A heart-shaped pendant linked to Henry VIII was dug up on an English farm, pointing to a more romantic side to the Tudor king
An amateur metal detectorist found a gold necklace linked to Henry VIII and his first wife.
The locket is engraved with "H" and "K", the initials of the Tudor king and Katherine of Aragon.
A nonsensical engraving, "Tous Iors," could have been a pun between the king and his wife.
An intricate 500-year-old gold pendant, recently unearthed on an English farm, may provide evidence of King Henry VIII's romantic side.
The heart-shaped locket is engraved with "H" and "K", the initials of the Tudor king and his first wife Katherine of Aragon.
It's also decorated with enamelled motifs, including a Tudor rose and a pomegranate bush, which was the the badge of Katherine of Aragon.
It bears the inscription "Tous Iors." While these words are nonsensical, they could be a pun, a mix between the French word "Toujours," meaning "always" and the English "all yours."
Charlie Clarke, a 34-year-old amateur metal detectorist, said he had almost given up for the day when he came across the pendant next to a pond in Warwickshire farmland, in England's West Midlands.
"I'd had enough of digging, to be honest," he told The Financial Times. "But I had a few more swings and the noise was so high pitched, I knew it was going to be something worth digging up. Then I saw it was gold."
When Clarke discovered the 16th-Century locket, he told the Guardian that he screamed "like a little schoolgirl, to be honest. My voice went pretty high-pitched."
The object, found in 2019, made its way to the British Museum for authentication, where the curators were skeptical at first.
"The majority of people who saw this at the museum felt it was almost too good to be true," said Rachel King, curator for European Renaissance at the British Museum, according to the FT.
Further analysis, however, revealed the necklace, which includes a heavy chain made up of 75 interlocking links of 24-carat gold, was genuine.
It is not known if the pendant belonged to Henry VIII, Katherine, or a courtier. Experts believe that such objects may have been worn by the court to signify closeness to the royal couple.
Another hypothesis is that the locket was given as a prize during tournaments organized by the King, per The Guardian.
It is known that Henry VIII commissioned other metalwork to celebrate his marriage, including items featuring "H" and "K" and other royal emblems to adorn the clothing of more than 100 guests at a jousting competition in 1517, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
Henry VIII is famous for his six marriages. The first, to Katherine, was his longest, lasting from 1509 to 1533.
Frustrated by her apparent inability to provide him with a son, Henry had the marriage annulled.
Katherine was among the more fortunate of the monarch's wives, as many of the others notoriously met more brutal ends, from executions to death in childbirth.
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