Copyright © 2007 by"Jim McCulloch"
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Crown Jewels and Regalia of the United Kindom's Royalty
The Crown Jewels are comprised of the following.
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Contrary to popular belief the currents Crown Jewels are not the original ones from the 11th Century.
These were made as late as the 17th Century, some of them specifically for the Coronation of Charles II. This was the period of the restoration of the Monarchy.
The original Crown Jewels met with an inglorious end at the start of the Civil War, when in 1649 Oliver Cromwell had them all melted down and the Jewels sold off to remove all symbols of the Monarchy.
Saint Edwards Crown.
The centrepiece of the Crown Jewels is named after Edward the Confessor
This Crown is only used in Coronations and is placed on the monarch's head at the moment of crowning.
It was set in gold and has over 400 precious stones set into it. The mixture of precious stones is amethysts, garnets, peridots, rubies, sapphires, topazes, tourmalines and zircons.
This crown was completed in 1661 and is often refered to as the original, mainly because it is the same structure and weight as that of the original.
The Sovereigns Orb and The Sword of Offering
The Sovereign’s Orb and the Sword of Offering are used in the Investiture section of the coronation ceremony.
The Sword (from 1820 is presented to the new monarch The Sword is then fastened around the King’s waist (Queens don’t wear it) before it is offered up at the altar.
The Gold Sovereign’s Orb from 1661, containing many original gemstones, symbolises the Christian world with its cross mounted on a globe. As can be seen above the Orb is placed in the Monarchs Left Hand and the Sword in her right, before being placed on the alter.
The Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross
The sceptre is made up of a gold rod, in three sections, with enamelled collars at the joints, it is surmounted by an enamelled heart-shaped structure, which holds a huge drop-shaped diamond, Cullinan I, or the Star of Africa, weighing 530.2 carats. This structure is surmounted by enamelled brackets mounted with step-cut emeralds, and by a faceted amethyst monde, set with table and rose-cut diamonds, rubies, spinels and emeralds, with a cross above set with further diamonds, with a table-cut diamond on the front, and an emerald on the reverse. Beneath the Cullinan diamond are further enamelled brackets, representing a crown, mounted with rubies and diamonds. The pommel of the sceptre is enamelled and mounted with rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds
The Sceptre is received in the Monarchs hand in the final part of the Coronation. It is said to symbolize the Monarchs pastoral care for her / his people
The Imperial State Crown.
This is probably the best known crown of all of the collections, it was made for the coronation of King George VI in 1937, but is similar to a headpiece created for Queen Victoria in 1838 . An earlier version of the crown - weighing in at 7 lbs., 6 oz. was destroyed under Oliver Cromwell in the mid-17th century.
The term Imperial State Crown dates back to the 15th Century when English monarchs requested a crown closed by arches, to demonstrate that the country was closed to any other earthly power apart from that of their rule.
This State Crown is worn by the Monarch as he/she leaves Westminster Abbey at the conclusion of the Coronation. It is also worn by the reigning Monarch at the state opening of Parliament.
Interesting facts about the Monarchy and the Crown Jewels
The Crown Jewels Were Hidden from the Nazis in Biscuit Tins
The Crown Jewels are so important to England that special care was taken to hide them from the Nazis during World War II.
A royal librarian recently unearthed evidence that showed that the jewels were stored in a secret room 60 feet below Windsor Castle, which could only be accessed by descending a very long ladder.
Some of the most important jewels were removed from their settings and stowed in biscuit tins, lest they need to be moved again.
The Queen Wishes She Had Seen the Cullinan Get “Smashed”
Discovered in 1905, the Cullinan Diamond made its way to Britain from South Africa, shockingly, “in the post.”
Joseph Asscher was charged with cutting the rough in Antwerp in 1908.
“I always wish I’d been there when they smashed it into pieces,” said Queen Elizabeth. “These are the chips that were left,” she added, motioning to an enormous cushion-cut and an enormous pear-cut diamond pinned to her dress.
The largest polished diamond from the original rough, the Cullinan I, is in the scepter, while Cullinan II is mounted in the Imperial State Crown.
She said that she heard Asscher fainted after he cut the stone, though she couldn’t be sure if that was just a story.
Only three people are permitted to handle St. Edward’s Crown-the Monarch, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Crown Jeweller. During Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, the archbishop tied a piece of gold thread to the gold frame of the crown so that he could tell the front of the crown from the back.
Unfortunately, prior to the ceremony, the thread was removed, leaving the archbishop to simply hope he’d gotten it right.
The Crown Jewels Cannot Leave the Shores of the United Kingdom
In 1911, King George V and Queen Mary were crowned Emperor and Empress of India in Delhi. As the Crown Jewels cannot be taken out of the UK, a new crown called the British Imperial Crown of India was made for the occasion.
The Crown Jewels were once stolen
In 1671, a bunch of thieves led by Colonel Thomas Blood, an Anglo-Irish officer, hatched a plan to steal the Crown Jewels. Blood arrived at the Tower disguised as a priest and with two associates in tow. Guarding the jewels was a 76-year-old ex-soldier called Talbot Edwards. Blood and his cronies waited for the jewel cages to be opened up, hit Edwards over the head, stole the jewels and ran off.
Fortunately, Talbot Edwards’ son arrived just as the thieves were leaving, so he had Blood and his friends arrested and brought them to the tower to face the King. Bizarrely, the Colonel and his bunch of thieves were not punished - Blood was even given a large estate in Ireland.
The Anointing Ceremony is Shrouded in Secrecy
The Royal Family may feel far more accessible than they did in the old days, but some of their ceremonies remain a mystery. The golden eagle, known as the Ampulla, and silver-gilt anointing spoon are used by the Archbishop to anoint the sovereign in a secretive spiritual service during the coronation which is shielded from the media and public to this day.
The anointing spoon is thought to have been used during the coronation of King John in 1199, whereas the Eagle has been used since the 14th century. This spiritual tradition is taken from the anointing of King David in the Bible, who was crowned as the first king. The crown is the outward symbol of monarchy, whereas the anointing part of the ceremony reflects the spiritual aspects and historical link between the monarchy and the Gods.