When King Charles III and Queen Camilla will be crowned at Westminster Abbey this week, the King and Queen will receive the traditional Coronation Regalia which has medieval roots but was mostly created upon the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1661. Ahead of the Coronation, we are taking the opportunity to feature the fascinating Coronation Regalia!
St Edward’s Crown
Creation: 1661 as replacement for Medieval Crown
Details: Made for King Charles II in 1661, as a replacement for the medieval crown which had been melted down in 1649 and was thought to date back to the eleventh-century royal saint, Edward the Confessor. Commissioned from the Crown Jeweller, Robert Vyner, the Crown has four crosses-pattée and four fleurs-de-lis, and two arches, and is topped with an orb and a cross, symbolising the Christian world, made up of a solid gold frame set with rubies, amethysts, sapphires, garnet, topazes and tourmalines.
Usage: The Coronations of King Charles II (1661), King James II (1685), King William III (1689), King George V (1911), King George VI (1937), Queen Elizabeth II (1953), and Coronation of King Charles III (2023)
Role: St Edward’s Crown will be used to Crown the King, and will henceforth remain at the Tower of London, not be worn again. It will be carried into Westminster Abbey by General Sir Gordon Messenger, the Governor of HM Tower of London as Lord High Steward of England, while the Crowning will be carried out by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Creation: 1937 from the Imperial State Crown of 1838
Details: Made for Coronation of King George VI in 1937, the Crown was made by Garrard and is the Successor of the Crown made for Queen Victoria in 1838. The Imperial State Crown is set with 2,868 diamonds as well as St Edward’s Sapphire, Queen Elizabeth I’s Pearls, the Stuart Sapphire, the Black Prince’s Ruby and the Cullinan II Diamond.
Usage: Worn following the Crowning and at the State Openings of Parliament, as well as the Queen’s Funeral.
Role: The Imperial State Crown will be worn by King Charles to leave Westminster Abbey after the Coronation Ceremony, and will remain on during the Coronation Procession and on the Balcony of Buckingham Palace.
Creation: 1911 inspired by Queen Alexandra’s Crown of 1902
Details: Set with 2,200 diamonds, including the pear-shaped Cullinan III Diamond, the Cullinan IV Diamond, as well as a detachable rock crystal replica of the Koh-i-Noor Diamond. For this Coronation, thethe Cullinan III Diamond and Cullinan IV Diamond will be added back into their original spots, while the Cullinan V Diamond will be used in place of the crystal replica of the Koh-i-Noor Diamond. Additionally, four of the eight arches will be removed.
Usage: At the Coronation and without the Arches at the State Opening of Parliament
Role: The Duke of Wellington will carry Queen Mary’s Crown into the Abbey, while the Crowning will be performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross
Creation: 1661, modified in 1901.
Details: Comprised of a gold rod, surmounted by an enamelled heart-shaped structure which holds the Cullinan I Diamond, which was added in 1901, and is the largest colourless cut diamond in the world.
The Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross represents the sovereign’s temporal power and is associated with good governance.
Role: The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry will carry the Sceptre with Cross while it will be presented by The Most Reverend Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, and Episcopal Primus of Scotland.
Sovereign’s Sceptre with Dove
Details: The Sovereign’s Sceptre with Dove, traditionally known as ‘the Rod of Equity and Mercy’, represents the Sovereign’s spiritual role, with the enamelled dove with outspread wings representing the Holy Ghost.
Role: Baroness Floella Benjamin OM will carry the Sceptre with Dove in the Procession while it will be presented to the King by The Most Reverend Andrew John, the Archbishop of Wales.
Details: A representation of the Sovereign’s power and symbolising the Christian world, the Sovereign’s Orb was made from gold, and is divided into three sections with bands of jewels, for each of the three continents known in medieval period, mounted with emeralds, rubies and sapphires surrounded by diamonds and pearls.
Role: The Orb will be carried by Dame Elizabeth Anionwu OM and presented to the King by The Most Reverend John McDowell, the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh. During the Coronation, the Orb is placed in the right hand of the monarch. It is then placed on the high altar before the moment of crowning.
Details: The Sovereign’s Ring is composed of a sapphire with a ruby cross set in diamonds and is a symbol of kingly dignity, made for the Coronation of King William IV in 1831.
Role: The Ring will be carried by The Keeper of the Jewel House, Brigadier Andrew Jackson and will be presented to the King by Lord Narendra Patel KT.
Creation: 12th century
Details: The silver-gilt Coronation Spoon is the oldest object in use at Coronations, having been first recorded in 1349 among St Edward’s Regalia in Westminster Abbey, and is the only piece of Royal goldsmiths’ work to survive from the twelfth century, having been sold to the Yeoman of King Charles I’s Wardrobe in 1649, who returned it for King Charles II’s Coronation in 1661, when small seed pearls were added to the decoration of the handle.
Role: The Coronation Spoon will be used to anoint the King and Queens with the Chrism oil consecrated in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in March.
Details: The Chrism oil will be contained within the Ampulla, made from gold and cast in the form of an eagle with outspread wings. The oil is poured through an aperture in the beak, and is based on an earlier vessel, which in turn was based on a fourteenth-century legend in which the Virgin Mary appeared to St Thomas à Becket and presented him with a golden eagle and a vial of oil for anointing future Kings of England.
St Edward’s Staff
Details: Created by the Crown Jeweller, Robert Vyner, in 1661, the golden St Edward’s Staff, with its steel spike, derives from an earlier staff which was often referred to as the ‘Long Sceptre’ and carried in fifteenth and sixteenth century Coronation processions as a relic of the Royal saint, Edward the Confessor.
Role: The Staff will be carried by Baroness Manningham-Buller in the Procession
Details: The Spurs were made for King Charles II in 1661, but the use of spurs at Coronations dates back to King Richard the Lionheart, and his Coronation in 1189. The gold, leather and velvet Spurs symbolise knighthood, and they were altered in 1820 for King George IV.
Role: The Spurs will be presented by Lord Hastings and The Earl of Loudoun and given to the King by Lord Carrington, the Lord Great Chamberlain.
Sword of Offering
Details: Made in for the Coronation of King George IV in 1820, the Sword of Offering has a steel blade, mounted in gold and set with jewels, which form a rose, a thistle, a shamrock, oak leaves, acorns, and lion’s heads.
Role: Carried by Petty Officer Amy Taylor
Details: The two Armills are bracelets made from gold, champlevé and basse-taille enamel, lined in velvet, and are thought to relate to ancient symbols of knighthood and military leadership. They have been referred to during previous Coronations as the ‘bracelets of sincerity and wisdom’. The Armills have been used at every Coronation from King Charles II in 1661 until King George VI in 1937.
Role: The Armills will be presented by the Lord Kamall
Queen Consort’s Ring
Details: The Ring, a ruby in a gold setting, was made for the Coronation of King William IV and Queen Adelaide in 1831, and has been used by three further Queens Consort; Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth.
Role: The Queen Consort’s Ring will be carried by The Rt. Reverend and Rt. Hon the Lord Chartres and presented by Brigadier Andrew Jackson, The Keeper of the Jewel House at HM Tower of London.
Queen Consort’s Sceptre with Cross and Rod with Dove
Details: Mirroring the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Dove, the Queen Consort’s Rod with Dove is symbolic of ‘equity and mercy’ and the dove, with its folded wings, is symbolic of the Holy Ghost. The Queen Consort’s Sceptre with Cross was originally supplied for the coronation of Mary of Modena, Queen Consort of James II, in 1685 by Robert Vyner, and is inlaid with rock crystals.
Role: Baroness (Helena) Kennedy of The Shaws will be carrying the Queen Consort’s Rod while it will be presented by Rt. Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin CD, The Bishop of Dover. General Sir Patrick Sanders will carry the Queen Consort’s Sceptre, which will be presented by Rt. Reverend and Rt Hon. Lord Chartres.
Queen Mary II’s Orb
Details: A hollow gold orb, surmounted by a cross mounted with rose-cut and step-cut crystals; the zone and arc bordered by single rows of pearls in between which are silver collets set with rose-cut and octagonal step-cut quartz and imitation gems.
Usage: The orb has not been used since the 1689 coronation, except for the occasion of Queen Victoria’s funeral, where it was placed with the other royal orb on the coffin, possibly to signify her two titles as Queen and Empress.