Captivating Coronation Jewels: A Visual Showcase
Captivating Coronation Jewels: A Visual Showcase
Queen Mary’s crown from 1911, with its 2,200 diamonds has been selected for the Queen Consort’s coronation in May. It is an interesting choice as it is the first time in recent history a Queen Consort crown is being reworn perhaps signalling Camilla’s commitment to sustainability. It was made for Queen Mary for her coronation in 1911, and she notably also wore the crown without its arches as a diadem for the coronation of her son King George VI in 1937. The crown’s design will have some changes, however, with the Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds to be set in the crown as a tribute to the late Queen, who often wore them as brooches. The style will also be revamped by removing four out of the eight detachable arches. The famous Koh-I-Noor diamond, one of the largest diamonds ever discovered, was gifted to Queen Victoria in 1850, but won’t be featured in the crown. This is significant as the diamond has been set in the crown of every Queen Consort since Queen Alexandra in 1902, although it wasn’t worn by the Queen’s consort Prince Philip during the 1953 coronation (perhaps due to the legend that bad luck befalls any male who wears it) and is currently set in the Queen Mother’s crown, which was last seen poignantly placed atop the Queen Mother’s coffin at her funeral in 2002. It was earlier reported that this would be the crown worn by Camilla at her coronation.
Queen Mary’s crown
Queen Mary’s crown without its arches
Camilla will also be wearing the Queen Consort’s Ring, which is made up of a bright pink ruby set within a cluster of diamonds, with smaller rubies set on the gold band. It was first made for Queen Adelaide in 1831 and has been worn by every Queen Consort since.
Queen Consort’s ring, various angles
During the ceremony, it has also been reported that Camilla will be holding versions of the gold sceptres that the monarch carries -a smaller version of the Sceptre with Cross, created for Mary of Modena in 1685 which is a sceptre is formed from a gold rod in three sections, tapering towards the top, and is surmounted by a monde with a zone and arc of moulded gold set with table-cut stones (quartzes), with a cross above mounted with rose-cut and shaped quartzes. The monde sits in a bracket of quartz-set petals representing a fleur-de-lis. The sections of the rod are joined by collars similarly mounted with rose-cut stones; the lowest section with a silver openwork sleeve set with rose-cut stones arranged as scrolls. The gold pommel is mounted with a silver band set with table-and rose-cut quartzes.
Queen Consort’s Sceptre with Cross
She will also hold the Sceptre with Dove –which symbolises peace and unity, and is formed from an ivory rod in three sections, tapering towards the top, and is surmounted by a gold monde enamelled with the national emblems (rose, thistle, harp and fleur-de-lis) with a cross above, on which perches an enamelled dove with wings folded. The sections of the rod are joined by gold collars chased with acanthus leaves. The gold pommel is enamelled like the monde with national emblems.
Queen Consort’s Sceptre with Dove
The coronation will be an opportunity for people to admire many priceless Crown jewels that are usually under lock and key. King Charles will wear St. Edward’s Crown, a sacred symbol of the authority of the monarch. It is solid gold and weighs 2.23 kg, and is encrusted with over 400 gemstones, including rubies and sapphires.
We will also have the chance to see the Coronation Spoon which is one of the oldest jewels in the Crown’s collection, dating back to the 1100s, and will be used to anoint the Sovereign with Holy Oil from Jerusalem.
Coronation Spoon, various angles
Ampulla (vessel) and Coronation Spoon
King Charles will hold the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross which is surmounted by a heart shaped structure that holds the drop-shaped Cullinan I diamond, the largest colourless cut diamond in the world which weighs about 530.2 carats, and was discovered in 1905 in South Africa and named after Thomas Cullinan, the chairman of the Cullinan mine. It is a part of the huge Cullinan Diamond which, at roughly 3,106 carats is the largest diamond ever found, and was split into 9 large stones, the largest being the Cullinan I. This diamond is in fact so large that the Sceptre had to be reinforced to take its weight when it was mounted in 1911. The structure is then surmounted by enamelled brackets fitted with step-cut emeralds and a faceted amethyst monde, set with table and rose-cut diamonds, rubies, spinels and more emeralds, with the cross above also set with diamonds, and an emerald.
The King will also hold the gold Sceptre with Dove, which is formed from a plain gold rod, in three sections, with enamelled and gem-set collars at the intersections, surmounted by a gold monde, with an applied silver zone and arc set with rose diamonds, and a gold cross supporting an enamelled dove with outspread wings. The collars are mounted variously with rose- and table-cut diamonds, step- and table-cut rubies, emeralds, sapphires and spinels. At the base of the sceptre is a compressed spherical pommel set with further rose-cut diamonds. The sceptre represents the sovereign's spiritual role, with the dove representing the Holy Ghost. Traditionally it has been known as 'the Rod of Equity and Mercy’.
During the ceremony, King Charles will be handed the gold Sovereign’s Orb, which is a decorative globe, representing the sovereign’s power and symbolising the Christian world. It has bands of jewels including emeralds, rubies and sapphires, surrounded by 365 rose-cut diamonds and rows of pearls. It is mounted by a diamond encrusted cross and features a sapphire on one side and an emerald on the other.
The Sovereign’s Ring will be placed on the fourth finger of the King’s right hand, to symbolise the sovereign’s ‘marriage’ to the nation. The ring is composed of a mixed-cut octagonal sapphire in a gold setting overlaid with four rectangular-cut and one square-cut rubies, butted together in a gold strip setting to form a cross, with a border of fourteen cushion-shaped diamonds and a diamond on each shoulder, with a gold hoop. The design noticeably gives a nod to the Union Jack.
Sovereign’s ring, various angles
Finally, King Charles will wear The Imperial State Crown which the monarch wears as they leave Westminster Abbey post the ceremony. It was made for the coronation of King George in 1937, replacing a crown made for Queen Victoria. It is set with a vast number of gemstones, including some 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls and 4 rubies, The jewels that are set are some of the most dazzling Crown jewels in the collection, including the Black Prince’s Ruby (which is actually a spinel) and the 104 carat Stuart Sapphire, which is believed to have been first owned by King Charles II from the House of Stuart. ''
The Imperial State Crown, various angles
Carriages : Breaking with tradition, this coronation two coaches will be used, with the Gold State Coach which has been used in every coronation since William IV’s in 1831 to be used for the longer return journey (the ‘Coronation Procession’) only.
From Buckingham palace to Westminster Abbey, in the ‘King’s Procession’, Charles and Camilla will be conveyed in the much more comfortable Diamond Jubilee State Coach which is an enclosed six horse carriage, created in 2012 to commemorate the Queen’s then 60 year old reign, and was first used in 2014 for the State Opening of Parliament.
- It is fitted with heating, air conditioning, stabilisers, hydraulic shock absorbers and electric windows to ensure comfort.
- It was built in Australia and using it incorporates another commonwealth element to the event.
- It has an aluminium exterior and it’s interior is inlaid with wood from places with specific connections to Britain and its history, including royal residences such as Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse; cathedrals including St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey; historic ships, such as Henry VIII’s Mary Rose, and other significant locations such as the Tower of London, Diana, Princess of Wales's ancestral home Althorp and 10 Downing Street. The interior also pays tribute to people associated with British history, and contains a fragment from Sir Isaac Newton's apple tree , and a fragment of Florence Nightingale’s dress.
- The seat handrails are from the Royal Yacht Britannia.
- The two gold plated door handles on the coach were individually decorated with 24 diamonds and 130 sapphires and were created by a New Zealand jeweller.
- The carriage is topped with a massive gold crown – carved from oak from the HMS Victory, and the crown can even hold a camera to film journeys.
The Diamond Jubilee Coach, various angles
The Gold State Coach :
- Will be used by Charles and Camilla for the much longer procession from Westminster Abbey back to Buckingham Palace.
- It was built in 1762 (260+ years old) and is the 2nd oldest working coach, and the 3rd oldest surviving coach in England.
- It weighs 4 tonnes and so can only be used at a walking pace.
- It been used at every coronation since William IV's in 1831 and was first used by George III to travel to the State Opening of Parliament in 1762.
- The coach is actually made of giltwood, which is a thin layer of gold leaf over wood and the interior is lined and upholstered with velvet and satin.
- It also features magnificent painted panels of Roman gods and goddesses, representing human skill and endeavour. These include the Arts, Sciences, Virtue, Security, and the harvest goddess Ceres setting light to weapons, and Mars and Minerva holding the Imperial State Crown, in a sign of peace and prosperity overcoming war.
- As a nod to London in 1760, the front panel includes a figure of Britannia sitting on the banks of the river Thames, with the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral just visible in the city. Some of the figures refer to the power of the Royal Navy at this time, and the message was that the new King would allow arts and sciences to flourish under wise, loyal and peaceful government, supported by Britain’s naval power.
- Above each wheel is a massive triton figure in gilded walnut wood, seen blowing a conch shell to herald the arrival of the monarch, and representing the spreading of the news of good government
- On the roof is a giltwood carving of the Imperial State Crown being held by three cherubs representing England, Scotland and Ireland.
- It is not very comfortable however, with every British monarch having complained about riding in it, with the Queen describing the bumpy journey to her coronation as ‘horrible’ and Queen Victoria complaining of the coach’s 'distressing oscillation'.
Gold State Coach, various angles