Heritage

Inside A Royal Treasure Hunt for Lost Jewels

India Hicks and her mother zigzagged across London this week in search of the missing pieces.
IMAGE GETTY IMAGES / TIM GRAHAM
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  • Lady Pamela Hicks, Prince Philip's 89-year-old cousin, was searching for her jewels this week in London, but she had forgotten which bank held the pieces.
  • Her daughter, designer India Hicks, recounted the story of the hunt on social media.

Imagine having so many jewels that you can't remember where you left them? That's exactly what happened to Prince Philip's cousin Lady Pamela Hicks this week. The whole ordeal, which featured a "bat cave," a drill, and the careful negotiation of a wheelchair through a revolving door, was documented on Lady Pamela's daughter India Hicks's Instagram and her blog on Tuesday.

"We were crisscrossing London in search of my mother’s jewels. She has not been robbed, it was just that she could not remember in which exact bank they had been left," begins the caption on Hicks's Instagram post.

At one institution, they uncovered Lady Pamela's "strange ornate headdress." Apparently, the piece is what one wears when you don't want to wear a tiara, but it wasn't what they were looking for, and so they soldiered on. Finally, at the third bank they visited, the treasure hunters recovered a leather case with the initials "EM" for Lady Pamela's mother, Edwina Mountbatten, from the bank's underground storage, which Hicks had colorfully nicknamed the "bat cave."

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We were crisscrossing London in search of my mother’s jewels. She has not been robbed, it was just that she could not remember in which exact bank they had been left. We went to the first bank – when they offered us cappuccinos and custard creams I thought something was up, they were apologetic “So sorry Lady Pamela but we don’t seem be holding anything more than this box” we opened the box. It was a strange ornate headdress “when on earth do you wear THAT?” I asked, apparently it was for when you did not want to wear your tiara. Tiara’s are heavy, require hairdressers and lots of insurance. Once traveling from England to Sweden for a grand ball my mother wore her tiara under a huge hat – in order to make certain she did not loose it. Traditionally tiaras also require you to be married to wear them. I will never get to wear my mother’s Tiara because I remain a sinful unmarried woman, but the Tiara got sold a few years ago anyway so that is the end of that. To read more about my mother searching through bank bat caves click the link in my profile...and always more action on my Insta Story.

A post shared by India Hicks (@indiahicksstyle) on

But even with the case in hand, the adventure wasn't over. Despite having the key, the case simply wouldn't open. "No amount of effort could get the key to open the case," wrote Hicks on her blog. And so a drill was used to force it.

Finally, "the lid opened and velvet cushions were removed to reveal staggering sparking gems," Hicks writes. Of the gems, her mother said, "Your grandmother certainly knew how to outshine everyone."


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Edwina Mountbatten in her wedding dress.

After recounting the jewelry saga, India Hicks, who is known for her eponymous lifestyle brand, which sells jewelry, accessories, and beauty products, lamented the fact that she will never wear her family's tiara. She chalks it up to a question of jewelry protocol.

"Traditionally tiaras also require you to be married to wear them," she wrote. "I will never get to wear my mother’s Tiara because I remain a sinful unmarried woman, but the Tiara got sold a few years ago anyway so that is the end of that."

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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Caroline Hallemann
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