The rare locket is a miniature book with real pages and a variety of pictures of the Royal Family. This page shows King Edward VII when he was Prince of Wales and his wife Alexandra
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Metal detectorist unearths rare 120-year-old locket marking Edward VII’s coronation that contains photos of the royal family

  • The historic locket was specially made for the 1902 coronation of Edward VII
  • The book-shaped necklace has drawings of the new King and Queen Victoria  
  • Shaun Marshall, 41, found the locket after three hours of searching in Essex
  • He said it was ‘a smashing little 120-year-old piece of our history now recovered’ 

A metal detectorist has described his astonishment when he discovered a 120-year-old locket containing pictures of the Royal Family in a field in Chelmsford, Essex.

Despite the years the locket spent underground, the miniature photographs inside are in a remarkable condition.

The copper-alloy locket is in the shape of a book and has movable pages with six black and white photographs showing Queen Victoria, her son King Edward VII and his wife Alexandra.

On the front of the booklet is the inscription ‘Coronation 1902’ – suggesting the item was made to mark the coronation of King Edward VII, a year after the death of Queen Victoria.

The rare locket is a miniature book with real pages and a variety of pictures of the Royal Family. This page shows King Edward VII when he was Prince of Wales and his wife Alexandra

The rare locket is a miniature book with real pages and a variety of pictures of the Royal Family. This page shows King Edward VII when he was Prince of Wales and his wife Alexandra  

The locket was made to mark the coronation of Edward VII in 1902 after the death of Queen Victoria the previous year

The locket was made to mark the coronation of Edward VII in 1902 after the death of Queen Victoria the previous year 

Shaun Marshall, 41, found the locket after over three hours of searching with his metal detector

Shaun Marshall, 41, found the locket after over three hours of searching with his metal detector

Treasure hunter Shaun Marshall found the gem in a field in Chelmsford after three hours of searching and just when he was about to give up.

One set of pictures show Queen Victoria in her later years and Edward as a boy.

Another shows him as a prince with his wife, Alexandra of Denmark. The pair married when he was 21 and she was 18.

The final pair show the couple in crowns for the coronation. Edward became King when Queen Victoria died in January 1901 and chose to reign under the name of Edward instead of Albert.

His coronation was held at Westminster Abbey on August 9, 1902.

Shaun, 41, who works for the ambulance service, said: ‘After three hours I got a cracking signal and had a little poke around with my trowel.

‘I unearthed what looked like a parchment parcel – I nearly discarded it thinking it was just a sweet wrapper.

‘Inside was a small green and red enamel-fronted locket with a gold chain.

‘I had no idea what it was until I did a little research later after I had thawed out.

‘It seems in remarkably good condition, particularly the pictures – I was very surprised and absolutely delighted that it should still be in such fine condition.

‘I’m guessing because it was in a wax paper that helped preserve it.

‘I’m definitely going to keep it. It’s a truly smashing little 120-year-old piece of our history now recovered.’

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