K for Kings & Kweens. The Blogging from A to Z challenge is ruining my sense of spelling, but the theme is still online jewellery collections.
The most spectacular historical jewellery often belonged to the royals, to kings and queens who gave it to each other. Or who won it from each other in wars. Whatever, depending on political alliances.
I wanted to write about kings today, but I did not know what to say.
Then I came to think of kings and queens who stepped down, who decided not to pursue the career they were born and raised to pursue, as a life long commitment. That’s quite a step to take. Dramatic, brave, controversial, individualistic. Such an act does not go unnoticed.
In the UK, King Edward VIII abdicated and became the Duke of Windsor, to marry Wallis Simpson in 1937.
I hardly found any of their jewellery in online collections, I guess because most of it was their private belongings. Some of it has been auctioned, as here at Sotheby’s.
What I did find and want to share with you is this evening suit (courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Arts). The elegance of a king, whether a king or not.
Another royal character to go her own way was Queen Kristina of Sweden (1626-1689). She was the only child of Gustav II Adolf, and was raised and trained as a boy, to be able to lead soldiers in the war. She abdicated from the throne, moved to Rome and converted (from the Lutheran Protestant) to the Roman Catholic church.
She’s one of the royal characters that interests me the most from the Swedish history, because she was a woman and because she did just this: abdicated. She managed to throw a new version of herself, against all odds. I like to think of Queen Christina as a kind of Janis Joplin, just in another setting. She did not conform, but followed her own path.
Perhaps this is a romantic interpretation of mine. Perhaps if you know all the circumstances, it’s not that dramatic. Learn more about Queen Christina on Wikipedia (did you know she’s accused of causing the death of the French philosopher Descartes?). If you read Swedish, I think you’ll enjoy this article about Kristina, queen in exile (about her roadtrip through Europe, struggling to live her dream while navigating through the politics of the time).
Apparently, when she left Sweden, she brought most of her jewellery with her. I didn’t find her jewellery online, but I did find other belongings of hers in the collection of the Royal Armoury. I think it’s amazing that I can sit here and see some of the things that were part of her reality and life.
By the way, the Royal Armoury made its collections available online in spring 2013. It is also part of the Google Art Project.