By Pamela Hegarty
Prince William honored his late mother, Princess Diana, by passing on to his fiancée, Kate Middleton, the stunning sapphire ring that Prince Charles had given Diana. To me, it is a reminder of another sapphire ring in Britain’s history, belonging to Saint Edward, and the undeniable attraction of gemstones.
In researching my thriller, The Seventh Stone, I was intrigued by the fascinating and storied histories of some of the world’s most famous gemstones. Edward, King of England from 1042 to 1066, also wore a now famous sapphire ring. According to legend, the generous and kind Edward, upon meeting a beggar while travelling, had no money to give the man. Instead, Edward gave the beggar his sapphire ring.
Years later, in Syria, two British pilgrims got lost in a storm. A man guided them to safety. He gave them a sapphire ring to return to King Edward. The man explained that he was Saint John the Evangelist, and he had disguised himself as a beggar when he met King Edward. He asked the pilgrims to return the ring to Edward, and tell him that the King would be rewarded for his generosity and piety in the kingdom of Heaven in six months time.
Six months after the pilgrims returned the ring, King Edward died of natural causes. Edward became a saint.
The sapphire from his ring is now in the Maltese Cross topping the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain.
Of course, that’s the short version of the story. Edward’s Sapphire also shares a legendary history with a powerful Biblical artifact. But to learn that chapter in the story of Edward’s Sapphire, you’ll have to read The Seventh Stone.