Ka-boom! The Marchioness of Londonderry liked to sport her super-abundant riches where everybody could see them. In Dubois-Drahonet's splendid swagger portrait, she is dressed in her ermine and velvet robes for the Coronation of William IV and Queen Adelaide in 1831 (His Majesty had decreed that the ceremony should be staged as cheaply as possible. Which begs the question: if this is what Frances Anne wore to a 'budget' coronation, how would she have appeared at something more upmarket?) Straight from the pages of a silver fork novel of the period, Her Ladyship made a sensation when she entered Westminster Abbey. According to the wide-eyed Benjamin Disraeli, she 'looked like an empress' and fairly 'blazed among the peeresses'. Clearly a girl who subscribed to the maxim 'go big or go home', her ultra-fashionable gown was quite literally encrusted with precious stones. The bodice was festooned with ropes of diamonds, corsage ornaments and a diamond belt (you read that correctly. A diamond belt). From waist to hem, a panel of fabric had been stitched with a multitude of coloured gems and yet more diamonds. Among the former were the legendary Londonderry Amethysts, as big and luscious as boiled sweets, which had been presented to the marchioness by her besotted admirer, Tsar Alexander I of Russia. Between the purple whoppers were the superlative turquoise drops Frances Anne had acquired from Count Ferdinand Palffy in Vienna around 1820.
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