The Legend of La Peregrina (La leyenda de la Peregrina)

The most legendary jewel in all of history.

The story begins two days after Richard Burton gives Elizabeth Taylor La Peregrina pearl. Taylor investigates said jewel and comes to find out about its legendary voyage throughout the lives of the world´s most emblematic characters of the last 500 years of history.

In 1579, a slave found the pearl in the depths of the Panamanian Pacific ocean… an extraordinary pearl that would end up in Philip II’s jewelry box just a couple of years later. Since then, the pearl has remained the center of power and attention.

Benito Molina, a leech salesman, is willing to sneak into the Spanish royal palace and do virtually anything for Ana of Austria, Philip II’s fourth wife. Thanks to Molina, we enter into one of the most powerful Royal Courts, of which we will be revealed some of its innermost secrets.

La Peregrina witnesses the moment in which Velázquez paints Las Meninas, the most emblematic painting of the Spanish Golden Age. Nicolasito Pertusato, the most famous dwarf of the Royal Court, poses for him. He tells us how La Peregrina arrives in Mariana of Austria´s (Philip IV´s wife) royal entourage. In addition, Nicolasito recounts all his attempts to make the queen the most glamorous of her time, despite her unfortunate physical appearance.

The jewel is passed from the Habsburgs and ascends to the throne with the Bourbons by the hand of Philip V. All the monarchic misfortunes are revealed through Claretta, the great castrato Farinelli´s faithful assistant, who saved La Peregrina from a great fire.

The smallpox epidemic threatens Europe in the second half of the 18th century. Maria Luisa of Parma, wife of the eventual King Charles IV, claimed to have the perfect antidote: La Peregrina. This is because of the healing properties that popular beliefs had attributed to it. So when her sister-in-law Mariana Victoria of Braganza, wife of infant Gabriel of Bourbon (son of Charles III), falls ill, he begs her to lend him La Peregrina in order to save his beloved wife.

Francisco de Goya, the royal court painter, is having sleepless nights after witnessing the executions of May the 3rd. The artist remembers his beloved Duchess of Alba, who died under strange circumstances, and how this made him resent the queen, Maria Luisa de Parma, who still owns La Peregrina and, according to rumors, was at fault for the Duchess’ death.

With the French invasion, Napoleon removes Ferdinand VII from the Spanish throne to place his older brother, Joseph Bonaparte, instead. Seeing that his throne was in danger, Joseph Bonaparte decided to send La Peregrina to France and appointed his aide-de-camp, Cristobal Chimbelli, to carry out the mission. After having lost his spot on the throne, Joseph Bonaparte moved to the United States and took La Peregrina with him. However, he soon moves to Italy, his soon-to-be resting place, and leaves the pearl to his nephew Louis Napoleon, which will eventually help him to become Napoleon III.

La Peregrina, which financed the ascension of Napoleon III, is now owned by Lady Abercorn, a close friend of Queen Victoria of England. She is so careless with it that she loses it various times in the Buckingham palace. From here, the adventures of two pearls are narrated: on the one hand, that of La Peregrina: and, on the other hand, that of La Pe-le-gri-na, a pearl almost as extraordinary as the first one. This second one ends up in Russia, at the Yusupov princes’ jewellers. Felix Yusupov, who was an avid cross-dresser, wore La Pelegrina in the most fatuous salons thinking that it was the original jewel. He would later become Rasputin’s murderer.

In 1969, Victoria Eugenia, the former queen of Spain reads news of the legendary Peregrina and how it is on sale in New York. This immediately draws her attention mostly since her husband, Alfonso XIII, had given her the alleged Peregrina as a gift. What she didn’t know was that the one she was given was the fake Pelegrina that Yusupov had once owned. Her husband, who gave her a jewel every time he cheated on her, has deceived her once again. Thus, Victoria Eugenia makes it her goal to get the authentic Peregrina pearl.

Back in America, two days after Richard Burton had given La Peregrina to Elizabeth Taylor, the actress speaks with her agent, who was desperate for her to get more attention from the media. He suggests that she should tell her life story in the form of a self-interview, showing the side of her the media never gets to see. Instead she comes up with the idea of researching the history of her incredible jewel and all their owners. As she starts her investigation, she realizes that La Peregrina was the jewel with the most interesting story to tell.


RELEVANT DATA: The Legend of La Peregrina (La leyenda de la Peregrina) tells the true story of the most valuable pearl in the world, which started as a gift for Philip II and ended up in Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry box. This novel has been named the great literary success of Christmas 2020, highly acclaimed by critics and readers alike.

In the story told by means of Elizabeth Taylor’s research, the characters narrate, in self-conclusive chapters, the story of a jewel that has been a witness to history and whose whereabouts are unknown today. Each part focuses on a character and an era.

The Legend of La Peregrina (La leyenda de la Peregrina) is composed of moments that could be taken from a chronicle of the Indies and others more similar to the comedy of entanglements, giving the possibility of fusing different styles and genres.

Carmen Posadas is considered one of the most outstanding authors of her generation and has been honored with the Planeta Award, the Apelles Mestres Award for children’s literature and the Culture Award of the Community of Madrid. Her works have been translated into more than twenty-five languages and has received critical and public acclaim.


What the critics have said:

“But if I consider it a jewel, it is because of Carmen’s decision to tell us this story with an intelligent, careful and accurate humor, which she achieves not only with the narration or the dialogues, but also with the point of view of the different characters that tell the story.” Goodreads.


AUDIOVISUAL POTENTIAL: TV Series, Miniseries, Film.

LANGUAGES AVAILABLE: Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Bulgarian.

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