She was born Countess Natalia Pavlovna von Hohenfelsen in 1905, and was the daughter of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich, uncle of the last Russian Czar, Nicholas II. She escaped Russian with her mother and sister and lived in exile in Paris during the 1920s. Did they manage to escape with any of their jewelry?
There is no evidence of that, but Princess Natalie made up for lost treasures. She moved to London and modeled for Steichen and Horst and Beaton, and while there she met Broadway John C. “Jack” Wilson, business partner of Noel Coward, Alfred Lunt, and Lynn Fontanne. Wilson and Natalie were married in 1937 at his home in Fairfield, Connecticut.
“Princess Natalie Paley,” says Sotheby’s Frank Everett, “was undoubtedly one of the 20th Century’s most stylish women, as well as very close friend of Fulco di Verdura.” T&C can exclusively reveal that several pieces from her jewelry collection, including personal commissions created by Millicent Rogers and Verdura himself, will be up for auction at Sotheby’s on December 10 in New York.
“The Verdura pieces in this collection represent not only her fabulous mid-century style, but also their relationship as artist and patron,” says Everett of the December offerings, which include a diamond and emerald Maltese cross style brooch and an aquamarine and emerald large scale pin. “It is remarkable that any of her collection remains with her family, but especially pieces with such an important history in the world of jewelry design.” Read more about the jewelry collection of Princess Natalie Paley, and the upcoming auction on the Town & Country website HERE