Kevin Duckett found the gold figurine – thought to be lost for over 400 years – while randomly hunting for treasure using his metal detector
An amateur treasure hunter found the centrepiece of Henry VIII’s lost crown that has been missing for 400 years, reports The Sun.
Kevin Duckett, 49, was out with his metal detector and dug up the gold figurine from under a tree in a field near Market Harborough in Northamptonshire, ending a mystery spanning more than 400 years.
The two-and-a-half inch-wide piece, one of five on the Tudor crown, is now at the British Museum and could be worth £2million (Tk23 crore).
“At first I wondered if it was a crumpled foil dish from a 1970s Mr Kipling product, or even a gold milk bottle top,” Kevin told The Sun.
“It was lodged in the side of a hole just a few inches down. I carefully removed it and knew by its colour and weight that it was solid gold.”
Historians have feared the jewel was lost forever when Oliver Cromwell ordered the crown to be melted down and sold as coins after he abolished the monarchy in 1649 and beheaded Charles I.
The 344 precious stones encrusted on the crown, valued by the then parliament at £1,100, were sold individually.
Lucy Worsley, chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces, said: “It’s great news that after centuries of subterranean slumber this little golden figure has been revealed once more.”
Kevin said: “I’d seen the replica on YouTube and the tiny figures on the fleurs-de-lys but I couldn’t be sure. I headed to the palace to find out … I’ll never forget the sheer excitement as I got closer to the Grand Hall where the replica sat in all its glory. I entered the room and my figurine’s identical twin was staring right at me.”
If the British Museum verifies the jewel's authenticity Duckett will be forced to sell it to them at a price set by an independent board.
Its five fleurs-de-lys — the decorative lily linked to royalty — were originally adorned with three figures of Christ, one of St George and one of the Virgin and Child.
Henry VIII removed the figures of Christ and replaced them with three saint kings of England: St Edmund, Edward the Confessor and Henry VI.
He wore the crown at his 1509 coronation and when he married Anne of Cleves, the fourth of his six wives, in 1540.
The headpiece was later used at the coronations of his children, Edward, Mary and Elizabeth, and then of James I and Charles I.
The infamous Henry VIII
Henry VIII (June 28, 1491 – January 28, 1547) was the domineering King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547.
He infamously had six wives, two of whom he beheaded.
He broke with the Catholic Church in Rome over his efforts to have his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, annulled so he could marry Anne Boleyn, who did become his second wife – all for a male heir.
The move – known as the Reformation – established him as the supreme head of the Church of England and saw him ex-communicated by the Pope in Rome.
His subsequent dissolution of Britain's convents and monasteries changes the course of the country's cultural history.
Domestically, he was at times tyrannical – using charges of tyranny and heresy to stamp down on those he considered to be dissenters.
He also beheaded his second wife Anne Boleyn and his fifth wife Catherine Howard.