Elizabeth I's Chequers Ring
Here is one of my favourite objects. A ring owned by Queen Elizabeth I.
It's small and delicate and as well as being beautiful is of potentially massive significance.
Inside this ruby, diamond and pearl encrusted locket ring there are two miniature portraits. One is recognisable as Elizabeth herself. The other is widely believed to be that of her mother Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII.
Each miniature is only the size of a small fingernail but the style of hood worn by the other lady is recognisably in the French style worn by Anne Boleyn.
Another theory has been put forward that the second portrait could be that of Catherine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth and final wife who Elizabeth lived with for a time following Henry's death.
Elizabeth was close to Catherine Parr so it is not beyond reason that she may have a piece of jewellery to remind her of her stepmother. If this is the case and the ring depicts Catherine Parr it is merely a keepsake, albeit a rather nice one!
if it is of Anne, whom Elizabeth is not known to have ever spoken openly of at any point during her adult life, then this is a piece of jewellery with a significant story to tell!
Is it of Anne? Is this a ring kept by Elizabeth to remind her of her mother? Did she fantasise about her mother and what she was like? Despite only being 2 when her mother was killed, did she have some memories of the love Anne had shown her?
Maybe I'm a romantic, or maybe it's the mother in me, but I like to this so!
The ring is kept at Chequers, the country house of the British Prime Minister, hence the name. Unfortunately the ring is not on public display.
Sources: The Anne Boleyn Files and own research.
Images: All efforts have been made to find to whom I should attribute the photographs but despite them appearing on many websites none attribute the photographs. I therefore share them here in good faith and for the benefit of my readers for illustration purposes and to support the text.