Crown Jewels: The Three Symbolic Crowns Worn by the British Monarch

The British monarch has an extensive crown jewel collection, however, only three of these crowns are considered the symbols of the Sovereign's power in the Commonwealth. 

St. Edward's Crown

Also known as The Edwardian Crown, it is the most significant and sacred of all the Crowns worn by the British Sovereign. In fact the monarch only wore it once, and in just a few hours, during his/'her Coronation inside the Westminster Abbey. 

St. Edward's Crown

Used to crown the new British Sovereign, St. Edwardian Crown is the status symbol of the British monarchy, the centerpiece of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.  

The Queen on her Coronation Day

Named after St. Edward the Confessor, one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England before the invasion of William the Conqueror, the present version of the Edwardian Crown was created for King Charles II in 1661 made in solid gold and decorated with more than 400 precious stones.

However, after 1689, it was not used to crown a British monarch until King George V was crowned in 1911. Since then, all succeeding British monarchs (except his son Edward VIII who was never crowned) were crowned wearing the St. Edward's Crown. 

The crown is 22-carat gold with a circumference of 66 cm, 30 cm in height, and weighs 2.23 kg. It has four fleurs-de-lis and four crosses pattee, supporting two dipped arches topped by a monde and cross pattée, the arches and monde signifying an imperial crown. 

Its purple velvet cap is trimmed with ermine and set with 444 precious and semi-precious stones, including 345 rose-cut aquamarines, 37 white topazes, 27 tourmalines, 12 rubies, 7 amethyst, 6 sapphires, 2 jargoons, 1 garnet, 1 spinel and 1 carbuncle.

The Queen only wore St. Edward's Crown for a few hours during her Coronation Day in 1953. She switched to the State Imperial Crown when she left Westminster Abbey. 

In 2018, The Queen got reunited with the St. Edward's Crown during the filming of "The Coronation" documentary.

The Queen reunited with the St. Edward's Crown in 2018

"Is it still heavy?", the Queen asked before picking it up with one hand. "It's very solid, isn't it?", she said as she poked at the edges of the intricate design. 

St. Edward Crown is so precious and sacred, only three persons are allowed to touch it - the Archbishop of Canterbury, the monarch, and the Crown Jeweler.

It is widely used as a heraldic emblem of the United Kingdom and incorporated into badges, logos, insignia in the Commonwealth Realms to signify the royal authority of Queen Elizabeth II. The next person who could wear it is The Prince of Wales for his Coronation Day. When not in used, it is kept at the shrine 

The Imperial State Crown

This is the special crown worn by the British Sovereign after leaving Westminster Abbey following the coronation and during formal state occasions like the State Opening of Parliament.

The Imperial State Crown

The current version is the newest item in the Crown Regalia created in 1937 for the Queen's father, King George VI. 

The Imperial State Crown contains 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls and 4 rubies! Its precious stones include the Cullinan II diamond, St Edward's Sapphire, the Stuart Sapphire, and the Black Prince's Ruby.

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh during the Coronation Day, 1953

The Black Prince’s Ruby, set into the cross at the front of the crown is said to be owned by the King of Castile, Pedro the Cruel, who gave the stone to Edward, Prince of Wales, son of King Edward III, in 1367 as a reward for a victorious battle.

The Imperial State Crown is 31.5 cm (12.4 in) tall and weighs 1.06 kg (2.3 lb), and has four fleurs-de-lis and four crosses pattée, supporting two arches topped by a monde and cross pattée. 

Its purple velvet cap is trimmed with ermine. The frame is made of gold, silver and platinum, and decorated with 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, and 5 rubies.

When not in use, the Imperial State Crown is on public display in the Jewel House at the Tower of London.

The George IV State Diadem

Also known as The Diamond diadem, it is a state crown made in 1820 for King George IV by Jeweler, Rundell, Bridge & Rundell. It is traditionally worn by the British monarch during the procession to the State Openings of Parliament.

Queen Elizabeth II opted to wear the George IV State Diadem to the State Opening of Parliament in 2019 instead of the Imperial State Crown.

King George IV wore this diadem over his velvet cap during the procession to his coronation day at Westminster Abbey.

The Queen on her way to the State Opening of Parliament

The Diamond diadem consists of a diamond, gold, and silver frame measuring 7.5cm tall and 19 cm in diameter and decorated with 1,333 diamonds weighing a total of 320 carats, including a four-carat yellow diamond in the front cross pattee. 

The diadem has four bouquets of roses, thistles, and shamrocks, the floral symbols of England, Scotland, and Ireland respectively, alternating with four crosses pattee around the top of its base. 

British Queen Consorts - Queen Adelaide, Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, also wore this crown on their way to the coronation, Westminster Abbey. 

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