At a medieval theme park in western France, there now sits an old bauble of great value.
It’s a 15th-century ring, gold-plated, with three engraved crosses and an inscription that translates to “Jesus Maria.” Its supposed owner was none other than that great French heroine, Joan of Arc, who stirringly took part in battles against the occupying armies of the English almost six centuries ago.
The ring was purchased by the group running Puy du Fou, the historical theme park, earlier this year at an auction for close to $425,000 — money acquired through an extensive local fundraising campaign and private donations. And it was unveiled with grand pomp and circumstance at a ceremony in the park last month. Multiple actresses were dressed up as Joan, playing her at different stages of a brief life that ended with her execution in 1431 in the hands of pro-English forces.
“It’s a little bit of France that has returned. The ring has come back to France and will stay here,” said Philippe de Villiers, the Puy de Fou’s founder and a prominent conservative politician, according to Agence France-Presse.
In the minds of those in attendance, the ring had been on the wrong side of the English Channel for far too long.