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St. Edward's Crown

St. Edward’s Crown, the coronation crown of British royalty

St. Edward’s Crown is the official crown used for the coronation of English/British/Commonwealth monarchs.  The cross was crafted in 1661 for the coronation of Charles II (the ancient and original crown, worn by Edward the Confessor in 1065 was either lost by King John or destroyed by Oliver Cromwell).  Made of gold, the crown is composed of four crosses pattée alternating with four fleurs-de-lis.  Many famous expensive gemstones (like the Black Prince’s ruby, and the Second Star of Africa) can be found on the Imperial State Crown (the ritzy crown which symbolizes the golden age of British power), however St. Edward’s Crown has numerous sapphires, tourmalines, amethysts, topazes and citrines which make it quite lovely.  The crown is also noteworthy for the purple velvet and ermine cap which is now practically a Hollywood cliché of royal headwear (although I personally find the long-vanished Tudor crown more attractive).

The crown visits Westminster Abbey yesterday

The crown visits Westminster Abbey yesterday

After being stolen and flattened in 1671 by Thomas Blood, St. Edward’s crown today spends the majority of its time sitting in the Tower of London under heavy guard.  However even silly jeweled hats have very special days, and yesterday (June 4th, 2013) was such a day, the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.  Saint Edward’s crown was removed from the tower and sent to the altar of Westminster Abbey for the special occasion.  Although some (comparatively) recent monarchs like Victoria and King Edward VII found the 2.31 kg crown to be too heavy for coronation purposes, Elizabeth is a traditionalist and was crowned with the massive headdress.

Elizabeth II wears the crown at her coronation in 1953

Elizabeth II wears the crown at her coronation in 1953

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