|Locket with Hair of Charles I|
with insert, 1813
Gold, Enamel, Rubies, Diamonds
The Royal Collection
In 1813, when a new grave was being prepared for King George III’s sister, Augusta, Duchess of Brunswick, in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, the casket of Charles I was unearthed. George IV ordered that the casket be opened so that he might survey the remains (as one does). A lock of Charles I’s hair was cut from his long-dead corpse and encased in a red gold and glass case which was fitted into this locket.
Since 1813, the locket has been inscribed, “Hair of Charles the First Cut from his head April 1st 1813. Discovered on the Funeral of the Duchess of Brunswick and given to me by the Prince Regent” though it does not specify who “me” is. We do know that the locket at one point belonged to George IV and later to his daughter, Princess Charlotte. After that, the whereabouts of this piece are a little murky until it resurfaced in the private jewelry collection of Queen Victoria which was moved to Windsor Castle after her death in 1901. At least Charles’ hair and body were reunited after nearly a century—if only just nearby.