It has been announced that St Edward’s Crown has been removed from the Tower of London to allow for it to be resized, ahead of The King’s coronation next year.
The Crown is the centrepiece of the crown jewels, and normally lives in the Jewel House at the Tower, where millions of tourists flock to see it, and the other pieces of the historic set, each year.
Following in royal tradition, King Charles III will be crowned using St Edward’s Crown during the Coronation Service. The King will also wear the Imperial State Crown, both of which need to be adapted to his head size.
The King’s Coronation will take place at Westminster Abbey in May, where all 38 coronations have been conducted (Edward V and Edward VIII were never crowned). The ceremony will be led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the most senior cleric within the Church. Charles is now Supreme Head of the Church of England as Monarch.
St Edward’s Crown was made for Charles II in 1661, to replace the medieval crown which had been melted down in 1649 by the Parliamentarians. The official order of 9th August said the Crown Jewels should be ‘totallie Broken and defaced’ in a symbolic act of the abolition of the Monarchy, which began with Charles I’s execution in January that year.
The royal goldsmith, Robert Vyner, followed some of the original design features, like four crosses-pattée, four fleurs-de-lis to form the base of the crown, and two intersecting arches.
However, the original was not so jewel-laden, and the idea to recreate a more modest, medieval-style crown was rejected by the Restored King: Charles II wanted a ‘full-blooded medieval coronation’ to bring back the Monarchy in style, and the crown was the all-important centrepiece.
St Edward’s Crown is made of solid gold, set with over 400 stones; the velvet cap is trimmed with an ermine band.
Camilla will be crowned alongside her husband as Queen Consort. The last time a Queen Consort was crowned was back in 1937, during the coronation of George VI and Queen Elizabeth. It has not been confirmed what The Queen Consort will be crowned with, but there are a number of options in the collection, including the Queen Mother’s crown.