Originally featured in Points West magazine in Winter 2009
Pendant given to William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody by Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria gave this pendant, or watch fob, to William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody while his Wild West performed in England. Made of gold and surrounded by diamonds, the words, “HONI∙SOIT∙QUI∙MAL∙Y∙PENSE” translate roughly, “Evil to him who thinks evil of others.” The inscription on the reverse reads: “Presented to Buffalo Bill by Queen Victoria on June 25, 1892.”
The occasion was a command performance at Windsor Castle by Buffalo Bill. The original note from Her Majesty requested that only the Cossacks perform, but their part of the show was short, and Nate Salsbury, the Wild West’s business manager and Buffalo Bill’s partner, decided that it would be too costly to send only that group. The cast was divided, with some performing for the Queen, and the rest staying in London for their regular afternoon show. The Earl’s Court audience was fine with this arrangement once they learned that Buffalo Bill was performing at Windsor Castle by “Royal Command.”
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West purchased the pendant from the Irma Cody Garlow family along with other family items many years ago. We are fortunate that the pendant stayed in the Cody/Garlow family as many of William F. Cody’s treasures and mementos were either given away or lost over the years.