Although there have been a few attempts to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower, none of them have succeeded. But the name of one of the thieves has remained in the British history. He was Thomas Blood.
On the 9th May, 1660, Thomas Blood, dressed as a priest, came to the Tower. He came with three well-dressed young men.
Thomas Blood had already been to the Tower a few days earlier. He was with a woman whom he introduced as his ‘wife’. When they were walking round the Tower, the ‘wife’ pretended to feel unwell and fainted. Talbert Edwards, who was Master of the Jewel House and lived in the Jewel House with his family, took the woman upstairs to his family’s rooms. He also asked his wife to help the fainted lady. In an hour or so the lady felt better and left the Tower with her ‘husband’.
On the second visit, Thomas Blood, again dressed as a priest, brought a present for Edwards' wife for her help and attention to his ‘wife’. He gained the confidence of the Master of the Jewel House, Talbot Edwards, and asked him to show the Crown Jewels to his friends. Talbot Edwards agreed and took them to the room where the Crown Jewels were kept. Suddenly Blood took out a hammer from under his priest’s dress and struck the Master on the head. Talbert Edwards fell down and fainted. Thomas Blood took the king's crown and made it flat with the hammer in order to put the crown into a large pocket of his priest dress. The other three men took other royal jewels and hid them in their pockets.
By chance, Talbert Edwards’ son, Wythe, arrived at the Tower earlier than expected. He found his father lying unconscious and bleeding. Wythe raised the alarm. Though Thomas Blood and his gang had left the jewel room, they were caught when they were getting out of the Tower. The broken crown and the jewels were found with them.
A report was immediately sent to the king, and Charles II sent for Thomas Blood. The king wanted to talk to the thief who had done such a wicked crime. The end of the story is unbelievable. Thomas Blood was not punished. Moreover, Blood was awarded a pension of £500 a year. At the same time the Master of the Jewel House Talbot Edwards was dismissed for his carelessness. Later, he died in misery.
Since Thomas Blood's attempt in 1600 up to the present date, there have been no attempts to steal the jewels. Nowadays the priceless collection is open for the public to view and the Crown Jewels are considered to be the most well-guarded treasures in the world. They are kept in the Tower and are guarded by the Yeomen Warders, commonly known as the Beefeaters.
*the Crown Jewels – драгоценности из королевской казны