Thursday, April 21, 2011

Who Took The Jewels?

The Irish Crown Jewels that is.

Royal History 101

With the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton 
just around the corner, I thought I would offer a bit of royal history that remains one of the biggest mysteries of the century.

The theft of the Irish Crown Jewels

History of the Jewels

King George III instituted the Order of St Patrick in 1783. Among the insignia of a Knight were a star and a badge; in the royal set of the insignia were rubies, emeralds and Brazilian diamonds.

The  Crown Jewels of Ireland were the jeweled insignia of the Most Illustrious Order of St. Patrick. They were worn by the sovereign at the installation of Knights of The Order, the Irish equivalent of the English Order of the Garter.

HM Elizabeth II  Order of the Garter

The jewels were discovered missing on July 6, 1907, four days before the state visit of King Edward VII  and Queen Alexandra.  The King was furious.

King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra

In 1903, the jewels were transferred to a safe, which was to be placed in the strongroom at Dublin Castle. The new safe was too large for the doorway to the strongroom, and Arthur Vicars, the Officer of Arms of Dublin Castle, instead stored the jewels in his office. Seven latch keys to the door of the Office of Arms were held by Vicars and his staff, and two keys to the safe were both in the custody of Vicars.

Sir Arthur Vicars

The jewels were last publicly seen on June 11, 1907 when Vicars showed the Crown Jewels to J.C. Hodgson, Librarian to the Duke of Northumberland.

Also missing from the safe were the Jewels, five Knights' collars and some diamonds belonging to Vicar's mother.

Knight's Collar of the Order of St Patrick


Suspects and A Royal Cover-Up

 The story gets deeper and deeper when in his testimony Vicars claims the jewels were taken by his second-in-command, Francis Shackleton, brother of Explorer Ernest Shackleton.
Shackleton was exonerated, no evidence was every found.
Vicars claimed he stole the jewels to help finance his brothers exhibitions.
Shackleton denied being in Ireland at the time, Vicars claims Shackleton had an accomplice.
He believes that Shackleton was protected by the Government.

The theft of the Irish Crown Jewels was probably an inside job.

While the identity of the mastermind behind the crime has not and may never be proven, the prime suspect remains Francis Shackleton, with Francis Bennett Goldney a strong suspect number two. 

The entire investigation looked fishy and haphazard.
It was rumoured that Shackleton was having an affair with the King's brother-in-law and the King wanted the matter shut down immediately to prevent a scandal.
The King wanted heads to roll, and the blame rolled in Vicars direction.

Ironically enough, Vicars lived his last days in a beautiful, sprawling English Manor.  
Wonder how he got the funds for such a huge mansion?? hmm

Arthur Vicars home after the jewel theft.  Kilmorna House

 The Cursed and Ill-Fated Jewels

The Crowned Jewels that were stolen were believed to be cursed.
The jewels beloved to Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III.
Parliament declared him insane in 1811  - after a turbulent reign over the American Revolution, Napoleon, a near assassin and a crazy family.  He died in 1820.

Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III

Arthur Vicars was assassinated by the IRA in 1921.  His assailants also burned his house to the ground.

Most of the pertinent documents from the trial have gone missing.

Shackleton's brother Ernest exploration was unsuccessful, he never reached the South Pole.

Under the employment of Vicars were Pierce Gun Mahony and Francis Bennett Goldney.  Mahony, nephew of Vicars, was found shot through the heart in 1914 what appears to have been a hunting accident, although suspicions of murder were voiced.  While Goldney died in France in 1918 as a result of a motoring accident.

Coincidence or Cover-Up?

Where In The World Are They??

At the time of their disappears the value was approximately £30,000, today's value would be in the millions.

The jewels were believed to have surfaced in 1927 and the anonymous owner tried to sell them to the Irish Government for a mere £3,000 .  They refused to purchase.  Did it have something to do with the on-coming depression?  Does this suggest the jewels were intact at that time?

There has been suggestions that the jewels found their way back to the British Royal Family.

To this day, the Irish Government still gets calls and anonymous tips about the jewels.  They investigate each and every one of them,  always coming to a dead end.

So, who has these jewels and where are they?  

Did it get passed on from generation to generation? 

Are they buried somewhere?

Have they been disassembled and sold into bits and pieces?

In conclusion,
 Someone, somewhere out there......has a really, really big secret.......



I will see if anyone else saw them at these parties

Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Fridays Unfolded at Stuff and Nonsense


  1. Oh my goodness...I guess when thieves come in the best of families, even in the BLU blooded ones! Very interesting to learn this, I enjoyed reading your post. I have a daughter named Alexandra and I just adore this hubby's name is Alejandro, or, Alexander in Eng., so that's who she's named after! Thank you for sharing and have a very blessed Easter.

  2. Very interesting. Glad you posted this. Real life soap opera/mystery!


  3. What an interesting post! I just love reading about the history of people/places/things! Thanks for sharing....and my bet is that those baby's were taken apart!

  4. It is so very nice to meet you! I have enjoyed your post so much. I enjoy all things British, Irish and Scottish. How fortunate for you that you have an idea of your lineage. I think mine had their land seized and managed to escape to America from Ireland. I could be wrong. Who knows? Your information is very interesting. Happy Easter, Tommye