10 Facts Few People Know About Queen Elizabeth II’s Crown
The British family jewels bring together beauty, luxury, and, above all else, history. Among them, the Imperial State Crown stands out, as it was used for the coronation ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. It is made of precious stones, pearls, metals, and a velvet cape. This accessory is passed down from monarch to monarch, but over time, it has gone through great changes and left behind curious facts.
At Bright Side, we have compiled 10 interesting facts about Queen Elizabeth II’s crown that you may not have known.
1. It weighs about 3 pounds.
The Imperial State Crown weighs about 3 pounds (that would be about one kilogram) due to the large number of precious stones that adorn it, consisting of diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.
2. The materials it’s made of
The Imperial State Crown is composed of an astonishing openwork gold frame, almost 3,000 diamonds in silver mounts, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, and about 270 pearls. Not only that but there’s also a large diamond, in addition to some rubies and sapphires, that embellish the front and back of one of the most famous crowns in history.
3. It was redesigned to be “more feminine.”
For the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953, the Imperial State Crown underwent a redesign to make it lighter and more feminine, as the young monarch was only 27 years old at the time. Thus, there are differences between the design used by George VI and that of the current queen.
4. The ruby in the center
The jewels that embellish the Imperial State Crown have attracted many legends, and with reason. Right on the front, you can find the “Black Prince’s Ruby.” This semi-precious stone is said to have belonged to Peter I of Castile, often known as “The Cruel” and sometimes as “The Just,” before being given to Edward, Prince of Wales, known as the “Black Prince.” This prince was given the stone as a gift in 1367 for managing to defeat his enemies in battle.
5. There is an exhibition of the “Crown Jewels.”
Most of the kings and queens of England have stored their crowns, robes, orbs, scepters, and other precious items in the famous Tower of London, whose official name is Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London. These objects are commonly known as the “Crown Jewels” and are on display, open to the public. More than 30 million people have seen this great collection, which is possibly the most visited collection in Britain, and maybe even the whole world.
6. Used on special occasions
In addition to being used at the coronation ceremony of the monarchs of the United Kingdom, every year, the great jewel travels from the Tower of London where it’s normally kept, all the way to the Palace of Westminster. This piece is used during the traditional opening speech of the British Parliament. In recent years, the monarch has preferred not to wear this popular accessory in her attire due to the excessive weight that it puts on her head, and she’s been known to say that it’s “unwieldy.”
7. The central diamond
It was the year 1905 when the world’s largest diamond (that remains as such to this day) was discovered in South Africa. The piece was named Cullinan and weighed over 3,000 carats (approximately 600 grams or about 1.36 lb). 2 years later, in 1907, this huge diamond was offered to King Edward VII as a birthday gift. After that, the gemstone was cut into several fragments. One of them, the Cullinan II or “Second Star of Africa,” is set right in the center of the crown of the current Queen Elizabeth II and weighs 317 carats.
8. The history of the crown
The piece was made for the coronation of the Queen’s father, George VI, in 1937, but was based on the crown designed for Queen Victoria in 1838. The term “Imperial State Crown” comes from the fifteenth century, when English monarchs chose a design enclosed by arches to show that England was not subject to any other earthly power.
9. The cost of the crown
The Crown Jewels have a collective estimated value of between 3 and 5 billion pounds ($4-$7 billion). The Cullinan I diamond, which is the largest gem in the collection, is worth 400 million pounds (approximately, $550 million). However, there is no official record of how much the Imperial State Crown alone is worth.
10. 3 crowns for a single ceremony
In 1953, Queen Elizabeth II wore neither 1 nor 2 crowns during her coronation, but instead, changed her accessories throughout the event, resulting in a total of 3 large pieces to adorn her head. First, the monarch wore the George IV State Diadem on her way to the ceremony. Next, the St. Edward’s Crown was placed on the Queen’s head. And to return to Buckingham Palace, Elizabeth II wore the Imperial State Crown.
Which of these curiosities caught your attention the most? What do you like most about British royalty?