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Mistress's earrings up for auction

It's thought the earrings could fetch up to £600,000 Credit: Wooley and Wallis Salerooms

A pair of pearl earrings once owned by a Romanian king's mistress are due to be auctioned in Salisbury today.

The earrings, from the early 20th century, were bought by King Carol II of Romania for Elena Lupescu. Carol, a great-grandson of Queen Victoria, was king of Romania for a decade from 1930.

When King Ferdinand died in 1927, his grandson Prince Michael succeeded him, rather than his son Carol II, of whom he disapproved. Twice-married Carol preferred to explore Europe with Elena, rather than attend to state duties. Known for his romantic misadventures, he was dubbed The Playboy King.

Having renounced the throne, Carol unexpectedly returned to Romania in 1930 and was proclaimed king. He was king for a turbulent decade until his growing unpopularity led to his abdication in 1940.

The earrings were bequeathed to the current owner’s family by Elena when she died in 1977. Thought to be of little value by their new owner, the earrings have been lying in a desk drawer ever since. They will be auctioned in Woolley and Wallis’s Jewellery sale which starts at 11am on 26th April.

Mistress with the Pearl Earrings

Elena Lupescu - royal mistress and owner of the pearl earrings Credit: Wooley and Wallis Salerooms

This is Elena Lupescu who received a pair of pearl earrings in 1930 from King Carol II of Romania. She was his mistress at the time but later became his wife. The jewels were found in a drawer during a house sale and are expected to reach £600,000 at auction in Salisbury tomorrow.

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Earrings owned by royal mistress up for auction

The pearl earrings set to fetch £600,000 at auction Credit: Wooley and Wallis Salerooms

Earrings once owned by the mistress of a Romanian king are due to fetch £600,000 at auction in Salisbury tomorrow. The marble-sized pearls were left to the auntie of or Elena Lupescu, the mistress of King Carol II. He later abdicated and married her.