7 Chic Accessories Once Owned by an American Royal

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In today’s era of online shopping, social media, and next-day delivery, it’s easy to imagine coveting the boots, handbag, or dress worn by Kate Middleton or Meghan Markle and purchasing it for yourself. But can you imagine acquiring the very item worn by your favorite duchess? Not quite as easy, which is why we were both intrigued and excited to see what items were on view from the estate of an American royal, Lee Radziwill, this week at Christie’s auction house in New York City. 

For those not familiar with the late fashion icon, Caroline Lee Radziwill (née Bouvier), more formally known as Princess Lee Radziwill, was an American socialite, PR executive, interior decorator, and the younger sister of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. A lifelong New Yorker, Princess Radziwill was given her title in 1959 when she married her second husband, Stanislaw Radziwill, a Polish prince. Although they divorced in 1974, Princess Radziwill went back to using her title after she divorced her third husband in 2001. A perennial feature in the society pages, one of Truman Capote’s storied "swans," and included on Vanity Fairs International Best Dressed Hall of Fame in 1996, Princess Radziwill was a worldly and beloved figure, and as close to American royalty as it gets. 

While Lee and her sister, Jackie, were both known for their exquisite taste in fashion, the majority of the estate available at auction includes furnishings and other décor, in line with Radziwill’s professional passion. That said, we sorted through every single item available and selected a handful of accessories that not only represent this icon’s signature style but are also shockingly within the realm of affordability for us commoners. Browse these pieces below, and see the entire estate on Christie’s website. If anything strikes your fancy, why not place a bid? The auction begins at 10 a.m. ET on October 17 online and at Christie’s HQ in New York City. 

Can you ever have too many pairs of sunglasses? The Roger Vivier pair pictured above is part of a three-piece lot which includes frames by Dolce & Gabbana and Giorgio Armani. 

Two more sunglasses are up for auction in this lot, which includes Gucci shades in two styles: faux tortoiseshell with a gold-tone logo, and blue with a silver interlacing GG logo. 

This elegant charm bracelet is inscribed "J.L.B. from C.L.B., July, 28, 1949," and was likely a gift from Lee to Jackie on the occasion of the future first lady's yearlong study abroad in France. 

This lot contains three colorful enamel bangles by Hermès made in 2010. 

This set of Chanel costume jewelry includes a single-strand faux-pearl necklace with a rhinestone hook and eye closure and a pair of blue glass, rhinestone, and gilt-metal ear clips. 

Each ring is a single line set with either pink spinel, red spinel, or green garnets, mounted in 18-karat gold. 

Designed as an oval cabochon amethyst surrounded by pavé-set circular-cut tsavorite garnets and mounted in 18-karat yellow gold, this Taffin ring is inscribed "Lee with love, Hamilton."

This book, published in 2000, is Princess Radziwill's recording of her favorite memories. From her first trip to Europe with sister Jackie to Christmas in Palm Beach with President Kennedy, Happy Times includes photos and items from Radziwill's archive, offering a very personal perspective on her very public life. 

Published in 2015, Lee shares even more of Radziwill's unique perspective as a witness to historical events, sharing anecdotes about her famous friends, from Capote or Nureyev, and remembering special events with her children in London and New York.