'Your neck could break' Queen describes wearing Imperial State Crown
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St Edward’s Crown is considered the main attraction of the Crown Jewels, and it is usually kept under lock and key at the Tower of London. But Buckingham Palace has announced that St Edward’s Crown has been removed from the Tower for “modification work” to begin.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace said on Saturday: “St Edward’s Crown, the historic centrepiece of the Crown Jewels, has been removed from the Tower of London to allow for modification work to begin ahead of the Coronation on Saturday, May 6, 2023.”
The movement of the priceless crown was kept secret until it was safely delivered.
The crown is made of 22-carat gold, and the purple velvet crown of this historic piece is trimmed with ermine.
St Edward’s Crown is adorned with four fleurs-de-lis which alternate with four crosses pattée.
St Edward’s Crown is adorned with hundreds of precious stones and semi-precious stones including aquamarines, topazes, tourmalines, rubies, amethysts and sapphires.
The jewel has been used for several coronations historically, but it was the late Queen’s grandfather King George V who brought the tradition back for a modern era of royalty.
The Queen was crowned with St Edward’s Crown, as was her father King George VI, so it is only fitting the crown will be used at King Charles’ coronation in May.
St Edward’s Crown was made for King Charles II in the 17th Century.
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The Royal Collection Trust explains: “It was made for Charles II in 1661, as a replacement for the medieval crown which had been melted down in 1649.
“The original was thought to date back to the 11th Century royal saint, Edward the Confessor – the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.”
Due to the crown’s immense weight, the new King will likely need to practice wearing it. St Edward’s Crown weighs 2.23kg or nearly five pounds.
St Edward’s Crown is used only for the moment of coronation, but the late Queen wore the Imperial State Crown in 1953 as she waved to the crowds from Buckingham Palace’s balcony.
Like St Edward’s Crown, the Imperial State Crown is incredibly heavy and it is adorned with several gemstones.
The Queen once said of the Imperial State Crown in a documentary: “You can’t look down to read the speech, you have to take the speech up, because if you did, your neck would break, it would fall off.
“So there are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise they’re quite important things.”
The Imperial State Crown boasts 2,868 diamonds, 269 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and four rubies.
St Edward’s Sapphire, which was said to have been worn as a ring by St Edward the Confessor, also features in the Imperial State Crown’s cross.
There is also the Cullinan II diamond, the Stuart Sapphire and the Black Prince’s Ruby, which is actually a cabochon red spinel.
Other jewels from the Coronation Regalia include The Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross and the Sovereign’s Orb.
The Queen Consort Camilla may also wear the Crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother which features the Koh-i-Nûr diamond.
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