Skip to content
Princess Thyra of Denmark's Sapphire Tiara and other royal jewellery are up for auction at Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers on 1 December in Copenhagen.
Princess Thyra of Denmark's Sapphire Tiara and other royal jewellery are up for auction at Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers on 1 December in Copenhagen.

Press release -

Princess Thyra’s Sapphire Tiara and Other Royal Jewellery at Auction

Now you have the opportunity to feel like royalty when Princess Thyra of Denmark's Sapphire Tiara is up for auction at Bruun Rasmussen on 1 December in the centre of Copenhagen. The sumptuous piece of jewellery is presented in the company of several other pieces of jewellery that have been worn by princesses, queens and a tsaritsa throughout the history of the Danish Royal House.

When the auction house Bruun Rasmussen presents its Live Auction with jewellery in Copenhagen on 1 December, it will not be with just any old pieces of jewellery, but extremely prominent jewellery that has been owned by members of the Danish Royal House. The highlight is Princess Thyra of Denmark's Sapphire Tiara, while the auction's other royal jewellery includes Queen Alexandra of Denmark's Art Deco emerald and diamond bracelet and Queen Louise of Denmark's mourning medallions.

Worn by Princesses and Queens

The story of the sapphire tiara up for auction can be traced back to the 19th century to Princess Thyra (1880-1945), who received it as a gift from her parents, King Frederik VIII and Queen Lovisa of Denmark. This most likely happened on her 18th birthday in 1898, when she presumably had her debut into society.

This sumptuous piece of jewellery was subsequently passed down through the Danish Royal Family. Princess Thyra bequeathed the tiara to her niece, Hereditary Princess Caroline-Mathilde of Denmark, who was married to Hereditary Prince Knud of Denmark. They passed it on to their daughter, Princess Elisabeth of Denmark, and until today it has belonged to descendants of King Frederik VIII and Queen Lovisa of Denmark. It is likely made by the jewellery company E. Wolff & Co. in London and retailed by A. Michelsen in Copenhagen.

"Princess Thyra of Denmark’s Sapphire Tiara is unique and well preserved. And it is rare that jewellery of this nature is offered for sale at auction directly from the Danish Royal Family. I have always had a personal interest in royal history and royal artefacts. Therefore, right now is an absolutely unique time for me – to have the opportunity to delve into the history of both Princess Thyra and her sapphire tiara and present it at auction. The princess also deserves a different epithet, than the one she has in the history books, and she will get that now," says Martin Hans Borg, Chief Specialist for royal objets d’art at Bruun Rasmussen.

An Unconventional Princess

Princess Thyra of Denmark was the sixth child of eight and was born on 14 March 1880 in the Brockdorff’s Palace at Amalienborg in Copenhagen. Princess Thyra remained unmarried her whole life, and for many years she lived with her parents. Her mother Crown Princess Lovisa had a reputation for being an exacting mother, and Princess Thyra was given a strict upbringing. In the Danish Royal Theatre’s royal box, the children had to use their conversational skills on each other. Here the audience could watch the children’s many and long conversations from afar. They would probably have been surprised to hear the content of these discussions. In order for the children not to sit idle, they were taught to count to a hundred and backwards again.

Princess Thyra of Denmark had a central position in the Danish and European Royal Houses. As the daughter of King Frederik VIII of Denmark, she was the grandchild of “The In-laws of Europa”, King Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark. She also became the younger sister of the later King Christian X of Denmark and King Haakon VII of Norway. In this large family, her uncle and paternal aunt were King George V and Queen Alexandra of Great Britain. Her cousin was therefore also the later King George V of Great Britain.

Love Affair with a Surgeon-in-Ordinary

When Princess Thyra was 21 years old, she had a love affair with King Christian IX’s surgeon-in-ordinary, the twelve years older Niels C. Ilsøe. This led to his immediate dismissal, and he moved to Western Jutland as a general practitioner (GP). It is said that Niels C. Ilsøe for the rest of his life had a photograph of Princess Thyra placed on his nightstand. That they both remained unmarried throughout their lives may indicate that this was not simply a carefree romance.

Princess Thyra has received a somewhat unkindly epitaph in the official history books. This was based on the fact that she did not play a particularly visible role in public life. But it was the princess herself, who had chosen this withdrawn role. If you talk to the many descendants of King Frederik VIII and Queen Lovisa of Denmark, the description is completely different. As one of them has described it to Martin Hans Borg:

“Aunt Thyra has most often been unfairly and incorrectly portrayed, and the majority of the few people who have written anything about her have not known her at all. I remember her as hospitable and her large, stately home as a cheerful and popular meeting place for her siblings and the rest of the family. The younger generations were certainly also spoiled. She was so kind and always made sure we had what we needed. She was well-read, spoke several languages, had a cheerful sense of humour, could be straightforward, but at the same time had a natural royal dignity about her.”

Royal Objets d’art – from Mourning Medallions to Diamond Bracelets

Besides the tiara, the auction also includes a number of other pieces of jewellery with a royal origin. You can bid on lots such as mourning medallions, which one wore around the neck with a small lock of hair from the deceased. One of these mourning medallions belonged to Queen Louise of Denmark and contains a lock of hair from the Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovich of Russia, who never got to marry the Queen’s daughter Princess Dagmar. In addition, Queen Louise of Denmark owned mourning medallions from her parents, Landgravine Charlotte and Landgrave Wilhelm of Hessen-Kassel, as well as Prince Friedrich of Nassau.

In addition, other pieces of jewellery with a royal provenance are also part of the auction, such as a very beautiful Art Deco emerald and diamond bracelet that belonged to Queen Alexandrine of Denmark, a garnet and 18k gold pendant that was owned by King Frederik VII's mother, Princess Charlotte Frederik of Denmark, and an imperial marcasite and silver pendant previously owned by Tsaritsa Maria Feodorovna.

The royal jewelery go under the hammer in Copenhagen on 1 December at Bruun Rasmussen's jewelry auction. See all the jewels HERE.

The jewels can be viewed at Bruun Rasmussen's preview in Copenhagen from 24-28 November. See all preview and auction dates HERE.


Bonhams' Global Network
Bruun Rasmussen has now been part of Bonhams for more than half a year. The auction house work closely with art specialists from other auction houses, share knowledge and promote the art objects at the auctions in places around the world where it makes the most sense for the auction lot and the customers. The collaboration has been rewarding in every way, and Bruun Rasmussen look forward to the continued journey together with Bonhams' global network. The collaboration also means that Bonhams' international customers can join the bidding at our current Live Auction via bonhams.com.

Topics

Categories


"Going once, going twice. Sold to the lady in the front row”. For 75 years, Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers has sold art, antiques, design, jewellery, wristwatches and collector’s items in the heart of Copenhagen. It was Arne Bruun Rasmussen who founded the auction house at Bredgade 33 in 1948, and until 2022 the Bruun Rasmussen family owned the company. Today, the company is owned by the British auction house Bonhams - one of the world's leading and oldest auction houses.

Being a part of Bonhams, means that Bruun Rasmussen has joined a global network, which benefits both the art and the customers, the latter has gained access to far more auctions and the former has a better chance of achieving the market's best hammer prices. The goal is to constantly confirm to our customers that Bruun Rasmussen is a sought-after auction house with the highest expertise in valuation and sales. Bonhams and Bruun Rasmussen share the core values of knowledge, credibility, commitment and renewal, and the old Copenhagen auction house will thus continue to base its business on its well-known values under the auspices of Bonhams.

With CEO Jakob Dupont at the helm, an extensive digitization process has taken place during the past years, making the auction house a significant player on the international market. With solid experience and in-depth knowledge complemented by highly professional advice and appraisal service, the company is the link between sellers and interested buyers from all over the world. Every year, 70,000 unique works of art are sold at three types of auctions – the traditional Live Auctions and the two web-based auctions Online Auction and Direct Auction.

Contacts

Kirstine Dam Olsen

Kirstine Dam Olsen

Press contact +45 8818 1064

Bruun Rasmussen – Part of the Bonhams Network

"Going once, going twice. Sold to the lady in the front row". For more than 75 years, the auction house Bruun Rasmussen has sold art, antiques, design, jewellery, wristwatches and collector’s items such as wine, books, coins and stamps. After having been family-owned through three generations, we were bought in 2022 by the English auction house Bonhams, which was founded in England in 1793 and is today one of the world's leading auction houses. We are now part of an international network with a global reach, and we present and sell art where it makes the most sense in relation to potential buyers. This also means that through the network we offer more than 60 categories of items at our auctions.

Art and credibility are at the heart of everything we do. The work in the auction house places great demands on our knowledge of art and trends on the market. Our specialists are the most experienced and competent in the industry, and in the Bonhams Network we share knowledge and communicate across national borders with a large number of international specialists. This way, we can provide the best valuation and advice that have become our trademark – and thereby offer the best lots from all categories and achieve the highest hammer prices for the benefit of our customers.

Tradition and innovation go hand in hand. At Bruun Rasmussen, we are one of Europe's most modern and digital auction houses, and it is only natural for us to adapt to changes in the market. Innovation is part of our DNA, while we are also deeply rooted in our history. The foundation of the company rests on our two types of auctions – Online Auction and Live Auction. Every week we put more than a thousand lots up for auction at bruun-rasmussen.dk, and several times a year we present exclusive lots live in our saleroom. We are proud to sell art and design in virtually every category and price range to and for people all over the world who are driven by the same passion as we are.

We want to be a living centre of culture, and since the autumn of 2023, we have been located in Lyngby north of Copenhagen in a new, modern domicile. Here you can not only explore among all the art objects on display and bid on the exciting auctions, you can also meet our specialists, get an estimate on your own items, consign them for auction, listen to exciting lectures and participate in cultural events. We also have branches in Aarhus and Glostrup and regularly go on valuation trips around Denmark and abroad. Our goal is to always be available and for everyone to have a good experience in our auction house.

Welcome to Bruun Rasmussen – we can help you make a good purchase or achieve a great sale!

Bruun Rasmussen – Part of the Bonhams Network
Nørgaardsvej 3
2800 Kongens Lyngby
Denmark
Visit our other newsrooms