Day in History: 130 years since the birth of Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone

Since Prince Philip became the oldest-ever British male royal yesterday, it is only appropriate we shall dedicate a post to a woman who was the longest-lived British Princess by blood.

Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone

Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone

At her death, Princess Alice was 97 years and 313 days old. Apart from being oldest British Princess by blood, she was also the last surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria. The Princess had lived through six reigns: born during the reign of her grandmother, Queen Victoria, she also saw five other Monarchs – Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI, and Elizabeth II – on the Throne.

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Famous Stones: Cullinan – The Word’s Largest Diamond Ever

On January 26, 1905 the world’s largest diamond was found at the Premier Mine in South Africa. The uncut Cullinan weighted an amazing 3,106.75 carats (0.62135 kg)!

Replica of the original, uncut Cullinan Diamond

Replica of the original, uncut Cullinan Diamond

Late in the afternoon of January 26, Frederick Wells was making a routine inspection of the Premier Mine – part of his job as superintendent of the mine. Suddenly, something caught his attention: rays of the setting sun reflected off something shiny about 18 feet below the surface of the earth. Wells stopped to investigate.

After about half an hour of digging work, he managed to free the object and, after washing the stone, felt a bit annoyed at all the wasted time. For what he found looked like a diamond but it was so huge that he felt there was no way it could be real: surely it was made of glass and the workers were playing a trick on him! Nevertheless, Wells was a professional and automatically sent the stone to be analysed – and was astounded to find out that it was indeed a gem-quality diamond. And not just any diamond – the largest ever discovered.

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