diamond, not Dick


Hello Guys,

I have trouble understanding the meaning of the following fragment:

Impressed by his jousting, King Henry VIII addressed Richard Cromwell: "Formerly thou wast my Dick, but hereafter thou shalt be my diamond”, and thereupon dropped a diamond ring from his finger, which Sir Richard taking up, his majesty presented it to him, bidding him ever afterwards bear such a one in the fore gamb of the demy lion in his crest.

Does Dick refer to his name (Richard) or could it have other meanings (apart from the modern one I suppose everyone knows and I personally doubt the king would use in public).

I am at a loss here.
Thanks for any suggestions.

<Additional question has been given its own thread by moderator (Florentia52)>
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  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States

    Thomas Cromwell. The Untold Story of Henry VIII's most faithful servant,
    by Tracy Borman
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    As you note, "Dick" is a common nickname for Richard. In addition, in Tudor times "dick" meant "man, a companion, a fellow, an acquaintance" (the vulgar modern meaning would not come about until the 18th Century, although it derived from this other meaning.) The king is making a pun on his name and on the sense of "fellow".
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