Hidden Treasures of the Romanovs: Saving the Royal Jewels
William Clarke has written a book (due to be published in England in September), where he tells the story of how some of the Romanov Jewels were saved. William Clarke is by no means a novice when it comes to researching the history of Russian Imperial Jewels. Former financial editor of the London Times, Clarke has already explored a similar theme in his book “The Lost Fortune of the Tsars”, published in 1996. His new book, “Hidden Treasures of the Romanovs: Saving the Royal Jewels”, tells the story of Albert Henry Stopford, who transferred jewels worth millions of pounds (in those times) from Russia to England in 1917.
In a gripping detective-style book, Clarke tells how Stopford risked his own life to help Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, who he considered a close personal friend. Stopford offered the Grand Duchess to remove the jewels she had hidden in Vladimir Palace (which was guarded by Bolsheviks). Armed with detailed plan of the palace, Stopford (57 at the time) managed to penetrate into the palace, find the jewels and money there, and hide them into his Gladstone bags. If he had been apprehended, his fate would have been sealed right there on the spot. Stopford then proceeded to transferring the jewels (still in his Gladstone bags) to England: he used the fact his baggage couldn’t be examined as he had diplomatic immunity. Stopford’s motivation was almost certainly a genuine desire to help, rather than gain (it is known that he had no profit from the later sale of the jewels). Clarke, however, makes an intriguing suggestion that Stopford might also be working for British Secret Service.
One of the tiaras saved by Stopford is the famous Vladimir Tiara, now in possession of Queen Elizabeth II.
Here is the description of the book by the publisher:
“This is the untold story of Edwardian man-about-town the Honourable Albert Henry Stopford. A member of the aristocracy, Stopford was accepted in all the best salons of London, Paris, and St Petersburg and counted society hostesses, Russian nobility and members of the Ballet Russes among his closest friends.
“Stopford was a dealer in objects d’art with both Faberge and Cartier, and as a regular guest at Romanov dinner tables and a personal friend of two of the men accused of the murder of Rasputin, he relished his role as the eyes and ears of Whitehall in the Russian capital. Indeed such was the trust bestowed upon him by his peers, it would lead him all the way to the inner sanctum of Tsar Nicholas II.
“Amid the turmoil of the 1917 revolution, Stopford risked his life to rescue Romanov jewels worth millions of pounds form under the nose of Russia’s new authorities. Once back in Britain, gems would emerge from his shabby Gladstone bags that were destined to adorn the rich and famous — queens, duchesses, and film stars — for years to come.”
The book has roused considerable interest in the midst of those who are interested in the fate of the Romanov jewels.
To learn more about Romanov Jewels, visit this thread.Filed under Historical Royals, Russia
Tagged Book Review, Books, Jewellery, Vladimir Palace.