Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Bess. She was born into a pretty famous family. Her dad was a powerful guy and her mom? Well, women didn’t have much power in those days, outside of the one thing that had made them powerful for hundreds of generations. But let’s just say that powerful men could be fickle and a woman’s “power” was often found to be short-lived.
And that’s just what happened to Bess’ mom Anne. Turns out her father’s attention became focused on someone else and since this was a mere hundred years after the middle ages, Anne was arrested for several trumped-up charges and shortly thereafter, she was beheaded. We’re talking about Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I, of course.
Growing up Princess Elizabeth couldn’t have been easy. I mean, your dad had your mom killed. Then he basically has you deemed illegitimate. Doesn’t really sound like a happy childhood to me. She was just shy of three years old when her mother was executed, so she likely really never knew her or remembered her. But once she’s became Queen, she secretly kept her mom close to her for years.
One of her favorite pieces of jewelry tells us the tale. You see, she may have had the Crown Jewels at her beck and call, but it was rumored there were only two pieces of jewelry that she never removed. Her coronation ring (she thought of that as her “wedding” ring, as she was actually never married but instead felt she was committed to her people and her country) and her ruby, diamond and pearl locket ring.
This second ring, commonly referred to the Chequers Ring, held a secret. On the outside, it displayed her initial in Diamonds, surrounded Rubies and a Pearl. But on the inside, there was both her likeness and that of her deceased mother. It’s almost heartbreaking that she wore it every day, carrying her love quietly for her beloved mother wherever she went.
For more history about Anne, Elizabeth and Henry, you might want to check out these great reads: Good Queen Bess: The Story of Elizabeth I of England or The Life of Elizabeth I. Or for a full read on Elizabeth’s wardrobe, including her jewelry, Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d is an awesome resource.