The Royal Jewels

Documentary

A world very few people know – but many would like to know more about.

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The Royal Jewels

The Royal Jewels

They have been stolen and resurrected as copies. They have been given as dowries and used as a cure for bad consciences in broken engagements. They have been hidden beneath women’s skirts and smuggled out of chaotic countries. And some are still buried in the woods of Siberia.

It is the story of European civilization, where the symbols of royal power and the most visible evidence of royal dignity, the legitimacy of the family, are the impressive jewels worn at the great dinners and State visits. Few people know that some of the most fascinating jewels in the world are often tied to the high points of the history of the various royal families.

Through the history, The European royal families were known for their great wealth. As an expression of this, you would see them in extravagant garments and beautiful jewelry.

Today, some of the monarchies are now history, but the jewels can still be seen worn by the remaining royal families at the festive occasions they attend or house. This two part documentary will take the viewer through their fascinating story and the human destinies behind them. These are stories of power, love, triumph, tragedy and honour.

Episode one tells stories from the Scandinavian royal families, German principalities, the British royal family and the Benelux -countries, starting with the coronation of Emperor Napoleon in 1804, where the eyes of the world were trained on France. Napoleon Bonaparte is planning a magnificent ceremony, in which the Pope himself will crown him emperor. Incredible wealth is spent on jewellery and clothing – nothing is left to chance.

Not only is Napoleon’s wife Josephine taking part in the coronation but also there is his first fiancée Désirée, wearing the most beautiful rubies and diamonds – a parure that Désirée brings with her when later she becomes Queen of Sweden. Her son marries

Josephine’s granddaughter so, through several generations, the Swedish royal family inherits magnificent jewels from the French family. Today Crown Princess Mary of Denmark wears Désirée’s ruby parure.

Episode two begins in Russia, where in 1917 the wealthy Grand Duchess Vladimir publicly declares her opinion of her nephew, Tsar Nicholas II, and his incompetent way of governing the country. The nephew exiles his aunt to the Caucasus and her grandiose jewels are left at the palace in St. Petersburg.

During the revolution her son dresses up as a craftsman and sneaks into the palace collecting several large sets of jewellery, which are later smuggled out of Russia. Today the English Queen Elizabeth II wears the Grand Duchess’ very beautiful diamond tiara.

Director Anna von Lowzow
Producer Tomas Radoor
Produced by Nordisk Film Production A/S for DR in association with VMT, SBS, NRK, YLE and ERR
Duration 2 x 58 min
Year of Production 2011
Original Title The Royal Jewels
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