- An authentic strand of beard hair from Charles I (1600-1649)
- Removed from Charles' body following its exhumation in 1813
King Charles I (1600-1649) took to the English throne in 1625. An unpopular monarch with a tyrannical bent, he soon turned the powerful institutions of government against himself. His marriage to a Roman Catholic (Henrietta Maria) was another black mark in a Protestant kingdom.
In 1642 the Parliaments of England and Scotland declared war on the king, under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell. The English Civil War raged for four years, ending in a Royalist defeat. Charles I surrendered at Newark-on-Trent in May 1646 and was beheaded the following year.
Charles I occupies a key position in English history as the first (and last) monarch to be tried of treason and beheaded.
Following his execution in London, Charles I’s head was sewn back on to his body. He was buried at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.
Over time, the location of the king’s tomb was forgotten. It was only rediscovered in 1813, during renovation works to the chapel. Sir Henry Halford, then physician to King George III, carried out an exhumation of the remains that year.
It was during this process that Halford clipped two locks from Charles' body. Your strand comes from these two locks.
Halford wrote at the time: “The pointed beard, so characteristic of the period of the reign of King Charles, was perfect”.
The hair is believed to originate from the Meyrick Collection, owned by the renowned scholar Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick (1783 – 1848) who assembled one of England’s finest private collections of antiquities, arms and armour.
Meyrick was knighted in 1832 for helping to reorganise the Royal collections at the Tower of London and Windsor Castle, and his own collection was exhibited at the V&A in London, before many items were sold to other collectors after his death.
It's interesting to note that in 1814, both Halford and Meyrick were listed as fellow members of the Society of Antiquaries of London. They would surely have known each other.
This approx. ½ inch strand of King Charles I's hair is presented on a display card inside a 7" x 7" frame, ready to hang or stand.
Each display is custom-made to order. Due to the nature of the product, hair strands may look slightly different to those pictured.
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