keep her tiara after the divorce and she last wore it in 2001 to Elton John’s White Tie and Tiara ball.


I’ve always loved the York Tiara, it is so feminine and is exactly what you would expect a Princess would wear.

There would be no reason why Eugenie wouldn’t wear her mother’s tiara, so when she first appeared wearing the emerald one, everyone ran to their computers, trending the Google Search “What Tiara is Eugenie Wearing!?”   

Whose tiara WAS it and where did it come from?!?   

Myself, I felt rather smug as I reached for my old, trusty, well-worn reference book “The Queen’s Jewels.”   I was going to show off my obscure knowledge of Royal Jewelry for Ben,  though he could not have cared less.  My plans were thwarted anyway, because the emerald tiara was not listed in the book. 

The mystery deepens.  The Royal Family just does not wear jewelry that no one knows where it came from.  It just does not happen!!!

It wasn’t until the Royals officially released this information that the mystery of Princess Eugenie’s tiara  was solved:

“Princess Eugenie is wearing the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara, lent to her by Her Majesty The Queen. The tiara was made by Boucheron for Mrs. Greville in 1919 in the fashionable ‘kokoshnik’ style popularised in the Russian Imperial Court.”

Her smaller diamond and emerald earrings were a gift from Jack, her fiancé. 

Notice how beautifully the emerald green deepens her gorgeous blue/green eyes.


The tiara was bequeathed by Mrs. Greville to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mum, in 1942, who then left it to her daughter, the current Queen Elizabeth, upon her passing.

Mrs. Greville…who???

Who was Mrs. Greville?   I had never heard of her and most of England hadn’t either.  Only those who closely follow the Royals knew anything at all about Mrs. Greville. 

Who was she and why would she give such a beautiful and pricey tiara to the Queen of England, who already owned a King’s ransom of jewelry?

The story has been told that the Queen Mum owned so much jewelry, her chest drawers were full of it.  She would open a drawer and a tiara or two would fall out, and often she wouldn’t even know where it had come from!  Why would she need another tiara from this Mrs. Greville?

Certainly the Queen Mum must not have liked this tiara because she never wore it before, nor has its current owner Queen Elizabeth.  It’s possible the Queen Mum felt the tiara was just too small for her.   

Research shows that the emerald tiara wasn’t the only piece of jewelry that Mrs. Greville bequeathed to the Queen Mum.  In all, she left over 60 pieces of fine jewelry to the Queen Mum!

But why????

Mrs. Greville:

Our story starts with this stately gentleman, William McEwan, a Scotsman from Edinburgh.   He amassed an immense fortune brewing beer.

Fountain Brewery in Edinburgh – McEwan’s company

McEwan Hall at the University of Edinburgh was funded from his largesse.  Later, he was elected a MP, Member of Parliament.   Unmarried and with no apparent children, he had an torrid affair with his housekeeper, Helen Anderson, whom he then shipped off to London when she became pregnant.  He sent her along with his porter, a Mr. Anderson – their shared last name would be helpful in hiding the illegitimacy of his soon to be born child.   In 1863, that child, a Margaret Helen Anderson was born.


Helen Anderson – the paramour

Unmarried,  Helen Anderson gave birth to an illegitimate daughter that she longed to give respectability to. The story of Margaret’s birth and legitimacy was whispered about.

Margaret Helen Anderson aka Mrs. Greville

How does an illegitimate daughter of a housemaid and a porter acquire enough jewelry to bequeath over 60 pieces to the Queen of England?

When Margaret turned 21, the long time lovers, her biological parents,  finally married, which assured Margaret a claim to inherit her father’s immense estate.  Legally, she was McEwan’s step-daughter, but privately, she was known as his daughter.  Today, her inheritance would be worth over 65 million dollars.

Never a great beauty, photographed here at 30 in her pearls – it was said that Margaret would take her 5 strand pearl necklace to the jewelers once a year to have them restrung.

Now that she was an heiress, Margaret, or Maggie as she was known, was able to attract a husband.    She married Ronald Greville, fresh from the army, from which he resigned when he was elected an MP. 


Ronald Greville, the handsome husband - as long as his hat was hiding his bald head. 

Polesden Lacey © National Trust / Andrew Fetherston

Without his hat and with his ever present cigar

Ronald died young at 43, probably from throat cancer, but his early death proved a social disaster for Margaret.   Ronald died before his father had inherited his title from his own father, so Margaret never received her long awaited title of Baroness.    But, his early death did free her from a life as a dreary wife.  Instead, she became one of society’s most popular hostess.

Perhaps it stemmed from a deep insecurity about being born the poor, lowly housemaid’s illegitimate daughter, but Margaret was fiercely determined to overcome her early life.  If she wasn’t born royal, she would be the next thing - their confidant.

She fashioned herself as “Mrs. Ronnie” and set out befriending all the highest of social sets, starting with the King of England, King Edward VII, his son King George V, his son King George VI or Bertie, as he was known, along with their wives.  It helped that Ronnie was good enough friends with the Royals to introduce her.


Polesden Lacey © National Trust / Helen Taylor

Margaret with the Aga Khan

Additionally Margaret was friends with Winston Churchill, Oswald Mosley, the Aga Khan, the King of Egypt, Mussolini, even Hitler himself!   Although she counted the Jewish families the Rothschilds and the Sassoons amongst her close friends – she was a notorious anti-Semite.   After the war, Margaret was shrewd enough to cleanse her diary from any mention of Hitler.

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Margaret Greville with Baron Golschem Rothschild on her terrace at Polesden Lacey.

Although she was one of the most popular hostesses of her time, she was known as an insufferable snob and was not very well liked.  Disparaging quotes of what was said behind her back are oft repeated:  Cecil Beaton described Mrs. Greville as “a galumphing, greedy, snobbish old toad who watered at the chops at the sight of royalty.”


There’s more.

Harold Nicolson said of Margaret:   "A fat slug filled with venom."

Lady Leslie wasn’t very nice either:   "Maggie Greville? I would sooner have an open sewer in my drawing room."

Double ouch!!

The Queen Mum was nicer than most.  After Margaret passed away, the Queen said:  “ I shall miss her very much indeed, she was so shrewd, so kind, so amusingly unkind, so sharp, such fun, so naughty, and altogether a real person, a character, utterly Mrs Ronald Greville and no tinge of anything alien."

Margaret Greville does sound so awful, it’s a wonder she had a friend at all, much less Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.

The non-Royals forgave her bad traits because she was so close to the Royals.  And close they were, without a doubt.

When Ronnie died before he inherited his Baronetcy, Queen Mary stepped in to help.  She gave Margaret an honorary title which allowed her to be fashioned a Dame of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) – but surprisingly, she rarely used the title.

Though she adored the Royal family, was she really a snob?  Maybe not.  Margaret called her personal maid “The Archduchess.”   They ate together and talked long into the night,  they were best friends.  She often gave to charity, anonymously.  For her younger, best friend, Ena, the Queen of Spain, she paid her daughter’s dental bills – for some unknown reason, along with leaving Ena a large cash gift in her will!

And, then there was The Hon. Mrs. George Keppel, the long time mistress of King Edward VII.  

Margaret played host to Mrs. Keppel, inviting her to her estate on numerous weekends so that she and the King could be together.  In gratitude, Margaret was named Godmother of Sophie Keppel, Alice’s daughter.  In an odd twist of fate, Sophie is the grandmother of Camilla, Prince Charles wife!

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And, further, in the most ironic of all ironies, Camilla’s favorite tiara and the one she wears the most, just happens to be one that Margaret bequeathed to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

Was Margaret Greville the only civilian to have ever left such a large collection of jewels to the Crown?

It was through her husband Ronald that Margaret first met the royal family.   Ronald was close friends with King George V and through him, Margaret and his wife, Queen Mary, bonded, most likely over their love of jewelry.   Margaret grew close with George’s father, Edward VII, who appreciated her discretion during his long standing affair with Alice Keppel, Camilla’s great-grandmother.  Margaret had created a room at her country home for the King to use with Mrs. Keppel.  Later, though, she admitted that Edward VII was the only Royal she had never been “intimate” with, not sexually, but in close friendship. 

1909:   King Edward VII and Mrs. Keppel and others visiting Margaret Greville’s country estate for the first time.   This was her inauguration house party in her new house, Polesden Lacey.    Notice the wonderful dhurrie rug laid on the ground.  Love it!

And notice the outfits!  A weekend party and the dresses and hats are incredibly fancy.  How uncomfortable it must have been to wear such clothing every day.

Edward VII’s grandson, the Duke of York, and his bride (later, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mum) on their honeymoon at Margaret Greville’s country estate.

Margaret was said to have encouraged the courtship of Bertie and Elizabeth – the current Queen’s parents and Margaret and Elizabeth became very close with time.

Choosing the correct side with the Royal Family was as important as maneuvering chess pieces.   Margaret seemed to have a knack for choosing the “right side.”  When the then Prince of Wales was dating the twice divorced Wallis Simpson, Margaret was opposed to it and chose to side with Bertie and Elizabeth.   A very wise move.   Margaret’s loyalty to the Queen remained until she died in 1942.    For this loyalty, Elizabeth rewarded Margaret with her friendship.  In thanks, Margaret rewarded Elizabeth with all her priceless jewelry, including Eugenie’s tiara.

Polesden Lacey, Margaret Greville’s Country Estate in Surrey where the Kings of England came to stay.

After Margaret married Ronnie, her father bought her a house, Polesden Lacey in Surrey in 1906. The total for the estate was 80,000 pounds.  Today that amount would be over $10 million. The couple had been renting out a country house, Reigate Priory, also in Surrey, from which they would host their weekend parties.  Margaret proved such a wonderful host, she wanted her own place so she could dictate all the details, herself.

Hence, Polesden Lacey.

A series of houses had been present on the 1,400 acre Polesden Lacey land for centuries, but a more recent one had been demolished by an owner and then rebuilt in 1902.  Four years later, Maggie bought that newly built house and completely redid it, again, turning it from a warm, country house to an elaborate, fancy mansion where Kings and Queens would feel comfortable.  She added more space, bay windows to the façade and then designed a large saloon of red velvet and gilt moldings.

To entice weekend guests, she added ensuite bathrooms to each guest room.  It was all the height of luxury.   There were no taps in the tubs, instead the water rose up from the bottom as as to avoid noisy splashing.  Each room had a telephone and guests could phone down to the kitchen or the butler and have their every wish granted.  Most extravagant of all was the central heating Margaret had installed.   All these luxuries were unique to Polesden Lacey and made the house a huge success.   

There was always a houseful of weekend guests, many whom felt the estate was more like the Ritz Hotel than a country house.  In fact the same architects who redesigned London and Paris’ Ritz Hotels were hired by Margaret to design her own home.    The interior decoration for Polesden Lacey was executed by White, Allom & Co.  Their name might be familiar – Charles Allom was hired in New York to design the first floor of Henry Clay Frick’s house, now The Frick Collection.


The same designer of the first floor of the Frick, also designed the interiors of Polesden Lacey.

Margaret loved to entertain and she used her house to cultivate her close ties to the royal family.  In what seems like a bribe, she had written to King George V in 1914, informing him that in her will, she was leaving her house to one of his sons, his choice.  It was, she said, in thanks to his father’s, Edward VII, kindness when her dear Ronnie had died.   Her offer was graciously accepted.   It was decided that Polesden Lacey was to be given to Bertie and his wife Elizabeth, since his older brother was to become King and wouldn’t need the house, of course – or so they all thought.  

The then York's on their honeymoon on the portico at Polesden Lacey.  Love the chairs!  And notice the carpet, again, a wonderful dhurrie!

When Bertie and Elizabeth went on their honeymoon at Polesden Lacey, they were in effect, going to what, they thought, would one day be their own country home.    Margaret adored the young York's and said she thought of them as her own children.  She offered to buy their wedding linens, no small gift, since it included masses of monogrammed sheets, tablecloths, napkins, towels and placemats.  The couple loved Polesden Lacey as it was more luxurious than any of their own palaces with its ensuite bathrooms and central heat.    But as fate would have it, Bertie became King himself and they no longer needed Polesden Lacey, since they now had Windsor Castle and Balmoral for their country haunts.  Margaret rescinded her offer of Polesden Lacey to King George, but the Royals were unaware of this for years to come – until her will was read.

Margaret had a long life, filled with travels to far away places like the Middle and Far East and India.  She divided her time between her country house and her townhouse on Charles Street in Mayfair.  But in the end, it must have been lonely.  After she died, it was noted by a friend that there was no one to send a condolence note to:  “neither husband, nor child, nor brother, nor sister.”   An only child with no children of her own, her sizeable estate would have to be left to friends and servants.

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In 1942, at 79 years old, Margaret died in a hotel, her Mayfair townhouse now sold.  In her will, she left her estate Polesden Lacey to the National Trust along with a healthy endowment, instead of giving it to a “needy royal” as she said she would do.   No one was as surprised as the then Queen Elizabeth to not have been left the country estate.  Some had thought Margaret might leave the house to Princess Margaret, just 12 years old at the time.  Instead, Princess Margaret was given  20,000 pounds, quite a large sum for a 12 year old.

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King & Queen

We know how The Queen Mum felt about not being given the estate because she wrote about it in her letters.  First to the King she wrote:

"Polesden she left to the National Trust… I’m not sure this isn’t a very good idea because it is a difficult place to keep up, terribly expensive and needing a millionaire owner… this, darling, is all I know… perhaps it is just as well, things being as they are, that she has done this."

Sniff-sniff! – Keep a stiff upper lip!  How many houses could  you possibly need?


In giving the estate to the National Trust, Margaret believed her name would live on, glowingly, which sadly, didn’t happen.   But now, with the Greville tiara worn by Princess Eugenie at her wedding, public curiosity about Mrs. Greville has swelled.   Visitors will be flocking to Polesden Lacey to see exactly who Mrs. Greville was and where she lived.

And though Queen Elizabeth didn’t get Polesden Lacey, Margaret didn’t forget her friend.

Margaret left her her entire collection of jewelry – at least all the jewelry that was valued at more than 100 pounds.

Queen Elizabeth learned about Margaret’s bequeath of jewelry just five days after her death.   She had already informed her husband, the King, of the gift, first. 

Then, in October, 1942, she wrote about the jewelry to her mother-in-law, Queen Mary.  Despite owning ALL the royal jewels, the Queen Mother was very happy to be getting even more jewelry:

“I must tell you that Mrs. Greville has left me her jewels, tho' I am keeping that quiet as well for the moment!  She left them to me 'with her loving thoughts', dear old thing, and I feel very touched, I don't suppose I shall see what they consist of for a long time, owing to the slowness of lawyers & death duties etc, but I know she had a few good things. Apart from everything else, it is rather exciting to be left something, and I do admire beautiful stones with all my heart. I can't help thinking that most women do!'

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In reply, her mother-in-law Queen Mary, who wore more diamonds than any of the royals, wrote back “I can understand your pleasure about the jewels. I never had any such luck, but I am not really jealous. I just mention this as it came into my mind!    How kind of Mrs. Greville to leave you her jewels, and she had some lovely pearls and nice emeralds too I think, I hope that the jewels will make up for the loss of Polesden Lacey, I am sorry that she altered her will but perhaps it would have been a white elephant to Bertie. I can understand your pleasure about the jewels, you are right not to say anything about them.”

Did you notice she said - Don’t say anything about the jewels!!!


Margaret Greville in her pearl necklace – one of them!

Before she died, Margaret had already given a three strand pearl necklace to the Queen Mum.    Margaret had saved a newspaper article about her “gift” to Elizabeth:

It reads like today’s “Blind Item – Solved”
   "...Mrs Greville was 'the friend' who gave the then Duchess of York the beautiful triple rope of pearls which she wears so constantly.”   Apparently, Margaret herself was the source for the story.

Margaret’s Will:

Regardless of how quiet the Queen wanted to keep the gift of the jewels from the public,  it was impossible since the will was placed in the newspaper including the listing of the jewels.  But a photographic catalogue of the gift has never, to this day, been released.

Before any of the estate jewels could even be given to the Queen Mum, it all had to be valued for probate.  The inventory and the value of the gift is available in the Royal Archives.   The jewelry left to the Queen Mum totaled over 60 pieces, including emeralds that were said to have belonged to Empress Josephine. 


The first time a Greville bequeathed jewel was worn in public – here Queen Elizabeth worn the Greville Honeycomb tiara on a South Africa tour five long years after it was given to her.

Why did she wait so long to wear the jewels?  Several theories account for this.   Was it because the jewels came from a woman who was notoriously reviled and the King wouldn’t allow it or was it because his family, the Royal Family, did not give her the jewels?   Some say the King insisted the jewels remain in their boxes because he was uneasy receiving such gifts from his subjects.   Others think it was because of WWII, the jewels were deemed too extravagant.

When questions arose about the new jewelry the Queen was suddenly wearing - it was explained away as New Commissions by the Queen.

The royal family was complicit in perpetrating that story.  While it is true that she had added a row of diamonds on the famous Honeycomb tiara to make it taller, in no way could this be considered a new commission, it was merely a reworking of the tiara.   The family circulated this story about the“new commissions” for over twenty years.

It wasn’t until 2012 when this book was written that the public learned the most of what is known today about the Greville Jewelry Bequeath.  Even so, there has never been a complete showing of the jewelry in total.   The over 60 pieces have never been documented for public consumption, unfortunately, and most likely will never be unless someone writes a book specifically about the Greville gift and Kate is the Queen at that time.  The current Queen Elizabeth would never ‘OK’ a book about Margaret Greville’s jewelry, but Kate?  Why not?

Eugenie’s wedding Emerald Tiara was designed in 1921 and until her wedding it had not been seen in public since long before Margaret’s death.  The center emerald is 93.70 carats alone. 

Up until Eugenie’s wedding, the most well known pieces of jewelry in the Greville Bequest were the Boucheron Honeycomb Tiara, above, and its matching Five Strand Diamond Necklace.

The Queen Mother wore these jewels quite a bit, but today, they are the Duchess of Cornwall’s to wear.

  • The three versions of the Honeycomb Tiara.

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    Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, portrait by Richard Stone, in 1986 wearing the Greville Honeycomb Tiara.

    Another, striking photograph of the Queen Mum, without any makeup for which she was famous for wearing, in the Honeycomb tiara along with the Greville Peardrop earrings.

    The tiara is now used exclusively by the Duchess of Cornwall.  It’s not hers, it is to be returned to the crown upon her passing, at which time it will go to either Kate or George’s wife.

    Closeup of the fabulous Honeycomb tiara.

    Southern Rhodesia, 1953.  Here you can see that the tiara has not yet been altered by Queen Elizabeth with the upper row of diamonds.  The Queen Mum is also wearing the diamond necklace with it.

    The Queen in the Greville Tiara and a Greville emerald necklace which was another piece of the Greville bequest.  I wonder if this necklace was ever worn with Eugenie’s emerald tiara, even though they are of such different styles.

    The tiara today and the magnificent five strand necklace.

    The Greville necklace up close – I can’t imagine how many diamonds are in each of the five strands!!!!

    This lovely little pin is so charming!

    Worn on the Queen Mum’s hat, it’s just darling!  She looks so pretty here!

    A pair of diamond pins.

    The Queen always likes to wear a pin, or two.

    This Greville pin is so large it has been worn just a few times.

    This Greville necklace was given to Princess Elizabeth as a birthday gift.  Isn’t that sort of like a royal re-gifting!?

    Here she wore the necklace, but it hits at an awkward portion of the chest which is probably why she never wore it much.

    Kate has the necklace now, and worn with this pink dress – she looks stunning in it.  Kate is not afraid to show a bit of cleavage.

    These Greville chandelier earrings are HUGE.

    Can you count how many different cuts of diamonds are here?

    They are just huge!!!  Not sure how her ears can hold them.

    And again, notice she is also wearing the large Greville pin that is rarely seen.

    I love this emerald Greville pin.

    Very chic!  This pin would look good with Eugenie’s tiara.

    Wow!!!!!   The peardrop Greville earrings.  Hmm – I would like these myself!   LOL

    Notice that the pear diamonds are not really the same size or shape at all.   Today, this probably would not happen with more precise cutting tools.

    The first and only time the world saw Eugenie’s tiara was in a book about the jewelers Boucheron. 

    Fabulous!    After the wedding, many wondered was Margaret Greville ever seen in this tiara?  The answer is unfortunately, yes.

    A Royal watcher found this old photo of Margaret wearing the tiara.  She is hidden from view, but if you look closely, you can see it there.  Second row, far right.

    Blown up – the tiara looks terrible in black and white!!  It looks like a doctor’s light kit or an alien’s device!!!  It’s just terrible!!!!   Or is it an eye patch??!?!!!??    Not sure if it’s because the photo is in black and white or is it just a terrible photo.

    I remade this photo in black and white to compare the two photos of the tiara – and no, the tiara still looks beautiful here and not at all like an Alien’s Device or a Dr.’s Light Kit or an Eye patch.

    Let’s take a look at Polesden Lacey, the house that was once promised to Bertie and Elizabeth and where they spent their honeymoon.  Some thought Meghan and Harry might also honeymoon there too, but I doubt that!   They don’t need ensuite bathrooms to be impressed.  Or a telephone!

    Polesden Lacey is located in Surrey, near London, on over 1400 acres. 

    The main rooms in the house overlook this view with rolling hills.

    The first house on the estate dates back to the 14th century.   But, it is believed that a house may have been here as far back as  Roman times.  Through the years, different houses were built here and destroyed.  

    A new house was built on the property in 1824 – that version serves as the core of the house that stands today. 

    1828 A painting shows the Polesden Lacey house, overlooking the same rolling hills as today.

    Closer view.   The house that was built in 1824.   Here, you can see the portico that still stands today.  The current house was built around this square one, in 1902

    The  original square house – its Front Entrance.   At the right, you can see there was an extension built on the side.    On the left is the portico that still stands today.

    A photo taken right before this house was rebuilt and greatly enlarged to the size it is today.   Here you can see the small square house it once was, just two years before the new house was built around it.

    It was quite a pretty house, small and charming.  Actually not really small at all.

    Two years later in 1902, the same view shows how greatly enlarged the new house now was.   In 1906, Margaret’s father will buy this house for her and she will completely remodel it with all new interiors- just four years after it was built.

    Note:   The Drawing Room today is located behind the columns on the portico.  

       The house, today.   So beautiful!

    Margaret hired the architects who had built the Ritz Hotels in both London and Paris to remodel the house again – just four years after it had been completely rebuilt.  She added telephones, central heating, and marble ensuite bathrooms – all of which were at a great expense and a rarity in most palaces and mansions at that time.   Her house was the first in Surrey to even have telephones.


    Here is Polesden Lacey’s front door today, a part of the National Trust.

    The two wings are new – their bow windows added by Margaret in 1906.

    Today, with the parking court in front.

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    The original 1800s house can still be seen here where the portico is.  The black lines show where the old house ended and where it was extended to in 1902.

    And here you can see how the old, once square house fits inside the house today.

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    An aerial view of the house.  You can see how the new house was built around the old square house, creating a large interior courtyard.   The best suites and the public rooms overlook the view where the hills are rolling.


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    BEFORE:  After the new house was built in 1902, the courtyard looked like this – very plain.  Margaret later added shutters and the yellow paint to dress up the space.

    After Margaret redecorated the house, the courtyard looks more Italian.   Inside, there are three major halls that overlook this courtyard.

    The Yorks, Bertie & Elizabeth, on their honeymoon, standing on the portico where the original house was once located.

    Margaret commissioned this extravagant garden design for the portico and rolling hills side.  It was never built and perhaps that’s for the best.

    The Drawing Room is behind the portico.  To its left is the Tea Room and to its right is the Library.  Past the Library is Margaret’s study that she added on to the house.  Above her study is her sitting room and over the library is her bedroom.  Above the drawing room is her father’s suite of rooms.

    1902 – the newly built house before Margaret bought it. 

    1902 – A better view of the house before Margaret bought it.

    You can see the left front wing with the bow window has not been built.  Nor has the rounded bow been built on the right wing.  Margaret added both additions to the front façade.   On the left, she added her private study with an elevator that went up to her bedroom.  The right wing is the kitchen before the symmetrical bow window was added by Margaret. 

    1930s  - By the time Bertie & Elizabeth took their honeymoon, Polesden Lacey had been completely redone by Margaret and it was now covered in ivy.  Today, most of the ivy is gone, and the house is painted a bright yellow.

    The newspapers covered the Yorks honeymoon and showed many interior photos of the house.

    Today, on the left, this shows the original portico still standing from the old house and the two bay windows out front that Margaret added in 1906. 

    The front of the house.  Margaret renovated the façade from its former Regency design to an Edwardian design.  On the right, today the kitchen windows are hidden behind greenery.

    There are no photos taken from inside the clock tower, unfortunately.

    Wisteria covers the bay windows.


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    This floor plan shows the portion of the house open to National Trust visitors at this time.  The other wing is not as important as the left side of the house where all the public rooms are.  Not shown is the kitchen which is to the right of the dining room.

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    The house with partial view of the walled gardens behind it.

    The National Trust is making an effort to open up for viewing what they call “Unseen Spaces” – even before they are properly restored.   Right now the Trust is currently in the middle of an ambitious five year plan to get 40% more of the house opened to the public!

    It looks like Eugenie’s Tiara will be great PR for the National Trust and Polesden Lacey!!

    Things have definitely gotten better for the National Trust tour.  When Polesden Lacey first opened to the public in 1948,   only seven rooms were on view.  Bedrooms and staff space was off limits and much of the house was used as office space for the National Trust.   Today, there is a rush to open more and more rooms to the public – a total of 49 of the 200 rooms are now on view to the public.    People are especially interested in the staff spaces, the behind the scenes areas.   In the near future, 10 more rooms are due to open soon.

    The 1902 Entrance Hall renovation before Margaret bought the house in 1906.

    Before Margaret’s redesign,  this 1902 version was very plain, very English country house.  Margaret completely changed everything in it with the help of her architects.

    She told them she wanted a house to entertain Maharajahs in.

    And she did – three in all.

    maharaja of cooch behar for web

    One of her Maharaja friends – I LOVE this photo!  His turban and the pearl necklace!! Notice the jeweled handle on his sword. 


    Before she moved in, Margaret opened up these walls to the right of the main stairs so that she could make a grand entrance and she also added a fancy stair rail.  At six pm sharp, the butler would put out drinks and to the strains of Noel Coward, Margaret would sweep down the stairs for dinner.

    Today:  The same view.  You can see the wall to the right of the stairs was opened by Margaret so she could be seen coming down from the second floor. 

    Margaret Greville’s portrait now stands at the end of the landing.  The artist Emile-Auguste Carolus-Duran was one of John Singer Sargent’s teachers.

    BEFORE:  1902.  The other side of the two story Entrance Hall with the fireplace.  Through the door is the dining room.



    During Margaret’s reign.   This room looks almost exactly the same today. Above the mantel are 16th century tapestries.

    The Entrance Hall today. 

    All this intricate paneling was added by Margaret’s architect during the 1906 renovation.  The hall is quite a difference from the more stark paneling that was there before.  The paneling was originally reredos or an altar screen from Christopher Wren’s St. Matthew church in London, bought after the church was torn down.

    The chandelier is silver plate.

    Love the fireplace.

    1902:  Before Margaret, looking out toward the entrance door.  The entrance hall looks so bare without the moldings and tapestries.   Hard to believe it’s the same room.

    Today:  Looking down from the second floor hall to the entrance hall, including out to the front door.  Through the open door on the right is the Blue Cloak Room.

    Today:   The Second Floor Landing overlooking the Entrance Hall below.  You can see the tapestries here, and through the door is the dining room.

    1902:   The upstairs landing.  Past the arch, the landing overlooks the Entrance Hall on the right and the interior courtyard on the left.

    Today:  The same area of the landing above – past the arch.

    The Blue Cloak Room.   Love the tiny fireplace.  How romantic – go to powder your nose and warm yourself by the fire!  Love it!!!

      This room is set to be repainted the original blue in the next few months – probably during the winter.

    The three Picture Corridors lead off the public rooms.  This is the first corridor off the Entry Hall, which you can see in the upper right of this photo where the columns are.   Lining the hall are a set of chinoiserie chairs on the left and gilt and red velvet stools on the right.

    The windows on the left overlook the interior courtyard.


    This section of the Picture Corridor is exceptionally beautiful with its ceiling and line of lanterns.   The portrait of Margaret Greville was moved down here probably just for the photo.

    Notice the collection of urns in the window – amazing!

    Also, notice how beautiful the ceiling is.

    Some of Margaret’s most valuable paintings are displayed in the Jacobean Hall.   In her will, she specified that the best paintings from her former townhouse in London be brought to Polesden Lacey to be shown there.

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    This hall leads from the Billiards Room to the Tea Room which you can see at the end of the hall.

    Margaret obviously wanted her house to look royal. 

    It does resemble the halls in a royal palace, like Buckingham Palace for instance:

    Buckingham Palace.  Red carpet, check.  Oriental urns, check.  Paintings,check.   Line of fixtures, check. 

    Princess You-sha-knee posted this photo of her father Prince Andrew on her Instagram.  She got in trouble from the big guns because it’s a hall that has never been seen by the public.  This hall leads to the Balcony where the Royals greet the public. 

    While Margaret’s country house is nowhere near as regal as Buckingham Palace, there is no doubt that that is the look she was striving for.

    The red damask dining room is off the Entrance Hall.   It’s windows overlook the front drive court.   The table is either a rectangular or a round.  Her father’s portrait is at the head of the table.

    Margaret was probably one of the most popular society hostesses because she had thought of everything her guests could want – heat, communications, bathrooms and hot food!

    While most palaces and country houses had kitchens that were so far removed away from the dining room that food would arrive notoriously cold.

    But here, in the right corner is a jib door that opens to the kitchen where her French cook could whip up the meals and serve them, immediately – hot!

    The portrait hanging in the dining room:   Is the man who bought the house.  Margaret’s father:  The Right Hon. William McEwan MP (1827-1913), painted in 1902.

    June 1932 menu – beautiful written in French, of course

      I do recognize Consommé!

    The windows look out the front as opposed to most of the public rooms that overlook the rolling hills to the south.

    Beautiful mantel and I love the set of urns.  I’ve noticed that on a lot of mantels, there is a collection or a set of porcelains instead of disparate items.   Some of the better Instagram photos here were found HERE – excellent stories and photos.

    With the round table.  McEwan’s portrait is on the back wall.  This door leads out to the Entrance Hall.


    The kitchen tells another story of Margaret’s plans for her house to keep her guests happy.   The kitchen windows are covered.  No one can see out – or in.  This is exactly what Margaret wanted.  She was worried about the servants looking out the front door and watching who was arriving or leaving and with whom.  This way, the help could not spy on the guests while they were working in the kitchen.


    The front of the house.  The dining room are the two windows shown on the left.   The greenery covers the windows which are in the kitchen.  Behind the row of box, you can actually look down to the basement level.   Very clever Margaret!!!

    The Drawing Room from 1902.  I like this version of the room much more than it is today – in the bright gold and red.  Here, the room is more sparse with tufted chairs and chaises, such a trendy décor element today!!   I love the Oriental Chinoiserie accent chairs and the screen.    The row of windows look out to the portico which makes this room part of the original house.

    This is the perfect décor for an English Country House, but it looks nothing like Buckingham Palace which is the look Margaret was going for:

    She would never admit it, but Margaret obviously wanted a Drawing Room that her guests, especially King Edward VII, would feel at home in, something just like Buckingham Palace.

    Did she succeed?   Look below.

    It’s on a smaller scale than Buckingham Palace, of course, but the glitz and glamour is much the same.  The room is filled with display cases that hold her most precious small antiques.

    Another view looking towards the back fireplace.  The windows on the left lead to the portico.

    This room is where the original square house was, although I doubt they had one large room this size back in that 1800s house.

    Along this wall is the large portrait of Margaret, in case anyone forgot what their host looked like!

    In the center of the room in a display case is a copy of the famous Honeycomb tiara that Camilla wears today.   Whenever Margaret would commission a new piece of important jewelry – she would have two pieces made.   One was real, the other paste.  The copies were so authentic, no one could tell the real from the fake.

    Notice the gilt molding above the fireplace.   It was moved here from a 17th century salone in an Italian palazzo.   The fireplaces are from 1730, marble, and the wood floor is herringbone parquet.

    There is one chandelier and mirrors in the room are placed to reflect its crystals.

    The second fireplace next to the piano.  What do I love?  There are two identical barometers in the room!!!  ere is one.  And I love the wall clock.

    One of the French barometers.  Up close, you can see the silk fabric with a leaf pattern on the walls.

    To protect the silk fabrics, the shades are heavily insulated against the sun’s rays. 

    What I don’t care for.  Instead of one or two large rugs, there are many – too many.  It starts to look like a rug gallery.

    Besides parties and dances, this room was used for pre-dinner drinks. 

    One of the Oriental urns.

    Her collection of Oriental porcelains is incredible.   The BBC filmed at the house, showcasing all her possessions.

    There is a link on National Trusts’ web site where you can see every single piece in all her collections.   She certainly owned quite a bit, not as much as her friend, Queen Elizabeth, but for a mere mortal, her collections were incredible.

    The chandelier looks beautiful even without its lights on.

    But,  it’s also pretty with the lights on!  Love this photograph.

    There was a fire in 1960 that damaged parts of the house.  This room had to be regilded in gold leaf paper and it took months to complete.  Thankfully the fire didn’t damage more than it did.

    1923:  Newspaper article about Bertie & Elizabeth’s honeymoon at Polesden Lacey.

    The room looks exactly the same  - just a few furniture changes.

    Next to the living room is the Tea Room.  It’s a beautiful room, maybe the prettiest one in the house.  This photo is from the 40s.  It’s so romantic with its murals on the walls.

    Today:  The Tea Room is north of the Drawing Room.  It is filled with French furniture covered in petit point.   This was the room where the women would meet for coffee or tea.  Queen Mary would drop by for tea, or so it is said.

    The rug has been changed and I don’t care for it.  But the French furniture remains as do the murals.  My only complaint, besides the rug, is


    Every room is filled with nature.  I counted 10 plants/flowers in this room alone.   TEN!!!!!

    Before Margaret’s renovation, the library, south of the Drawing Room was pure Victoriana.

    From 1923 – A newspaper article about Polesden Lacey where Bertie & Elizabeth would later honeymoon.    In this view you can see the door behind the sofa that leads to the study newly built for Margaret.  She added an elevator in the study that would take her up to her bedroom suite on the floor above.

    Notice the same blue lamps are on the desk as is the yellow silk striped furniture.

    TODAY:   The library after it was rebuilt by Margaret when she bought the house.   Yellow silk curtains and yellow silk furniture in front of the fireplace play up the yellow dress in the painting.  I love the décor in the library.

    The shelves to the right of the fireplace is a jib door that leads to the red/gold drawing room next door.

    Here the jib door is open to the drawing room.   Above the books is Margaret’s collection of blue and white porcelains.   The lamps pick up the blue.  I have to say they remind me of the Christopher Spitzmiller lamps.    Their blue is so deep, just like jewelry!

    And the rug is an Indian dhurrie.  Love!!!

    I love the décor in the Library – from 1906, it still looks chic today.

    And a closer view of the painting with yellow to match the fabric.   To the right of the fireplace – is the jib door.

    A moody view of the newer library – notice the original telephone on the desk!  

    Behind the desk is the back part of the library.  Notice those urns!   How can you miss them?

    Through the double door is Margaret’s private study – a part of her two story suite.   This is the extension she had built in the front bay window.

    Previously, this double door opened to the outside in the 1902 house.

    Margaret’s study.  The walls are a warm yellow mixed with green.  Notice the mirror over the fireplace.  It looks like it is in two pieces.

    Sun shades protect the fabric.

    The back part of the study that connects to the Library gives her more shelf space to display her collections. 

    The mirror above the fireplace actually hides a window.  It opens in the center.

    And the mirrored panels slide into the paneling.

    This window has the prettiest view in the house – of the rolling hills towards the south.   Not sure why she didn’t just build windows into the room, but instead the one window on the side is hidden.  Odd, but it’s a crowd pleasure on the tour.

    The southern view of the rolling hills that Margaret wanted to see.    The entire house was built around this view – the more important public rooms overlook this same view – the drawing room, the library and the tea room.  Upstairs, Margaret’s bedroom and her father’s bedroom both overlook these hills.

    Past the tea room is the “Men’s Area” -

    Billiard Room, Smoking Room, then Gun Room.

    This is how the room looked when Margaret bought the house.

    She didn’t change that much – she put in built in shelves, exposed hardwoods, and new moldings.

    It’s odd to think this is a “pretty room” – but it is!

    This room overlooks the back of the house where the large flowerbeds are.

    Love this!

    Two antique tufted leather chairs and two tapestry wing ones.  So English. Nice mix.

    As it was in 1902.

    The green stripes were repeated, but there is a new mantel which is very attractive.

    And another view.  No photos of the next Men’s room – the Gun Room.

    The tour goes upstairs now – with its red rugs and Jacobean furniture.  Notice the three Dutch masters portraits on the stairwell. 


    From the 1902 décor – this room is probably upstairs.  It’s pretty but unsure whose it was.

    This bedroom was one that was updated for the tour.  Peach and green.

    Beautiful marble fireplace and vanity table.

    Tapestry and gorgeous caned bed.  Love!

    Margaret’s Three Room Suite:

    Margaret’s Private Two Story  Suite.   Above the yellow study on the ground floor is the sitting room of Margaret’s suite.  She added this section of the house – an extension out front with a large bay window.

    Here is the room before it has been renovated and the carpet removed.

    The ceiling in her sitting room is incredible.

    Partial restored, the carpet was removed and the paint was examined.  Should it stay white or go back to brown stain?  It appears like the Trust is trying to decide.

    Margaret’s down stairs study and upstairs sitting room, bedroom, elevator, and bathroom are now all on the tour, but only the downstairs study is renovated. 

    The trust has decided to open up rooms that haven’t been renovated first.  It’s been a great success and people are loving going behind the scenes.


    The sitting room, upstairs.

    The fireplace in Margaret’s bedroom, not yet restored.

    Now here is where it gets fun!!!  Margaret’s installed  elevator, or lift, is located on the first floor in Margaret’s study.  It’s between her sitting room in the front bay window and her bedroom – on the second floor.

    On the first floor, the elevator sits between Margaret’s study and the library.

    The elevator stands right at the front door to Margaret’s private suite.

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    Margaret’s two story suite is seen here in these windows around the red door   In order to be able to go in and out of her private suite, she installed a door to the outside – seen here.

    Margaret had a house full of guests almost every weekend she was at Polesden Lacey.   It sounds logical that she would be missing her privacy – and this door is the perfect escape for her.

    A close up shows right inside the door  - is the elevator with its diamond shaped door that leads up to the second floor of her suite.

    Upstairs, unrestored, but on the tour now, is her hidden bedroom.  Through the beautiful cove you can see into her sitting room with the bay window.  And to the right where the wallpaper is, is her en-suite bathroom.   Remember that each guest room had its own en suite bathroom, something that was unheard of at the time.

    The 2nd floor bedroom sits directly over the library on the first floor.

    Margaret’s bedroom, not yet restored, with its canopy bed and blue silk fabrics.

    The short hall leads to Margaret’s marble bathroom.   This bathroom was a copy of one in the London Ritz Hotel.  Remember that her architects designed that and the Paris Ritz hotel.

    A romantic photo of the marble bathroom.   That vanity!  That marble!!!   To the left is the commode.

    I literally gasped when I saw this photograph and it was this bathroom that convinced me to go on and research the house and write about it!

    G O R G E O U S !!!! 

    The legs on the vanity are silver plated though it’s hard to tell that now.  They need polishing.

    What is sad is there are double sinks – as this sign says.   The couple had planned to move into the house together and share this suite.  But Ronnie Greville died soon before the house was finished being renovated.


    Remember that there were no taps.  The water came up from the bottom of the tub so that there would be no noisy splashing!   

    The commode!   Typical of the types found in English upper class homes at that time.

    This window can be seen on the front extension that Margaret built:

    The round extension on the left front.  The bow window on the ground floor is Margaret’s yellow study.  Above, is her sitting room and behind that is her bedroom through the oval topped door.   The round window on the upper left is her bathroom – where the WC is. 

    Past her bedroom suite is her father’s suite, that sits over the downstairs Drawing Room.

    The toile wallpaper that lines that long hall that connects Margaret’s suites and her father, William McEwan’s suites.

    The long hall that connects the two suites, Margaret’s and her father’s.    McEwan’s rooms were refinished first.   Here, the old green carpet has been removed and the long process has begun.    Looking back, the room at the very end of this hall is Margaret’s sitting room in her suite.

    What a mess!

    Edinburgh Central (UK Parliament constituency) - McEwan

    Margaret’s mother died in 1906 the year the house was bought and Ronnie died two years later.  Her father lived with Margaret both at Polesden Lacey and her townhouse in Mayfair, where he died in 1918 at age 85.

    His rooms have been completely restored with red paint on the walls and the carpets.

    The only photographed released shows this room, which I am guessing is the sitting room in his suite of rooms.  There is his bust in white marble and the history of his life in signage around the room. 


    King VII was one of the first guests in the new house.   I love how his room was decorated – all in French with French fabrics.

    Still, you would think the King of England would have a larger bed?   Edward VII was not a small man, plus – this is where he “entertained” his long-time mistress, Alice Keppel – who just happens to be Camilla’s great grandmother.

    I absolutely love that chair!!!!  Fabulous!!

    A small photo of the bed – the fabric torn, it is soon to be restored.  The bed is antique – the carvings are beautiful.

    It’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that Queen Victoria’s son slept on this bed – many a night – while conducting an affair with Camilla’s great grandmother.


    Here are some notes about the servants and the guests.

    There were 70 people who worked in the house and some also worked in Margaret’s Mayfair townhouse.

    The King’s rooms are next on the list to be renovated:

    His rooms are very beautiful.  Above is his bedroom, currently used as a conference room.  Pretty mantel and chandelier.  I love the curved corners.

    The opposite side of the room – mirrored closet space.  You can see this is the same space as shown in the old photo with the French furniture, above. 

    Another room in the King’s suite of rooms, ready to be restored.

    The Trust is restoring all the different gadgets the staff would use to keep in touch with the guests.  Here is the message system used.  It’s interesting to read all the rooms that were in this system.  Not sure what the Chippendale Bedroom is, but it sounds divine!

    Yew Tree and Acacia bedrooms sound interesting too – perhaps those trees are outside their windows?

    I counted 17 bedrooms, not counting staff.  12 baths. 

    I can’t imagine living this way, having parties that lasted all weekend – with at least 12 or more guests each time, the women all dressed in fancy hats and dresses.  Besides entertaining them all – you had to feed them three meals a day, plus tea time and all the drinks, before and after dinner.   It must have been exhausting!

    The old telephones and intercom system remain in the house. 


    Just beautiful!


    And the side with the original portico from the original square house of the early 1800s.    There is an original ha-ha which you can see at the front right of this photo.


    The Portico was a popular place for Margaret and her guests to congregate and look out over the rolling hills.

    And another photo in 1942.


    And again here, a weekend party with King Faud, King of Egypt.

    The Yorks on their honeymoon playing golf.  Today the course is no longer kept up.

    But, people play croquet instead. 

    The charming Gardener’s House.  

    For lease!


    Apart from the house are the stables, the water tower, the dairy and more.

    Today this area has been restored to house the gift shops, the restaurant, and more.


    The original water tower that leads into the stable yard.

    In the stable yard – a garden sale.


    There’s even a thatched roof covered bridge!!!

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    Aerial view of the large walled gardens behind the house.  The first garden on the right is where Margaret Greville is buried.


    Her burial spot:   Most unusual is this walled “garden.”  Close by the house and guarded by a row of statues, it is the final resting place of Margaret Greville.

    With no family when she died, she requested to be buried here.


    Close by are all her beloved dogs, hidden in a space surrounded by trees.

    Leading from the back portico of the house – the Tea Room - are the walled gardens.  Here, flowering borders lie on both sides of the gravel path.

    One of the walled gardens – so beautiful.  Notice the range of the blooms, from dark to light, which creates a visual depth.

    I can’t resist!  Another view with different filters.  Beautiful!!!


    Holes were cut in the brick walls to give guests glimpses of the gardens behind them.

    The largest garden is the rose garden with wood pergolas crossing through the beds.

    Margaret with one the Maharajah's that visited Polesden Lacey strolling through the rose garden.

    At the center of the rose garden is a well.

    Water Tower Susannah Wheeler A winter view is just as beautiful.  Here you can see the layout of the garden with the pergolas that meet at the center well. 

    On their honeymoon, the Yorks also visited the old well.  This must have been something all guests were expected to do.

    Of course, Margaret has her own rose.

    Another summer view. 


    Another interesting tie between Princess Eugenie and Polesden Lacey.

    Balmoral is one of Eugenie’s favorite homes of her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, and now her husband Jack loves it too.  Thistle grows wild there and to bring a bit of Balmoral to the wedding, thistle was included in the flowers:

    Here Jack is wearing thistle in honor of Balmoral.    And here, Eugenie wears the tiara that in its previous life, lived at Polesden Lacey, with all its thistle!

    The Long Walk – the earlier days of the long walk with a stone & wood pergola at one end.

    The Long Walk has its roots in 1751 when it was first laid out along the valley.   A later owners who lived here in the early 1800s extended the Long Walk from 900’ to 1300.


    And today, just like the Long Walk at Windsor Park, Margaret has her own Long Walk.   Why bother going to Windsor when you can walk the Long Walk at Polesden Lacey? 

    It’s hard to see, but placed at intervals along the walk are identical white wood chairs.   The chairs themselves then become a part of the landscape design.

    In fall.

    And, in summer.

    Another walled garden with an antique Roman bath and statues at one end.

    This view is incredible.

    Just beautiful!!!  It’s easy to think why there has been a house here, dating back, it is believed, to Roman times.

    And, even though Margaret had such a bad reputation about her interpersonal skills, she seemed to know everyone who was anyone.  Here, Margaret even made it to Hollywood with Spencer Tracy.


    During the week, Margaret and her father lived at 16 Charles Street in Mayfair, once a popular place for the upper class to live.  Today, the street is commercial, but her townhouse still stands.  It was placed for sale a while ago and photos were released – which show the grandeur she lived in in London.

    Margaret’s house was built in 1753 – along with the development of Charles Street.  The builders of her house were known for designing austere facades but elaborate interiors with rococo plasterwork.   Back then Mayfair was considered a “new” neighborhood – neighbors could still hear the sound of the hounds in hunt from their houses.

    Marble floors and incredible stairwell.

    Margaret’s chandelier is long gone replaced by another fixture.  The skylight is beautiful – who would expect her city house would be prettier than her country estate?

    Gilt and gold.  This room is actually a double drawing room – from the front to the back.   Double fireplaces and double chandeliers.   I’m sure there is a beautiful parquet wood floor under the carpet added for the office space.

    One famous party she gave was an Orient Express themed party.  You can see the gilt walls in the background.   The waiters were dressed as porters

    Image result for beau brummell

    Many famous people have lived on Charles Street, – but historically one of the most famous includes Beau Brummell, the famous dandy of the Regency period.  He spent five hours a day getting dressed, his boots had to be polished with champagne.    

    Margaret’s townhouse at #16 Charles was remodeled just before the First World War by the same architects she used for Polesden Lacey – Mewes & Davis, famous for their Ritz Hotel commissions.   But the house was decorated by Francis Lenygon, famous for his society clients.

    Who was Francis Lenygon?   A designer, Lenygon founded his company in 1904 where he recreated classic reproductions.  He merged with an upholstery firm and officially became Lenygon & Morant.   HERE is a comprehensive history on the importance that the forgotten Francis Lenygon was to interior design.  Besides his work on Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle for four Kings, it is this photograph of the designer that says it all:

    First Lady Jackie Kennedy sits with officials of the American Institute of Interior Design in the White House ground floor library. The Institute sponsored the refurbishment of the library, now in keeping with the 18th century-style of the White House. | Location: Library, White House, Washington, D.C., USA.

    Francis Lenygon at the White House Library after its refurbishment.  Jackie’s smile at Lenygon shows her approval.

    It’s interesting to think how two of the most influential early designers – Francis Lenygon and  Charles Allom worked on each of her remarkable homes.  One of those homes was grand enough to now be in the National Trust and her jewels were fancy enough to be a part of the Royal’s personal assets.

    Finally, if you have fallen in love with Polesden Lacey and plan to visit Surrey, you can actually stay at the house!

    The charming gardener’s cottage is available for overnight stays.  How much fun to stay on the property and explore it all!!!

    Refurbished, the original features remain, like this fireplace.

    Charming, a farm sink too!

    An AGA to keep you warm.

    Another fireplace in the bedroom.  I would start up all the fires – so romantic!

    The gardener had quite the nice arrangement here at Polesden Lacey.


    A wintry view out to the garden.

    To stay at the cottage go HERE

    A beautiful bride, a mysterious tiara leads to a royal treasure chest of jewels given by a lonely widow who owned a beautiful Edwardian estate.   

    I hope you enjoyed the Mystery of Eugenie’s Emerald Tiara!!!


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    2. What a fabulous post and an amazing and intriguing woman. Thank you.

    3. Wow, you really outdid yourself with this post! What a house - I would LOVE to see it. My favorites rooms are the little lounge and the current tea room - gorgeous! As for the jewels, I don't care much for either the emerald tiara Eugenie wore or the current honeycomb, which is HUGE. I liked the original version of the honeycomb. I love the emerald pin and the pearls! I certainly never thought Eugenie was pronounced you-jane-knee, LOL, but I've also never heard you-shaa-knee (I didn't watch the ceremony). I've always heard it pronounced you-zhin-ee (second syllable with a "z" sound rather than an "s", and with a "in" or "en" sound), slurred together, slight accent on second syllable; there is a character in the original Manchurian Candidate movie with this name, and that was the pronunciation. Apparently there are a few ways to pronounce it.

      1. Wow, when you start trying to explain how something is pronounced, it's really hard, isn't it?? So not just a "z" sound, more like the second syllable is "zjhen", so hard to explain, haha! Ok, enough :)

      2. I first heard the correct pronunciation of Eugenie from an endearing old video of the Queen and her young grandchildren at Balmoral. Here is the clip if you're interested.

      3. Yes, that's it! Except the character in the movie placed the accent on the second syllable rather than the first...

      4. Whoops - not "lounge", little cloak room...

      5. LLG, Thank you for the link. It was an endearing video. I noticed the Queen speaks to the grandchildren in an empowering way by letting them decide which way to take on the walk as opposed to just telling what direction to go. And the correct pronunciation of Eugenie has been decided :-)

    4. Also, Margaret reminds me in some ways of Alva Vanderbilt in personality and social-climbing skills :)

      1. Honestly, I thought the VERY SAME THING!! Biltmore! franki

    5. This was unexpectedly interesting. Your posts are always interesting, but the topic of Margaret Greville is out of the blue, and not just limited to the jewels but also the properties. Who knew! I suspect those who claimed she was nasty were jealous; after all, she was friendly with her staff. Maybe she sought out the royals to make up for her impoverished youth but with such sudden, immense wealth, she might have felt pressure for handouts from all sides and figured that royals would be the only ones not to see her only as a money bag.
      Anyway, the photos and history are wonderful. I have to look over the gardens a few more times.

      1. I thought the same thing, about others being jealous. There was a Molly Brown vibe going on. New money and all.

    6. Hello Joni, With this fascinating post you pieced together all aspects of Margaret Greville's complicated life with reference to her houses. You really did an amazing research job here! Between her jewels and homes, Mrs. Greville spent a lot of money on herself, but she also accomplished something impressive. The key to architecture is how well the finished building fits its owners, and I would say that Polesden Lacey suited Mrs. Greville and her tony entourage to a T.

    7. Detective Joni gifts her followers with another winner! If I ever win the lottery (doubtful, since I don't buy tickets), I would send you on a world tour so you could visit the places you write about and gather material for more fascinating posts.

    8. Joni, I haven't been to your blog in ages, and what a wonderful post to reintroduce myself to your work! You are still posting incredible pieces! Really... I would think that the Royals would love to see this. I searched for an Instagram account, and don't see that you have one. You should create one! Eu-shawnee-ia... even has one! ;-). The one thing that stood out in the first half of the blog, is how ostentatious all those jewels are. I know they are fun to look at, but coming from a charitable perspective, there is a certain (dare I say) vulgarity in the Royals wearing all that heavy jewelry. I know most of them are charitable, so perhaps that makes up for it. Or perhaps, I'm just one for simple and classic, over ostentatious. Regardless, your post is fantastic!

    9. Your post was absolutely amazing! I feel like I just finished a history class. I also love your witty comments!

    10. I had the privilege of visiting Polesden Lacey a few years ago with my niece who was living in the UK. We loved visiting the National Trust properties and Polesden Lacey was one of my favorites. It is set in one the most beautiful settings atop a hill overlooking the countryside. My niece & I sat in the green striped lawn chairs while children flew kites and rolled down the hill. Mrs. Greville's unusual story drapes the house in a rich history. One of my favorite features was the band-shell like alcove over the doorway that led from one room of her private suites to another. But this is a wedding cake of a house with many incredible architectural and real treasures and one that should be put on anyone's list of interesting places to see. Thank you for a detailed report!

    11. How interesting to learn about the history of this tiara...I usually watch royal weddings but missed this one. However, your history lesson was much more fascinating to me! Thanks:)

    12. This is such a detailed and fascinating read - and something I am deeply interested in as my Grandparents both worked and met at Polesden Lacey in the 1930's! My grandmother was a maid and my grandfather was a gardener. Sadly, they are both no longer alive - but I am endeavouring to find out more details from my mother. I do know that my grandfather once served the Queen Mother tea in the glasshouse in the garden on one of her visits (she was walking and ventured in to talk about the garden) and he very nervously served her - though said she was charming and lovely! When I have more time I will sit down and properly read and pore over every detail of this post. Thank you! Caroline Elizabeth

    13. Thank you so much for the wonderful post Joni!

    14. To sit in awe. So beautiful. Thanks for sharing the dreams.

    15. Joni, you are a national treasure!! I eagerly anticipate your posts and each one is better than the previous one. You should put posts like this (of which you've done many) into a book. They provide such great and interesting historical information. This one about Polesden Lacey does not disappoint. A big THANK YOU!!

      Gina from The Midwest

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    17. Gosh Joni you are the Queen of Research! So much detail, seriously impressive. As I was reading the article, as soon as I started to wonder about another aspect of the story, low and behold you addressed it. I salute you :)

    18. Joni, what a masterpiece article! I do believe it may be your finest ever. What a story you told and brought the curmudgeonly Mrs. Greville back to life...she'd no doubt give you a tip of her tiara in thankful acknowledgement of your fair retelling of the history and her life. Fascinating in too many ways to recount here...but this article should be submitted to a script writer to bring this to the big screen or even a mini-series. Wow, wouldn't you watch the whole thing?

      P.S. I also gasped at the bathroom! And, the irony of Camilla's ancestor being a mistress wasn't lost on me. And finally, all those snotty comments about Mrs. Greville sound like jealousy since she was close to the Queen and picked the right side!

    19. A wonderful post, very much worth waiting for. I must say I find the royals and all they represent repulsive. That said, a peek into their lives is always interesting (though leaves me feeling quite sad for them and their like). As for the houses, I much prefer the gardener's cottage. The tiara is very pretty.

    20. What an interesting post! I agree that you should publish a book. I thought the house was lovely. I think my favorite rooms were the red damask dining room and the tearoom. And thanks for educating me on the pronunciation of "Eugenie".

    21. What a fabulous read!!! I loooove your blog because it mixes all my favorite things: history, design, architecture, royals, movies, glamour, JEWELS! Keep up the good work!

    22. Fergie is obsessed with Queen Victoria. She co-authored a couple of books about her called 'Travels with Queen Victoria' and 'Victoria and Albert: Family Life at Osborne House'. It's therefore unsurprising that she named her daughters after Queen Victoria's daughters / grand-daughters. Eugenie's full names are Eugenie Victoria Helena - the 3rd name after Queen Victoria's 3rd born daughter. Beatrice's full names are Beatrice Elizabeth Mary - 2 sets of Queens in her names and as fate would have it, Beatrice is the spitting image of a young Victoria.


    23. Awesome Awesome post. I think possibly your best - and I believe I have read every single one! Never, ever stop blogging. Instagram pales in comparison.

    24. My dear, once again you have me swooning with one of your posts! I can't get enough! I may have to go and rest so that I can come back and absorb more of your wonderful work. How you manage to gather so many exceptional photos and then weave them together into a delightful, even educating story is a gift. Who else but you can build a fascinating and lush story around a singe tiara. When I'm too busy to open most of my emails, I still make sure I check on your's and I'm always more than happy I did! Thank you! Looking at this comment, there's a lot of exclamation points for someone over the age of 13….but they are all sincere!!!

    25. DAZZLING!!! The WEALTH, the ARTISTRY and, YOU, did it ALL JUSTICE!! franki

    26. If it were possible I would throw myself at your feet and kiss the hem of your dress. No where does anyone do the coverage that you do on such a consistent and in depth basis. I so admire you. Is there a Pulitzer prize for blogging? I nominate you. Thank you for all the years of enlightenment that you have provided those of us who don't take the time to do what you do. I so appreciate it. Ann

    27. Joni, I am speehless!!! Your are incredible!! What a post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    28. I love your blog, but please "Yorks" is the plural of York, not "York's".

    29. So many folks out there scrolling Instagram but I still love a great BLOG POST!!
      So many of my favorite blogs have become inactive so I really appreciate you keeping your's going Joni. Also glad to learn a new word today; "ha-ha".
      Just a suggestion.. would love to see your super long posts broken into multiple ones. This post was great and could have been 5 installments, the tiara, Polesden, Mayfair, Lenygon, the Gardner's Cottage.
      Thanks as always for all of your research and your sharp-witted text :)

    30. joni, that was amazing, it took me 3 days to get through it... just so busy with every day life but so enjoyed every picture and minute of your blog everything about the royals, was very close to Diana & Charles years ago in Ottawa... blog well done, as always !

    31. I've been annoyed for a while that you haven't written a book - but it dawned on me with this post that YOU WRITE SEVERAL BOOKS A YEAR! Thank you for your diligence and for sharing your work with us. Now it occurs to me that there should be a book ABOUT you.

    32. That was amazing! There is just nobody like you, Joni! Thanks for another great gift.

    33. Super artykuł, jedynie duży błąd to taki: BERTIE to dziadek duke of York

    34. Joni, this was by far your most fascinating post EVER.

      You and Stefan at Architect Design are my go-to bloggers, these days, since all my other favorites seem to have given up the ghost, lately. But you two hang in there. Thank you for your undeniable stick-to-it-ness. I am in awe of what you do...



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    36. As I have commented previously, your blog is beautiful and educational. But, please "it's" is a contraction for "it is" and is not possessive. "Its" is possessive. These simple grammar mistakes detract from your content.

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