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I saw some preview of a new documentary on Queen Elizabeth II and the Coronation. I had forgotten that there are actually 2 Crowns, one for the Coronation moment itself when the intended is actually Crown and then a second Crown which is used for all State occasions, including the rest of the Coronation Ceremony and events that follow.

There is also the State Diadem of 1820 made for King George IV to wear on his way to his coronation. He was one of the many sons of King George III and Queen Charlotte.  This diadem was then worn by his wife Queen Adelaide and then by Queen Victoria and now Queen Elizabeth wears it on several occasions like when she travels from Buckingham Palace to Parliament each year.

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The Crown of Saint Edward a solid gold crown is used at the moment of the Coronation itself and then put away until the next Coronation. Fairly heavy to wear on one’s head according to the Queen.

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St Edward’s Crown is the centrepiece of the Crown Jewels. Named after Edward the Confessor (1003-1066) it has been traditionally used to crown British monarchs at their Coronation since the 13th century.

The original crown was a holy relic kept at Westminster Abbey, Edward’s burial place, until the regalia were either sold or melted down after Parliament abolished the monarchy in 1649, during the English Civil War.

The present version of St Edward’s Crown was made for Charles II in 1661. It is solid gold, 30 centimetres (12 in) tall, weighs 2.23 kilograms (4.9 lb), and is decorated with 444 precious and semi-precious stones. The crown is similar in weight and overall appearance to the original, but its arches are Baroque.

After 1689, it was not used to crown a monarch for over 200 years. In 1911, the tradition was revived by George V and all subsequent monarchs have been crowned using St Edward’s Crown. A stylised image of this crown is used in Coats of Arms, like those of  Canada to symbolise the royal authority of Queen Elizabeth II.

The other Crown we see most often is the Imperial State Crown, it is worn after the Coronation Ceremony and at all State functions.

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Usually, the crown is taken to the Palace of Westminster under armed guard in its own carriage and placed in the Robing Room, where the Queen dons her robes of State and puts on the crown before giving her speech to Parliament.

Upon the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, a new state crown was made for Charles II by Sir Robert Vyner. About 10 versions of the crown have existed since the restoration. The one made for Queen Victoria in 1838 is the basis for today’s crown. Made by Rundell and Bridge in 1838 using old and new jewels, it had a crimson velvet cap with ermine border and a lining of white silk. It weighed 39.25 troy ounces, or just over 1.2 kilograms, and was decorated with 1,363 brilliant-cut, 1,273 rose-cut and 147 table-cut diamonds, 277 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 4 rubies, and the Black Prince’s Ruby

The gems in the crown were remounted for the coronation of George VI in 1937 by Garrard & Co. The crown was adjusted for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, with the head size reduced and the arches lowered by 25 mm (1 inch) to give it a more feminine appearance.

I also did not know that for the documentary, the producers were not allowed to photograph the crown from above, as it is considered disrespectful to God. The Crown is a religious sacred object and it is treated as such by the Sovereign and everyone around.  Only the Queen can actually put on the crown which she does by herself without anyone’s help. There is a lot of protocol surrounding this piece of jewellery,  do’s and don’t’s. Really fascinating when you think of it and how it all came about.

 

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