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Sometimes it’s about the sparkle.
While royal fans are looking forward to the pomp, circumstance and fashion when King Charles III is officially crowned on May 6, there’s another element of the coronation that’s particularly bejeweled
The coronation regalia — which consists of glittering objects from the Crown Jewels — make up an integral part of the historic ceremony.
According to Buckingham Palace, these “sacred and secular objects” represent “the service and responsibilities of the monarch” and are housed safely in the Tower of London.
With the coronation swiftly approaching, the gleaming swords, scepters and crowns have been removed from the centuries-old Tower, where the Crown Jewels can typically be viewed by the public.
While these pieces are hundreds of years old, most weren’t part of the original collection, as royal historian Jessica Storoschuk tells Page Six Style.
Many items from the regalia had to be recreated for King Charles II in 1661 after the original medieval and Tudor pieces were destroyed or sold during the English Civil War, per the royal expert.
We’re taking a closer look at these historic objects — one of which dates all the way back to the 12th century — ahead of King Charles III’s coronation.
St. Edward’s Crown
This purple velvet crown will be used for the most special part of the coronation ceremony: the moment when King Charles III is crowned as sovereign.
St. Edward’s Crown was made in 1661 to replace the medieval piece originally used by English kings, with the Royal Collection Trust writing that the OG “was thought to date back to the eleventh-century royal saint, Edward the Confessor — the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.”
The glittering gold piece — which weighs a whopping five pounds — is set with gems including sapphires, rubies, garnets, amethysts, topazes and tourmalines, along fleur-de-lis and cross accents.
A cross and a gold sphere — which symbolizes the world — top off this magnificent crown.
Queen Mary’s Crown
Buckingham Palace announced in February that Queen Camilla would not be having a new crown created for the coronation, ending months of speculation about what she’d wear for the historic moment.
Instead, the consort will be crowned with the same piece worn by Queen Mary during the 1911 coronation of her husband, King George V — but with a touching twist.
Camilla chose to have the crown modified to include gemstones from the collection of her late-mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth.
According to the palace, the last time a queen consort recycled a crown was when Queen Caroline, consort of George II, wore Mary of Modena’s crown for her husband’s coronation in 1727.
The Imperial State Crown
One of the more familiar items of the Crown Jewels is the Imperial State Crown, the dazzling purple headpiece Queen Elizabeth II frequently wore throughout her reign.
King Charles will wear this crown for the first time when he leaves Westminster Abbey, just as his mother did for her coronation in 1953, when she was just 27 years old.
The incredible piece — which was modified from its original 1838 version for King George VI in 1937, and again for Queen Elizabeth II — features “2,868 diamonds, as well as hundreds of pearls and other gemstones,” per Lauren Kiehna of The Court Jeweller.
One of them is the famous 317-carat Cullinan II diamond, which Kiehna notes was cut from the controversial Cullinan Diamond.
The dazzling gem was discovered in British-occupied South Africa in 1905 and taken to England, per the Royal Collection Trust, but following Queen Elizabeth’s death, many critics of the monarchy are calling for its return.
As for the crown itself, Her Majesty once said it was so heavy that “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.”
The Sovereign’s Orb
This gleaming gold piece dates back to 1661 and was one of the items recreated by Robert Vynter for Charles II’s coronation, Storoschuk says.
“The golden orb features a cross on the top set with an emerald with pearls and a band of clusters of emeralds, sapphires and rubies,” the An Historian About Town blogger adds, explaining that the item “represents the monarch’s role as sovereign with the Orb representing Christiandom as a whole.”
The orb will be put in King Charles’ right hand during the coronation, and “it will then be placed on the altar for the remainder of the ceremony,” Storoschuk says.
The Sovereign’s Scepter with Cross
Along with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s Orb, this glittering gold scepter is known as one of the Instruments of State.
Many will remember the scepter and its counterparts sitting on top of Queen Elizabeth II’s casket in September 2022, but they’ll play a happier role on May 6.
After he’s given the Orb and a special ring, King Charles will hold two scepters, one of which is this cross-topped style including another stone cut from the Cullinan Diamond.
According to the Royal Collection Trust, the piece includes the 530.2-carat Cullinan I diamond, which is “the largest colorless cut diamond in the world.”
He’ll also hold a similar gold scepter accented with a dove, holding one in each hand before he’s crowned, per the Trust.
Meanwhile, Queen Camilla will hold her own slightly different versions.
The Ampulla and Coronation Spoon
When King Charles and Queen Camilla are crowned, they’ll be anointed with holy oil that was consecrated in Jerusalem — and the oil will be delivered by two very special objects.
The Ampulla — which is a sort of flask — is crafted from gold in the shape of an eagle with spread wings, per the Royal Collection Trust, and holds the holy oil before it’s placed on the head, breast and hands of the king and queen via the Coronation Spoon.
The spoon is the oldest piece of the coronation regalia, with the royal family’s website noting it was used as early as 1349.
However, the pearl-trimmed utensil is actually older; it’s the only gilded piece to survive from the 12th century, with the palace adding it could have belonged to King Henry II or King Richard I, who both lived during the 1100s.
The Stone of Scone
The oldest part of the coronation regalia — and the one most steeped in mystery — is the Stone of Scone, also known as the Stone of Destiny or Coronation Stone.
While no one knows exactly when the enormous sandstone block was first used, Westminster Abbey notes that “tradition identifies it with the one upon which Jacob rested his head at Bethel” in the Bible.
What we do know, according to Storoschuk, is that the stone “historically was used by Scottish monarchs at their coronation before Edward I of England’s forces seized the stone during their invasion in 1296.”
While in England, the stone was then used as the seat for the Coronation Chair until the 17th century, when a wooden seat was added above it, per the historian.
While the Stone of Scone has experienced its share of wild moments — like being stolen by four Scottish nationalists on Christmas Day in 1950 — it was returned to Scotland by the British government in 1996 “with the understanding that it would be provided to Westminster Abbey for coronations in the future,” Storoschuk says.
The Coronation Chair
When he’s officially crowned, King Charles will sit in the magnificent chair that holds the Stone of Scone.
This incredible piece of history was commissioned by Edward I after he seized the stone, with the chair constructed between 1300 and 1301.
The chair was “painted by Master Walter and decorated with patterns of birds, foliage and animals on a gilt ground,” per Westminster Abbey.
Although it’s mind-boggling that the piece of furniture is still standing, it hasn’t gone without its fair share of damage; according to the church, graffiti was scratched into the wood by cheeky 18th- and 19th-century schoolboys and tourists.
The Sovereign’s Ring
The ruby, sapphire and diamond Sovereign’s Ring will be placed on King Charles’ finger during the ceremony and “is sometimes called the ‘wedding ring of England,’” per Kiehna.
The piece was created for William IV’s coronation in 1831 and has since been worn by every monarch except Queen Victoria (a new ring was created for her dainty fingers).
The ruby cross was designed to mimic “the cross of St. George (for England) and the sapphire representing the Scottish flag,” according to the royal jewelry blogger.
The Queen Consort’s Coronation Ring
A smaller ruby-and-diamond piece was created especially for Queen Adelaide in 1831, per Kiehna, and “every queen consort in Britain has worn the ring for her coronation since Adelaide’s time.”
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother was the last consort to wear the piece for her 1937 coronation, and now Camilla will don the sparkling ring on May 6.
The Sword of State
During his coronation, King Charles will be reunited with a special sword his mother once used during his investiture as the Prince of Wales.
The Sword of State was one of two such swords created for King Charles II, per the Royal Collection Trust, with this piece dating from 1678 (the second, older sword no longer exists).
While the sword itself — which is decorated with emblems such as a Tudor rose and a fleur-de-lis — was made for Charles II, the wooden, velvet-covered scabbard with “silver-gilt emblems” features King William III’s coat of arms and was created for his 1689 coronation, per the Trust.
The Sword of Offering
After King Charles is anointed, the Sword of State will be replaced with the gem-encrusted Sword of Offering, which will be carried by a woman for the first time on May 6.
Buckingham Palace announced Petty Officer Amy Taylor has been chosen to bear the sword into Westminster Abbey, with the 19th-century piece set with diamonds, rubies and emeralds that form the shapes of UK national symbols.
Other swords that will be used in the ceremony include three pieces that were first used at the coronation of King Charles 1 in 1626: the Sword of Temporal Justice, the Sword of Spiritual Justice and the Sword of Mercy.
These gold, velvet and leather spurs “represent knighthood and chivalry,” per Storoschuk, who added that “the presentation of the spurs is derived from the medieval ceremony of knighthood.”
King Charles will be presented with the spurs — which date back to 1661 — but he won’t actually wear them; the royal historian notes that since the restoration of the monarchy they’re no longer attached to the monarch’s ankles, but they’ll be held up to Charles’ before being placed on the altar.
Historically, two gold bangles known as armills are placed on the new monarch’s wrists during the coronation.
According to the Royal Collection Trust, the pieces are “referred to in the ceremony as ‘bracelets of sincerity and wisdom’” and symbolize “knighthood and military leadership.”
While Queen Elizabeth had new gold armills made for her coronation, it’s unclear if Charles will use them due to their size, Storoshuk tells us, adding “they might just be held for a moment and not worn.”
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