Monday, June 18, 2012

The Stuart Sapphire (Part 2)

This is a Stuart Ring sporting Charles II's royal cypher
Photo Source: The Hairpin
by Angela Magnotti Andrews

After Oliver Cromwell’s death in 1648, two years of anarchy presided over the British Isles until Parliament reestablished its rule. Their first order of business was to invite Charles II to return from his exile in France to reign as King. The Stuarts were back on the throne, and Charles II had the Stuart Sapphire mounted into his crown.

In 1685, Charles II’s death left the throne open for his brother, James II. It is unclear exactly what James II did with the sapphire, but it was removed from the crown and secreted away somewhere for a few years.

Despite his conversion to Roman Catholocism (which caused him to lose his prior title as Lord High Admiral), James II somehow managed to hold the Crown for three years before his position was finally recalled by Parliament. He departed for France in 1688 with the Stuart Sapphire in tow, quite possibly hidden in one of his pockets.

Upon his death in 1701, the gem passed to his son, Charles Edward, who in turn gave it to his son, Henry Benedict Stuart, the Cardinal of York. The Stuart reign ended with the death of Queen Anne in 1714, and the Hanovers took the throne of England with the ascension of George I.
1. Royal Collection, The. "The Imperial State Crown." Accessed June 12, 2012.
2. Famous Diamonds. "The Stuart Sapphire." Accessed June 12, 2012.
3. History on the Net. "The Stuart Monarchs-1603-1714." Accessed June 12, 2012.
4. Younghusband, George John. The Jewel House. London: Herbert Jenkins Limited, 1921.
5. Jones, C. Rachel. The Princess Charlotte of Wales. London: Wyman & Sons, 1885.
6. Wikipedia. "House of Hanover." Accessed June 12, 2012.
7. Wikipedia. "Jacobite succession." Accessed June 12, 2012.
8. Wikipedia. "George IV of the United Kingdom." Accessed June 12, 2012.
9. Wikipedia. "Henry Benedict Stuart." Accessed June 12, 2012.

*Clip art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

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