On May 6, 2023, the coronation ceremony of British King Charles was conducted at Westminster Abbey in London.
A total of three crowns graced this coronation ceremony: St. Edward’s Crown, the Imperial Crown, and Queen Mary’s Crown. The most captivating among them undoubtedly was the Imperial Crown adorning Charles III, as it boasted the exquisite “Cullinan 2” diamond, ensconced at its forefront (an unrivaled gem, hewn from the “Star of Africa,” the largest diamond ever discovered, which was meticulously crafted into 9 grand diamonds and 96 smaller ones; the most eminent of them being designated as “Cullinan No. 1” and mounted atop the British monarch’s scepter, while “Cullinan No. 2” was set within the Imperial Crown). Atop “Cullinan No. 2,” rested a mammoth, irregular red gemstone. This particular gemstone bears a remarkable past and is renowned as the “Black Prince’s Ruby.” Legend has it that it carries an ominous significance, foreboding the destiny of English kings… The ruby…
… The “Black Prince” derived its appellation from…
In the 14th century, Granada flourished as a prosperous realm. King Mohammed possessed innumerable precious jewels, including a unique, egg-sized, irregular ruby, weighing a staggering 170 carats, which had enraptured countless individuals. Covetousness led to his downfall.
In 1333, Muhammad’s brother-in-law, Abu Said, orchestrated a palace coup in his insatiable quest for the gem and the throne, thereby deposing Muhammad from power. To safeguard his life, Muhammad was compelled to flee with his family.
Many years later, Muhammad’s thirst for retribution remained unquenched, prompting him to seek assistance from King Pedro I of Castile in Spain. This proposition suited Pedro I splendidly, for he had long coveted Muhammad’s domain and jewels. Consequently, in 1365, Pedro I readily consented to dispatch troops, swiftly vanquishing Abu Said, and orchestrating his demise during a grand banquet.
Thus, all the treasures Abu Said had seized for himself, including the ruby, fell into Pedro I’s possession. Pedro I regarded this ruby as a sacred artifact and resolved to enshrine it as a national treasure.
However, when Pedro I presented the ruby to an elder for adoration, he received astonishing tidings regarding the gem’s extraordinary power: if bestowed as a gift, it would bestow good fortune upon the recipient; however, if plundered, it would afflict a curse upon the possessor. Pedro I, disdaining these assertions, dismissed them entirely.
Soon, however, Pedro I’s throne faced jeopardy. His half-brothers united forces with France, launching an assault on the Kingdom of Castile. Plunged into a predicament, with his forces outnumbered, Pedro I sought aid from Britain, France’s archenemy at the time.
Fourteenth-century Europe abounded with tales of chivalry, hence the male members of the British royal family took great pride in their ability to conquer and expand territories. Edward, the eldest son of King Edward III (both the son and grandson of Edward III were named Edward), possessed exceptional valor and was renowned as the “Black Prince.” It was this “Black Prince” whom King Pedro I beseeched. In return, Pedro I pledged a substantial sum to finance Britain’s expeditionary endeavors, as long as the “Black Prince” assisted him in vanquishing the enemy.
Thus, in 1366, the 36-year-old “Black Prince” led his troops to Spain. After several battles, he effortlessly emerged triumphant.
Unexpectedly, once the crisis had subsided, Pedro I claimed to be unable to furnish the promised expeditionary funds. Prior to this, the “Black Prince” had become aware of the colossal ruby, and his fury compelled Pedro I to relinquish the gem as payment for the debt owed. With no alternative, Pedro I surrendered the ruby to the “Black Prince.” Since then, this ruby has been christened the “Black Prince’s Ruby.”
Curiously, ever since the “Black Prince” possessed the ruby, he appeared to be shielded by divine power, exhibiting enhanced heroism and prowess in combat, rendering him invincible. At the Battle of Poitiers, he not only routed the French army but also captured King John II of France. The French of that era believed that the “Black Prince,” adorned with rubies, embodied the god of war, instilling fear in their hearts at the mere mention of his name.
However, just as tidings of triumph were spreading, a calamity befell the “Black Prince.”
In 1367, the army of the “Black Prince,” stationed in Spain, was struck by a severe contagious ailment. Rumors abounded within the ranks that “one in every five Englishmen would never return home.” The “Black Prince,”despite his invincibility on the battlefield, was not spared from the ravages of the disease. He fell gravely ill and was forced to return to England in a weakened state.
The illness that plagued the “Black Prince” was likely dysentery, a common and deadly disease during that time. The unsanitary conditions of medieval warfare and the lack of proper medical treatments made it difficult to combat such illnesses.
Upon his return to England, the “Black Prince’s” health continued to deteriorate. He suffered from chronic pain, believed to be caused by a kidney condition. The once mighty warrior was reduced to a shadow of his former self.
In 1376, at the age of 45, the “Black Prince” passed away. His death marked the end of an era and left a void in the hearts of the English people. He was mourned as a national hero, and his ruby, the “Black Prince’s Ruby,” became a symbol of his valor and the power it bestowed upon him in battle.
The ruby remained in the possession of the English royal family and was passed down through generations. It became one of the most prized jewels in the British Crown Jewels and was eventually set into the Imperial Crown, worn by successive British monarchs during their coronation ceremonies.
The superstitions surrounding the “Black Prince’s Ruby” and its supposed curse have persisted throughout history. It is said that the curse brings misfortune to any who possess it unlawfully or attempt to steal it. However, many view these beliefs as mere legends and folklore, attributing the misfortunes of those who possessed the ruby to historical circumstances rather than supernatural powers.
Today, the “Black Prince’s Ruby” remains an integral part of the British Crown Jewels and is displayed for public viewing in the Jewel House at the Tower of London. It continues to captivate visitors with its rich history and the tales of valor and tragedy associated with it.
After the death of Henry V, Britain suffered successive defeats in the war. In 1485, when his successor Richard III wore the “Black Prince’s Ruby” and faced the French army at the Battle of Bosworth, the miracle did not happen again and he died on the battlefield. At this point, Britain’s fruitful achievements in the era of Henry V were completely lost.
After that, the “Black Prince’s Ruby” passed through the hands of several British kings, but no king could show ambition and bravery like the “Black Prince”.
When Elizabeth I arrived, the Queen kept the “Black Prince’s Ruby” in her room and played with it every night. In 1603, Elizabeth I, who failed to give birth to an heir for the royal family, passed away mysteriously. Some people say that she died of cosmetic poisoning, while others say that the day before her death, the “Black Prince’s Ruby” emitted a faint light, and it was this mysterious light that killed her.
The throne passed to James I, who loved the “Black Prince’s Ruby” so much that he set it in his crown. This is the first time that the “Black Prince’s Ruby” has been used in a crown. Previously it was mostly set in helmets.
In 1625, the unpopular James I passed the throne to his son Charles I. Charles I was less interested in governing the country and more interested in painting and collecting art. In 1642, Charles I and Parliament had a disagreement over taxation, and the Puritan Cromwell used this to provoke a civil war. Charles I was defeated and fled, and was guillotined in 1649, becoming the first king to be beheaded in British history.
At this point, the British believed that the “Black Prince’s Ruby” would only bring good luck to courageous kings, while those who did not deserve it would have a bad end.
The historical significance far exceeds the actual value.
After the execution of Charles I, the royal treasures were also in danger. They were either broken down and burned or sold by the federal government. Fortunately, Charles I did not put the crown with the “Black Prince’s Ruby” together with other jewelry, so the ruby was not destroyed, but it could not escape the fate of being scattered everywhere.
In 1653, the federal government quietly renamed the “Black Prince’s Ruby” to the “Great Red Rose Ruby” and prepared to sell it for 15 pounds. Mansell, a staff member at the auction, noticed something was wrong and said to his colleague Sheila: “Isn’t this the legendary ‘Black Prince’s Ruby’? How could a priceless treasure that represents royal power be marked only 15 pounds?” Sheila took the ruby and looked at it over and over
. Look, he said: “That idiot Charles I has been executed. Where does the royal power come from? According to me, 15 pounds is too high. I will change it to 4 pounds.” Mansell stared at Sheila with his eyes wide open
. The price changed from “15” to “4”. In fact, Mansell was a staunch royalist and full of expectations for the restoration of the royal family. However, Cromwell was too powerful at this time and would be killed if he showed any dissatisfaction with the federal government.
In order to prevent the “Black Prince’s Ruby” from falling into the hands of others, Mansell ran around before the auction and finally bought this national treasure. In the following years, the “Black Prince’s Ruby” was kept in his safe hands.
In 1658, Cromwell died of illness. With the collusion of the bourgeoisie, the new aristocracy and the feudal forces, Charles II returned to London in May 1660 and sat on the throne of the king. Mansell finally had the opportunity to return the “Black Prince’s Ruby” to the royal family.
On the day of the treasure presentation, Mansell told Charles II a strange thing that happened to him a month ago:
That night, Mansell dreamed of a “Black Prince” wearing black armor and a black helmet holding a long sword. The sword came to him and said to him with great force: “The ruby is a sacred object. It will definitely protect my descendants from returning to the throne.” Mansell woke up from his dream and found that he was holding the “Black Prince Ruby” in his hand. “.
No one knew how true or false Mansell’s words were, but Charles II was convinced that he could ascend to the throne because he was summoned by the “Black Prince Ruby”, and no one could shake his status from then on. In 1661, in order to warn the world, he ordered Cromwell’s body to be exhumed and hanged.
Soon, Charles II had the lost “Black Prince’s Ruby” set in the Imperial Crown, which could only be used at coronations and opening ceremonies of the House of Lords, to highlight its noble and sacred status.
However, the more legendary it is, the more people will remember it. In 1665, the “Black Prince’s Ruby” was almost stolen. The person who had the idea for it was the famous British conspirator Colonel Brand.
At that time, the royal jewels were stored in the basement of the Tower of London, and the caretaker was Talbot, a 77-year-old veteran. In order to steal the “Black Prince’s Ruby”, Brand disguised himself as a priest and tried his best to become friends with Talbot. In the spring, an opportunity came. Brand went to the Tower of London to find Talbot, knocked him unconscious while he was not paying attention, and then stole the key and opened the door to the basement.
When Brand walked into the treasure room, he was overjoyed to see the jewelry everywhere. He wanted to take every piece away, so he simply smashed the crown flat, cut off the scepter, and packed them all. However, just as Brand was about to escape, Talbot’s son came to deliver food to his father. When he noticed something was wrong, he alertly sounded the alarm and tried his best to stop the theft.
The crime of stealing the royal jewels was a heinous one, but Brand was eloquent. He confessed the crime to Charles II and told him about his adventures: “I was almost killed by Cromwell, who coerced my wife and children. , let me assassinate you. However, you are so handsome and majestic, how could I dare to be disrespectful to you. Therefore, I had to abandon my wife and children, and escaped from Cromwell’s clutches alone. I knew that I had sinned deeply and really did not deserve to be punished. Forgive…”
Charles II was moved by Brand’s sharp tongue. Back then, he was on the run and had many adventures, so he always had empathy for people with an adventurous spirit. What’s more, Brand complimented him so much, so Charles II asked: “If I release you and give you a new life, what will you choose to do next?” Brand replied without hesitation: “I I will always be devoted to you, Your Majesty!”
In this way, Brand not only successfully persuaded Charles II to exempt himself from his sentence, but also allowed him to buy a house and land for himself in Ireland. Regardless of whether Richard II is ridiculous or not, the “Black Prince’s Ruby” finally escaped disaster.
Although Brand escaped the guilt, he did not escape the curse of the “Black Prince’s Ruby”. In 1668, 59-year-old Brand suffered from a disease that was unbearable for ordinary people. His body was itchy and unbearable. If he scratched lightly, the skin would ulcerate and bleed and would not heal. In this way, he was tortured by the disease for a full year before passing away in pain.
Even though Brand got this ending, the British people did not let him go. They dug up his body and wrote this sentence on his tombstone: “This audacious man committed every crime known to England.” Time flies to more than a hundred years
later, in 1841, “The Black Prince” “Ruby” experienced its last disaster. That day, the royal jewelry collection room caught fire for no apparent reason. Inspector Pierce risked his life by using a crowbar to open the iron fence of the collection room. When he got into the collection room, the first thing he saw was the Imperial Crown. The “Black Prince’s Ruby” on the crown was particularly eye-catching under the reflection of the flames. He rescued the crown first without hesitation.
This experience added a touch of mystery to the “Black Prince’s Ruby”. The British royal family felt that it was an extraordinary thing and cherished it extremely. In 1937, the “Black Prince Ruby” was re-created and became the most important jewelry at the coronation of George VI. It was later passed to Elizabeth II.
In the early 1990s, experts believed after research that the “Black Prince Ruby” was not a precious ruby, but an ordinary spinel, and it had no magical power or magic.
Although it is not rare or precious, the “Black Prince’s Ruby” has witnessed the rise and fall of Britain for hundreds of years and participated in the legendary story full of destiny of the British royal family. Its historical significance has long been greater than its actual value. It can be placed in the front and center of the imperial crown alongside “Cullinan 2”. It can only be said that it is well-deserved!