The sale will take place 23 years after the same items featured in a record-breaking auction of the Duchess's possessions in Geneva.
Twenty pieces of jewellery and ephemera will be sold at Sotheby's London auction house on November 30, and they went on display there yesterday. The collection tells the story of one of the 20th century's most sensational love affairs.
King Edward VIII’s affair with Wallis Simpson, a twice-married socialite from Pennsylvania, shook the British monarchy to the core. Precluded by constitution from marrying a divorcee who was not yet widowed, Edward surrendered the throne in 1936.
They married in 1937 as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Throughout their relationship, from courtship to the end of therir married life, the couple commisioned exquisite jewels from Cartier.
They include the vibrant flamingo brooch from 1940 encrusted with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, citrines and - the Duchess's particular penchant - sapphires.
It is expected to fetch in the region of £1 million, as is a highly articulated diamond, onyx and platinum bracelet fashioned in the form of a preying panther. That was inspired by Jeanne Toussaint, director of Cartier from 1933, who bore the sobriquet ‘the panther’ because of her fascination with big cats.
Also up for sale is a Cartier diamond bracelet that the Duchess wore for her wedding to the Duke. It bears nine charms, each a bejewelled cross inscribed with a momentous event from their lives. The bracelet is expected to fetch £350,000-£450,000.
There is also a gold cigarette case, which the Duchess gave to her husband as a wedding present. It bears a map marked with routes that the couple travelled.
Marking a shift from the delicate fashions of the preceding generations, the Duchess’s jewels are bold and representative of the ”new emergent woman of the time”, according to Alex Rhodes, senior jewellery specialist at Sotheby's.
The November sale is expected to fetch more than £3 million in total. All 20 pieces are being auctioned on behalf of a single anonymous collector, who purchased the jewels during the much larger Sotheby’s auction of 1987, held over the course of two days in Geneva.
The Geneva auction took place shortly after the Duchess died in Paris in 1986. Estimated to make £5 million, it shattered all predictions by fetching £31million at a star-studded event.
Mohamed Al Fayed was among the successful bidders, while Elizabeth Taylor paid more than £400,000 for the late Duchess’s plume design diamond brooch.
The latest auction of the Duchess’s jewels is likely to attract widespread interest.
Madonna, who is currently making a film about the Duchess, is said to have been among those to preview the jewels. They will be displayed in Hong Kong, Moscow, New York and Geneva before returning to London for the sale.
David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby's Jewellery in Europe and the Middle East, said: "It is an extraordinary honour to bring once again to sale these jewels worn by a woman who was a leader of fashion and the epitome of elegance and sophistication for her generation and beyond.
"The offering comprises not only beautifully preserved, incomparable examples of the genius of Cartier in collaboration with the Windsors, but also pieces whose inscriptions tell the story of perhaps the greatest love story of the 20th century."