news, — June 19, 2022 at 5:30 pm

The crown of Queen Elizabeth

Do you want to know the seven secrets of one of the most precious jewels in the world, the crown of Queen Elizabeth? ♦

Whenever elections have been held in Britain, Queen Elizabeth has read the program of the new British government in the House. Queen’s Speech is traditionally held in the non-elective upper house of Parliament, as royalty do not have access to the House of Commons as a sign of respect for British democracy and popular sovereignty. This is what tradition dictates. And, as always, on that occasion she wore the precious crown, also known as the queen mother’s crown. This year, however, there has been a change: it was Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, who went to Westminster (with his wife Camilla) to read the Queen’s Speech, the government program presented to the Chambers gathered on the occasion the inauguration of the new parliamentary session (Opening State of Parliament). And on that occasion the crown was placed on a pillow next to the future king of Great Britain.

Il principe Carlo al parlamento di Londra. A fianco, la corona
Il principe Carlo al parlamento di Londra. A fianco, la corona

The tradition is ancient but, in reality, this jewel is quite recent: it has been made for less than a century. To be precise, the crown that the queen wears was designed for Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, wife of King George VI (ie the Queen Mother, who passed away in 2002), on the occasion of the coronation in Westminster Abbey in 1937. With one exception: the December 19, 2019, after the elections wanted by Boris Johnson, the queen wore a simple hat. But there is a reason: two months earlier she had made a similar speech (wearing the crown as usual) and preferred not to make an encore.

La regina Elisabetta con la corona imperiale
La regina Elisabetta con la corona imperiale

The crown has a particularity: it is the first British royal headdress to have been manufactured in platinum. The jeweler who designed the crown, symbol of royalty, is Garrard & Co of London, who has always been the supplier of the English royal crowns.

The crown has a recent history, but the model is more ancient. The imperial crown is 31.5 centimeters (12.4 inches) high and weighs 1.06 kilograms. The frame is made of gold, silver and platinum, and decorated with 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 5 rubies.

La corona indossata dal regnante di Gran Bretagna
La corona indossata dal regnante di Gran Bretagna

Here are seven little-known aspects.

  1. The crown is made up of four arches (less than the traditional eight).
  2. It is a modular jewel: the bows, in fact, can be detached to wear only the circular metal crown.
  3. The headdress is decorated with precious stones, but one in particular is famous: the 105-carat (21 grams) Koh-i-Noor diamond.
  4. In addition to this large gem there is a 17 carat diamond donated to Queen Victoria by the sultan of the Ottoman Empire in 1856.
  5. After the death of George VI the queen mother stopped wearing the full crown, but wore the circle at the coronation of her daughter, Elizabeth II, in 1953.
  6. The crown, complete with bows, was placed on the coffin of the queen mother during her funeral in 2002.
  7. Aside from the official occasions on which it is worn by Queen Elizabeth, the Windsor jewel is displayed in the Tower of London.
La regina Elisabetta indossa la corona in rare occasioni ufficiali
La regina Elisabetta indossa la corona in rare occasioni ufficiali
Elisabette il giorno dell'incoronazione: 3 giugno 1953
Elisabette il giorno dell’incoronazione: 3 giugno 1953

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