French historical theme park Le Puy du Fou bought the 15th-century gold-plated silver ring at auction in London in February for £300,000 but was told after it had arrived in France that it had not obtained the necessary export licence for a historical artefact. . . .
“The request made us laugh,” he told the Guardian. “We wrote to the Queen asking her if she could help sort things out quickly. Clearly Buckingham Palace spoke in the right person’s ear because we then heard we could keep the ring.” . . .
It stated the ring had passed from Cardinal Henry Beaufort, who died in 1447, who was present at the trial and execution of Joan of Arc in 1431. She is believed to have given him the ring on the eve of her execution, though there is no official documentation of its provenance. From Beaufort it went to the Duke of Portland’s family, to painter Augustus John. It was sold by Sotheby’s at auction at 1947, ending up as the “property of an Essex gentleman”.
After six centuries in English hands, the French were ecstatic to have the ring back, which had sold for many times more than its estimated £10,000 value.
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