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The Art of Monarchy

A collaboration with BBC Radio 4 to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

British School, 17th century

Gold ring with a miniature of Charles I Miniature c. 1655; ring 17th c.

RCIN 422290

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In 1642 Queen Henrietta Maria rewarded those who had lent money to the loyalist cause with rings, lockets and slides bearing the royal cipher and portrait; the intention was that these tokens would be exchanged for honours or repayment once the troubles were over.  The enamelled skull on the reverse of this ring indicates that it was produced after the king’s death in 1649.  The image is derived from Van Dyck’s frontal portrait in armour and the king wears a falling collar and the riband of the Garter.  Many of the surviving memento mori rings bear the king’s portrait with an inscription such as ‘remember me’.  This ring was first recorded in the Royal Collection during the reign of King George V.