Symbols of power and spirituality, the British Crown Jewels, carefully guarded in the Tower of London, will leave the famous monument to be used during the coronation of King Charles III.
The Imperial State Crown
The Imperial State Crown was commissioned for the coronation of King George VI in 1937. Elizabeth II wore it after her proclamation as queen.
The late monarch also wore it at other times, such as at formal openings of Parliament.
The crown weighs more than a kilo, is 31.5 centimeters high and has 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls and 4 rubies.
The Scepter of the Dove
Created for the coronation of Charles II in 1661, this gold scepter is surmounted by a dove with outstretched wings perched on a cross to symbolize the Holy Spirit.
It represents the spiritual and pastoral role of the sovereign.
110 centimeters long, it weighs 1,150 grams.
The Scepter of the Cross
This scepter represents the temporal power of the sovereign. It has been used at every coronation since that of Charles II in 1661.
It weighs 1,170 grams and is 92 centimeters long.
In 1911, the impressive 530.2-carat Cullinan I diamond was added. The diamond is so large that the scepter had to be reinforced to support the weight.
The Sovereign’s Orb
This globe crowned with a cross symbolizes the Christian world. It is made up of a hollow gold sphere set with emeralds, rubies and sapphires, surrounded by diamonds and framed by two rows of pearls.
At its top is a cross set with diamonds with a sapphire in the center on one side and an emerald on the other.
During the coronation ceremony, the orb is held in the monarch’s right hand before being placed on the altar.
The jewel is 27.5 centimeters high and weighs 1,320 grams.
This gold piece in the shape of an eagle with outstretched wings contains the consecrated oil used during the sovereign’s anointing.
The Archbishop of Canterbury pours the oil from the eagle’s head into a spoon and anoints the monarch on the hands, chest and head, in what is the holiest moment of the coronation ceremony.
The figure of the eagle responds to a legend according to which the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Thomas Becket and gave him a golden eagle and a bottle of oil for the anointing of the future kings of England.
These gold spurs symbolize chivalry and have been used since the coronation of Richard the Lionheart in 1189. They are attached to the ankles of sovereigns and, if they are queens, they are placed on the altar.
This gold ring was made for the coronation of William IV in 1831. It is made of a sapphire surrounded by diamonds and encrusted with rubies that form a cross. At the coronation ceremony, the archbishop places it on the sovereign’s ring finger as a symbol of “royal dignity”.
St Edward’s Crown
Made for the coronation of Charles II, the Crown of Saint Edward is the most important and sacred of crowns. It is only used for the coronation ceremony.
This solid gold crown set with gems such as rubies, amethysts or sapphires, and endowed with an ermine cover is particularly heavy to wear, weighing more than 2 kilos.