The Many Designs Of The British Crowns

This crown was ordered by Queen Victoria for her personal use and at her own expense in 1870.  She found the Imperial State crown often came with a headache...... literally! She found removing the Imperial crown  from the Tower of London came with paperwork and protocol, that she had her own crown made.  The smaller crown allowed her to wear her veil, where as the Imperial crown made it rather uncomfortable because of the size.

The small crown resembles the look of the previous British crowns.   The crown is made up of four half arches which are met at a monde, on which sits a cross. Each half arch runs from the monde down to a cross pattee along the band at the bottom. Between each cross patee is a fleur-de-lis. The crown does not have an internal cap. The crown is made of silver, and contains 1187 diamonds which all came from a necklace owned by Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria first used the crown on the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster on 9th February 1871. It was worn by her on all State Occasions after that date where she was required to wear a crown.

Technically the crown belonged to Queen Victoria personally rather than the British Crown, and therefore did not form part of the British Crown Jewels.  However, before her passing Queen Victoria left it to the British Crown. In 1937 King George VI ordered that it should be moved from Windsor Castle and added to the regalia kept in The Tower of London where it remains on show to this day.

1.  The St Edwards Crown

The St Edwards crown is the most important of all the crown jewels.   This is the very crown that the monarch is crowned at the ceremony of the coronation.  When the monarchy was restored on 29th May, 1660, everything was made new before there could be a coronation. Traditionally, this crown is only used in the actual moment of crowning, and never never worn again during the reign.

The crown is made of solid gold. Up until George V’s coronation it was set with paste stones and enamel mounts, but all of that changed in 1911, for the coronation of George V.  The crown was permanently set with semi-precious stones, and the imitation pearls were replaced with gold beads, which were plated with platinum.

Queen Victoria’s Diamond Crown

Queen Victoria’s Diamond Crown

Queen Victoria

2. The Imperial State Crown

The Imperial State Crown is the most magnificent of all the British Crown Jewels.  It was made in 1838 for the coronation of Queen Victoria, and then altered for the coronation of George VI in 1937 and Elizabeth II in 1953.   This crown replaced the crown of St. Edward immediately after the coronation.   The crown is modern in design, however it is set with ancient gems.

The Cullinan diamond decorates brow of the Imperial State Crown, just below the Black Princes Ruby. It was found in Africa in 1905 weighing 3601 carats – the largest diamond in the world.  The Transvaal Government made a gift of the enormous stone to Edward VII who then had it cut into several pieces. The largest piece known as the The Star of Africa was set into the King’s sceptre, and the second largest "The Cullinan II- Second Star of Africa" was mounted to the front of the Imperial State Crown.  The Imperial State Crown also contains 4 rubies, 11 emeralds, 17 sapphires, 277 pearls and over 3000 diamonds.

3. Imperial Crown Of India

The Imperial Crown of India was made for King George V to wear at the Delhi Durbar in 1911.  The Imperial State Crown cannot be taken out of England, and will probably never be worn again.  It's significance is now purely historical.

The crown has eight half arches which spring from the cross pattee and fleur-de-lis, and it contains a remarkably fine emerald, a number of other emeralds, sapphires, rubies and over 6000 diamonds which were sent over from India.

The Imperial Crown of India is not part of the British Crown Jewels. King George and Queen Mary travelled to Delhi for the Durbar service proclaiming them Emperor and Empress of India to the princess of India. The King was not crowned at the service because the Archbishop of Canterbury did not think it suitable for a Christian religious service to take place in a predominantly Hindu country.  Therefore, the King wore the crown when he entered the arena where the Durbar took place.

Delhi Durbar Necklace

4. Queen Mary’s Crown

Queen Mary’s Crown is set entirely with diamonds and crystals was made for Queen Mary when she was crowned Queen Consort with George VI in 1911.  This crown originally contained the 3d Star of Africa, and the 4th Star of Africa in the band. Both of these diamonds were cut from the Cullinan I diamond, which is the biggest diamond in the world.  Both diamonds are the personal property of Queen Elizabeth II and are not part of the Crown Jewels. They are known as the Lesser stones of Africa and were mounted in such a way that they can be removed and worn separately as a pendant or brooch. These stones were replaced by replica crystal stones.

The crown contains eight half arches. Unlike any other coronation crowns, it was specially constructed, so that its arches could be removed, allowing for the crown to be worn as a circlet. Queen Mary used the crown in circlet form at the coronation of George VI and at State Ceremonies involving her granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II.

5. Queen Mother’s Crown

The crown is based on a circlet worn by Queen Victoria and was worn by HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother at the coronation in 1937. The band is encrusted with diamonds, and set on it are four alternate cross pattee and fleur-de-lis. The famous Koh-i-Noor diamond is set in the front cross pattee like Queen Mary’s Crown. The crown contains 2800 diamonds, and contains the  Koh-i-Noor, and he 17 carat diamond which was given to Queen Victoria in 1856 by the Sultan of Turkey

6. King George IV State Diadem

The King George IV State Diadem forms part of the Crown Jewels. The Diadem was made in 1820 for the coronation of George VI. The diadem included 1333 diamonds weighing 327.75 carats and 169 pearls along the base. In between the four crosses it features the rose, thistle and shamrock.which are the symbols the England, Scotland and Ireland.

The diadem was also worn during the coronation procession of Queen Victoria and later Queen Elizabeth II. This is the diadem that appears on Queen Victoria (without the cap)on the penny black and all of her subsequent stamps.

7. Queen Mary’s Circlet

Queen Mary’s circlet is taken from Queen Mary’s original crown which was constructed in such a way that the arches could be removed allowing the crown to be worn as a circlet. Queen Mary used the crown in circlet form at the coronation of George VI and at State ceremonies involving her granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II.

For more detailed information see www.royalexhibitions.co.uk or www.stagejewellery.com

Queen Elizabeth II coronation photo, 1953.

Check out "Spectacular gems from the Queen's private collection go on display at Buckingham Palace"

Initially commissioned by Queen Victoria, this piece has undergone
various changes throughout the years. It currently features 25 graduated
cushion-cut brilliant diamonds ranging in sizes of up to 11.25 carats, set in silver and gold links.
The 26th diamond, known as the Lahore Diamond, weighs 22.48 carats and
hangs as a pendant. This marvelous necklace was also worn by Queen
Alexandra, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and Queen
Elizabeth II at their coronations.

George IV State Diadem

The Queen's Accession and Coronation

In 1945, 18-year-old Princess Elizabeth convinced her father that she
should be allowed to contribute directly to the war effort. She joined
the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service, where she was known as No
230873 Second Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor, trained as a driver, and
drove a military truck while she served.

Princess Elizabeth's only sibling was the late Princess Margaret, who
was born in 1930. The two young princesses were educated at home,
under the supervision of their mother. Their governess was Marion
Crawford, better known as "Crawfie". She studied history
with C. H. K. Marten, Provost of Eton, and also learned modern
languages; she speaks French fluently. She was instructed in religion
by the Archbishop of Canterbury and has remained a devout member of
the Church of England.As a granddaughter of the British sovereign in
the male line, she held the title of a British princess, with the
style "Her Royal Highness," her full style being "Her
Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York". At the time of her
birth, she was third in the line of succession to the throne, behind
her uncle, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), and her
father. Although her birth generated public interest, there was no
reason at the time to believe that she would ever become queen, as it
was widely assumed that the Prince of Wales would marry and have
children in due course. However, Edward did not produce any legitimate
heirs, and Elizabeth's parents had no sons (who would have taken
precedence over her). Therefore, she would eventually have become
queen whether Edward had abdicated or not.

Presentation photographic portrait of HM Queen Mary, taken after the Coronation of Their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937, wearing her crown as a circlet, without the arches, and with one of the Cullinan diamonds replacing the Koh-i-noor in the front cross patee. Queen Mary wears Cullinans III and IV on the Garter sash, and her Coronation Garter Star and the diamond-set Garter. The Garter is worn on her arm. She has on the Family Orders of King George V and King George VI. (Private Collection) Garrard. The Crown Jewellers tor 150 Years 1843 1993

King George IV State Diadem

Queen Mary’s Circlet

Queen Mother’s Crown

Queen Mary’s Crown

The Imperial State Crown

 Imperial Crown Of India

St Edwards Crown

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Diigo
  • Faves
  • LinkedIn
  • MisterWong
  • MySpace
  • Netvibes
  • Ping.fm
  • Reddit
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • Posterous