Charles II Marriage Pendant
A rare 17th century gold heart-shaped pendant to celebrate the marriage of King Charles II and Catherine of Braganza in 1662. As was customary with royal marriages, this was no love match but a diplomatic alliance. Catherine’s father was John IV of Portugal. Her marriage to Charles in May 1662 brought England Catherine’s dowry of £500,000, valuable trading privileges and the port cities of Tangier and Bombay. In return, England pledged to help Portugal maintain its independence from Spain.
When Charles first met Catherine after her arrival in England he commented :
I arrived here yesterday about two in the afternoon, and as soon as I had shifted myself I went to my wife’s chamber. Her face is not so exact as to be called a beauty, though her eyes are excellent good, and not anything in her face that in the least degree can [shoque] one; on the contrary, she hath much agreeableness in her looks altogether as ever I saw; and if I have any skill in physiognomy, which I think I have, she must be as good a woman as ever was born.
The pendant is executed in enamels, on a cerise pink ground under rock crystal. The obverse depicts Charles with lace collar and wearing the blue sash of the Order of the Garter and Catherine with her hair wired in fashionable curls and wearing a pearl necklace. The obverse is inscribed on a speckled blue ground : Rex C ii and Regina C. It measures 1 and 1/4 inches by one inch. The pendant comes from the William Lindsay Gordon Collection, ex. Christies’ 19th June 1973, Lot 52. Very fine quality and immaculate.