St Edward's Crown
|St Edward's Crown|
St Edward's Crown before 1911
|Made||1661 (current version)|
|Owner||Held in trust by Queen Elizabeth II for her successors and the UK.|
|Weight||2.23 kg (4.9 lb)|
St Edward's Crown is one of the oldest Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom and the centrepiece of the coronation regalia. Named after Edward the Confessor, it has traditionally been used to crown English and British monarchs at the coronation ceremony. The current version, made for the coronation of Charles II in 1661, is 30 cm (12 in) tall and weighs 2.23 kg (4.9 lb), and has four fleurs-de-lis and four crosses pattée, supporting two dipped arches topped by a monde and cross pattée. Its purple velvet cap is trimmed with ermine. The frame is made of gold and decorated with 444 semi-precious stones, including amethysts, garnet, olivine, peridot, rubies, sapphires, topazes, tourmalines and zircon. It is part of the British monarchy's Royal Collection and, when not in use, is on public display with the rest of the Crown Jewels in the Jewel House at the Tower of London.
Edward the Confessor wore the original crown at Easter, Whitsun and Christmas. It may have incorporated elements of a crown that belonged to Alfred the Great. In 1066, St Edward's Crown was reputedly used at the coronation of William the Conqueror. It was subsequently used for the coronations of William II (1087), Henry I (1100), King Stephen (1135), Henry II (1154), Richard I (1189 and 1194) and King John (1199).
At the first coronation of Henry III in 1216, a chaplet was used instead of the crown. From this it was inferred by the German historian, Reinhold Pauli, that the original St Edward's Crown had been among the jewels lost by King John. However, Arthur Penrhyn Stanley maintained that the original crown and regalia were kept in the Treasury until the time of Henry VIII, and survived until 1642. It was supposedly used in 1533 to crown the second wife of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn - unprecedented for a queen consort.
Jewels would be hired for use in the crown and removed after the coronation until 1911, when it was permanently set with 345 rose-cut aquamarines, 37 white topazes, 27 tourmalines, 12 rubies, 7 amethysts, 6 sapphires, 2 jargoons, 1 garnet, 1 spinel and 1 carbuncle. Imitation pearls on the arches and base were replaced with golden beads. It was also made smaller to fit George V, the first monarch to be crowned with St Edward's Crown in over 200 years.
On 4 June 2013, the crown was displayed on the altar in Westminster Abbey to mark the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation – the first time it had left the Tower of London since 1953.
Although it is regarded as the official coronation crown, only six monarchs have been crowned with St Edward's Crown since the Restoration: Charles II (1661), James II (1685), William III (1689), George V (1911), George VI (1937) and Queen Elizabeth II (1953). Mary II and Queen Anne were crowned with small diamond crowns of their own; George I, George II, George III and William IV with the State Crown of George I; George IV with a large new diamond crown made specially for the occasion; and Queen Victoria and Edward VII chose not to use St Edward's Crown because of its weight and instead used the lighter 1838 version of the Imperial State Crown. When not used to crown the monarch, St Edward's Crown was placed on the altar during the coronation; however, it did not feature at all at the coronation of Queen Victoria.
Before 1649, it was usual for monarchs to be crowned with the original St Edward's Crown, and they often had several crowns placed on their head during the ceremony.
Images based on the crown are used in coats of arms, badges, logos and various other insignia throughout the Commonwealth realms to symbolise the monarch's royal authority. In these contexts, it replaced the Tudor Crown (used since 1902) in 1953 by order of Queen Elizabeth II. Use of the crown's image in this way is by permission of the monarch.
Bayeux Tapestry scene1 EDWARD REX.jpg
Edward the Confessor with his crown in the Bayeux Tapestry
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A 1765 one penny stamp featuring the crown
Marquess of Anglesey carrying St Edward's Crown.JPG
The Marquess of Anglesey carrying St Edward's Crown, 1821
The Coat of Arms of New Zealand features St Edward's Crown
Flag of the Queen's Representative.svg
Flag of the Queen's Representative in the Cook Islands
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- St Edward's Crown at the Royal Collection.
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