The French police recovered the 16th-century gold casket containing the heart of Duchess Anne, a week after crooks stole it from the Thomas-Dobrée Museum in the Western French city of Nantes.
Considered a masterwork, the 6-inch solid-gold case, topped by a crown with nine lily-shaped royal motifs, was on display at the Thomas-Dobrée Museum for over 130 years.
The police arrested two men in their early twenties and charged them with “theft of cultural assets” and “association with criminals”.
However, they both denied involvement.
Police officials found the stolen reliquary buried in a place close to the city of Saint Nazaire. Pierre Sennès, the Nantes prosecutor, confirmed that the priceless gold case is in good shape.
This is the second time the gold case got into the wrong hands. The first was during the turmoil that followed the French Revolution in 1789.
Philippe Grosvalet, president of the Loire-Atlantique Department, which owns the Thomas-Dobrée Museum, described the thievery as distressing.
The Gold Casket Belonged To One Of The Most Celebrated Heroins Of Brittany
Anne of Brittany was the Duchess of Brittany from 1488 until her death in 1514.
Anne’s life, though short, was still a busy one. She became the Duchess of Brittany at 11, when her father, Francis II, the Duke of Brittany, died in 1488.
Anne’s wealth and charisma made her the most sought-after woman in France. In 1490, she married the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I.
The marriage triggered a war between Brittany and the King of France, Charles VIII, who wanted to dominate the neighbouring regions.
Charles VIII attacked Brittany and defeated Anne’s army. He forced her to marry him. In 1492, Pope Innocent VIII approved the wedlock and annulled Anne’s marriage to Maximilian I.