St Edward’s Crown to be resized for King Charles III’s coronation


LONDON — Sometime this past weekend, the historic centerpiece of the British crown jewel, the St. Edward’s Crown, was very quietly and very secretly removed from its display case in the Tower of London by its caretakers.

We are not told exactly when this happened or where the crown went. That’s probably wise, as its theft will be one for the history books. (Hello, Hollywood? Not a bad idea for a thrilling movie.)

But St Edward’s Crown is safe, Buckingham Palace assures us. It’s in an undisclosed location and the Crown Jewelers had his men working there.

If all goes according to plan, King Charles III will don the crown during his coronation at Westminster Abbey on May 6. But first, it needed to be changed to fit a head that was probably bigger than his mother’s.

King Charles III’s coronation date is set for May 6 at Westminster Abbey

One of the most famous jeweled tiaras in the world, the 361-year-old St. Edward’s Crown is an essential part of royal regalia, alongside the orbs, sceptres, heralds, robes and religious tones (“God bless the king”), endowing A breath of longevity, power and divine right for the British monarchy in the 21st century.

Charles became king after Queen Elizabeth II died in September. But at his inauguration, his head was bare. The first time the world sees him in costume will be a defining moment.

“The crowned head is heavy” is a slightly modified line from Shakespeare’s play Henry IV. Truth be told, the crown is a whopper, weighing close to 5 pounds, which is about as much as a four-slice toaster or a gallon of ice cream or a $100 quarter.

Data: It is solid gold, 12 inches high, 26 inches in circumference, and inlaid with 444 precious and semi-precious stones.

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Counting, 345 rose-cut aquamarines, 37 white topaz, 27 tourmalines, 12 rubies, 7 amethysts, 6 sapphires, 2 long otolites, 1 garnet, 1 Spinel and 1 ruby ​​(not to be confused with ruby), an abscess. The jargon is a smoked zircon.

“It’s a remarkable object,” said Anna Keay, former director of the Tower of London and author of The Crown Jewels.

Has she tried it? No, Keay said with a gosh laugh. But she has researched it.

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“It’s absolutely fascinating to me. It’s an old item, old gold with a lovely enamelled look, and the colors around each stone are just so beautiful,” she says. She added, “I think it’s a little bit different than everything else in the series.”

“Because it’s not about the bling, it’s about the big diamonds,” she said, adding that gemstones aren’t that precious by today’s standards (the crown predates the discovery of the big diamond mines).

The historic St Edward’s Crown has been removed from the Tower of London to be refitted for the coronation of King Charles III, according to Buckingham Palace. (Video: Reuters)

The most amazing thing, she said, is that the crown is still in use, meaning it may have spent most of its time sitting on a pillow in a Tower of London display case, but it will be in use when a new monarch takes the throne, for just one day.

“It was designed for an institution that still exists, and it’s still used for the same job, which is very rare,” said Keay, who said the job was to crown a British king or queen at Westminster Abbey.

This version, today’s version, the St Edward’s Crown, was made for King Charles II, who ascended the throne in 1661.

Charles III is King Charles III. The first two had a tough time.

The crown replaced the older medieval crown of Edward the Confessor, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England in the 11th century. Because Edward was a saint, the crown was considered sacred and was kept in safekeeping by the monks of Westminster Abbey. But after the execution of King Charles I in 1649, it was melted down on the orders of Oliver Cromwell and its jewels sold.

Interestingly, since the Restoration of Charles II in 1661, only six monarchs have been crowned with the St Edward’s Crown, including James II in 1685 and William III in 1689, before the crown essentially entered the royal attic for as long as 200 years long.

King Charles III wanted to look forward. “Crown” dragged him back.

Kaye, who is now a director of the Landmark Trust, said the St. Edward’s Crown might have looked “outdated”, “outdated” and “too medieval” for a later line of British monarchs. It was only redeployed in the early 20th century by George V in 1911, followed by George VI in 1937 and his daughter Elizabeth in 1953.

Buckingham Palace said the crown had been removed from the Tower of London “to allow for alteration work.” The crown jeweler did not specify what. The gold crown probably didn’t require much work, and the velvet and mink hat needed just a little tweaking to accommodate Charles’ head just fine.

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