British Crown Jewels
The regalia of Great Britain, now displayed at the Jewel House (opened in 1967) of the Tower of London (where they have been kept since the reign of Charles II, 1660-85, except during World War II when removed to Windsor Castle), including the following principal objects:
1. St Edward’s Crown
The British Crown that is reputed by tradition to have had its origin in the crown of Edward the Confessor, 1042-66, and possibly Alfred the Great, 871-901, but without any actual connection, as the Royal Regalia was destroyed by Cromwell, although it has been surmised that the circlet itself may have survived.
Its name and tradition survive in the crown made by Sir Robert Vyner for the coronation of Charles II in 1662 (originally set with paste and imitation pearls) and used (although reset for Queen Victoria) at every subsequent coronation, although not always for the actual crowning until George V in 1911 and always subsequently.It is in the form of a gold circlet bordered with silver pearls and set with twelve large gemstones outlined with diamond dusters, the circlet being heightened by four gold crosses formee alternating with four gold fleurs-de-lis, all set with gemstones; rising from the crosses are four jewelled arches, at the intersection of which rests a gold Monde upon which rises a gold and jewelled cross formee from which are suspended two silver drop-shaped pearls. The whole weighs nearly 4 lb (1.8 kg.), is ornamented with about 440 gemstones, and is lined with the ‘Cap of State’ (a purple velvet cap, the bottom of which is edged with white miniver fur). The crown is sometimes referred to as the ‘Crown of England’.
– Crown made for Queen Victoria, c. 1877;
– Imperial Crown of India, made for the Delhi Durbar, 1911;
– Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s Crown, made for the coronation in 1937 and including the Koh-i-Noor Diamond;
– Queen Mary of Modena Crown, called the Queen Consort’s Crown;
4. The Royal Sceptres. The two sceptres that are included among the British Crown Jewels .
a. The Sovereign’s Sceptre with the Cross is held in the Sovereign’s right hand during the coronation. It is surmounted by a diamond-encrusted Monde above which is a diamond-encrusted cross form set with a large emerald; the monde is formed by a superb round amethyst (set with gemstones) and below it is the great diamond known as ‘The Great Star of Africa’ (Cullinan I). The sceptre is 92 cm long, weighs 1.24 kg., and is set with over 300 gemstones.
b. The Sovereign’s Sceptre with the Dove is held in the Sovereign’s left hand during the coronation and signifies equity and mercy. It is a slender rod of gold, surmounted by a jewelled monde and a cross, upon the arms of which stands a white enamelled dove. It is 109 cm long and is set with 199 diamonds, 58 rubies, 10 emeralds, and 4 sapphires.
5. The Royal Orbs. The two orbs that are included among the British Crown Jewels and that symbolize kingly power and justice, as well as dominion of the Christian religion over the world. An orb was used in England first in 1053, and first at a coronation by Henry VI in 1191.
a. The King’s (Sovereign’s) Orb, a globe of gold encircled by a band (equator) edged with pearls and set with rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, joined by a band (meridian) arching across the top and surmounted by a large amethyst above which is a jewelled cross form. It was made for Charles II in 1661, but was reset several times until its use by Queen Victoria. It is considered perhaps the most sacred article in the Coronation regalia. It is placed in the left hand of the Sovereign during a part of the Coronation ceremony.b. The Queen’s Orb, a similar but smaller and lighter orb, made for Queen Mary II when she became Queen Regnant in 1689 with William III.
6. Armillas (armilla is a bracelet, usually one worn by royalty). Two pairs among the British Crown Jewels :
a. An armilla , of enamelled gold, made for the coronation of Charles II but not used,
b. Another armilla presented by the Commonwealth to Elizabeth II upon her coronation in 1953.
7. The Jewelled State Sword. The sword, with scabbard, is the most important one of the five ‘Swords of State’. The sword hilt and scabbard are of dull gold set with gemstones, those on the scabbard forming the national emblems of the j rose thistle, and shamrock. The blade is of engraved Damascus steel.
The sword, made for the coronation of George IV in 1820, is known as the ‘Sword of Offering’ and is used in the coronation ceremony.
a. the ‘Sovereign’s Ring’ or Coronation Ring made for William IV (1830) and used at the coronation of every subsequent Sovereign except Queen Victoria (see below); in the centre is a large sapphire encircled by diamonds on which are set five rubies in the form of the cross of St.George.
b. the ‘Queen Consort’s Ring’, made in 1830 for Queen Adelaide, wife of William IV; it is set with a ruby encircled by diamonds and has a band of small rubies encircling the hoop.
c. Queen Victoria’s Ring, similar to the ‘Sovereign’s Ring’ but smaller, and having engraved inside the hoop ‘Queen Victoria’s Coronation Ring 1838’.
Also we can say about Prince of Wales’s Investiture Coronet.
The coronet worn by Prince Charles at his investiture as Prince of Wales at Caernarvon Castle in 1969. It is made of gold by electroforming, was designed and executed by Louis Osman, and was the gift of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.
Although in modern style, it preserves the traditional symbols but in stylized form, being a band with four crosses form and four fleurs-de-lis, surmounted by a single arch topped by an engraved Monde and a cross formee; it has an ermine head-band. The only jewels are small, square-cut diamonds at the intersections and the arm-ends of the crosses, small emeralds on the fleurs-de-lis, and small diamonds on the monde. The earlier Prince of Wales’s Crown, kept in the Jewel House, London, was made for Frederick Louis, son of George II and father of George III, on his creation as Prince of Wales in 1729.
Coronet is a small or inferior type of crown, especially one worn by a person of high rank but lower than a sovereign, and usually made without arches.
In the United Kingdom, coronets are worn by peers and peeresses, the highest coronet being that of the Prince of Wales, which is the same as the Crown of England except that is has only one arch.
Next (without arches) are those of the sons, brothers and nephews of royal blood, and after them are circlets various adorned:
Duke, with 8 conventional strawberry leaves;
Marquess, with 4 strawberry leaves, alternating with 4 pearls;
Earl, with 8 pearled rays alternating with 8 strawberry leaves;
Viscount, with 16 pearls;
Baron, with 6 pearls.
The coronets of the wives of peers are facsimiles of reduced size. All the foregoing coronets are now worn only at a coronation, at the moment of the crowning of the sovereign. They are worn set on a ‘Cap of Estate’.