Edward VII’s mistress’s jewels go on sale

A stunning set of jewellery once belonging to Alice Keppel will be sold tomorrow

A garnet jewellery set estimated at £300-£500

With the party season nearly upon us, the auction tomorrow (11th November) of a rare collection of jewellery belonging to the Duchess of Cornwall’s great-grandmother seems rather timely.

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A complete suite of garnet jewellery estimated at £300-£500 (above) and a part set of garnet-encrusted pieces including some pendant earrings (estimate £200-£300) will be sold at Special Auction Services in Newbury, Berkshire.

The two sets belonged to Alice Keppel (below), a renowned Edwardian society hostess and the long-time mistress of Edward VII. Born in 1868, Alice was the youngest daughter of Sir William Edmonstone, the fourth in a line of baronets based at Duntreath Castle near Glasgow.

In 1891, Alice married George Keppel, whose family had a long history of service to the royal family. Unfortunately this did not extend to material wealth and, with her husband’s knowledge, Alice engaged in a series of affairs with rich men in order maintain the family’s society standing in London.

A portrait of Alice Keppel

Her longest affair was with Edward VII, who she met in 1898. Their relationship lasted until the King’s death in 1910 and was carried out with the blessing of both her husband and the Queen.

While it is not known whether the jewels were given to Alice by King Edward, the seller grew up on the estates of the Royal Household and was given them by Alice herself.

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The auction will take place on Tuesday 11th November at Special Auction Services, Newbury, Berkshire, RG19 6HW. 01635 580595; specialauctionservices.com