The Royal Crown Jewels

Source: http://www.RCT.UK The Royal Sceptre and the 530.2 carat Star of Africa diamond.

The Coronation Royal Sceptre cradles a magnificent 530.2 carat teardrop shaped diamond known as the Star of Africa. This incomparable diamond is mounted with enameled brackets decorated with emeralds, amethyst, rose-cut diamonds, rubies, and spinels. Above the Star of Africa is a cross set with more diamonds and accented with a table-cut diamond centered on the front and a beautifully hued emerald mirrored on the back. Beneath the Star of Africa diamond are enameled brackets symbolizing a crown mounted with rubies and diamonds.

King Charles III Royal Coronation 2023

The Coronation Ceremony of King Charles III is an elaborate sovereign event and involves the King wearing two different crowns and four symbolic robes.

First, the St. Edward’s Crown of solid gold crown is worn during the crowning portion of the coronation ceremony. The St. Edward’s Crown was last used for the crowning Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. 


The St Edward’s Crown, circa 1661, is the most sacred of crowns and only used at the moment of crowning of a new King or Queen. The solid gold frame weighs nearly five pounds and is adorned with semi-precious stones. The St Edward’s Crown was created for the coronation of Charles II to replace a former medieval crown that was melted down by parliamentarians in 1649 after the execution of King Charles I. The lost medieval crown was said to have belonged to the 11th-century royal saint, King Edward the Confessor.

King Charles III arrives at the coronation ceremony wearing the Robe of State, a crimson surcoat worn by King George VI at his coronation in 1937. Over the crimson surcoat is worn the Robe of State, also known as the Parliament Robe. The robe’s long crimson velvet train is adorned with gold lace and ermine fur. During the anointment, King Charles wears an anointing gown with no decoration, symbolizing purity before God. Next and also during the investiture, a long, Byzantine-inspired gold silk coat, called a Supertunica, is layered over the robe.

As the crown is bestowed on Charles’s head by the Archbishop of Canterbury, King Charles wears the Robe Royal, an ornate golden robe embroidered with national symbols consisting of foliage, flowers, and crowns. The robe is secured with a gold eagle clasp. The Robe Royal is the oldest robe and was made for King George IV’s coronation in 1821.

Both the Supertinica and Robe Royal are removed before the King leaves Westminster Abbey wearing the Imperial State Crown and carrying the Sceptre and the Orb. During the procession, King Charles III wears the Imperial Robe.

For departure, King Charles’s wears the final Robe of Estate, a purple silk velvet robe embroidered in gold and last worn by King George VI in 1937. In full royal regalia and now as the reigning sovereign, King Charles exits Westminster Abbey wearing a second and no less magnificent crown, the Imperial State Crown shown below.

Imperial State Crown: Cyril Davenport (1848 – 1941), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Imperial State Crown, which has a velvet cap and ermine band, holds the Cullinan II diamond of 317 carats, the Stuart Sapphire, St Edward’s Sapphire, and the Black Prince’s Ruby. The crown is made of gold and set with 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls, and 4 rubies. St Edward’s Sapphire, located in the center of the top cross, is believed to have been worn in a ring by St Edward the Confessor and discovered in his tomb in 1163. The Imperial State Crown was made for the Coronation of King George VI in 1937 and replaced the crown made for Queen Victoria in 1838.

Queen Elizabeth II, shown in the photo below, is wearing the Imperial State Crown and holding the Sovereign’s Sceptre in her right hand and the Orb in her left. The Sovereign’s Orb is a golden globe topped by a cross and symbolizes the monarch’s power and responsibilities. The late Queen Elizabeth II chose not wear her father’s robe, but instead commissioned a new robe of purple silk velvet.

Queen Elizabeth II on her Coronation day, 2 Jun 1953, by Cecil Beaton. 
Image of the rough cut Cullian II Diamond

Notably, the Imperial State Crown contains the Stuart Sapphire, which weighs 104-carats. The sapphire is oval-shaped, 1.5 inches long and 1.0 inch wide. The jewel sets prominently on the Imperial State Crown at the front of the circlet, just below the Black Prince’s Ruby. The red gemstones were referred to as rubies; however in 1783, rubies were deemed to be distinctly different from spinels. Both rubies and spinels have aluminum, oxygen, and a little chromium, but spinels also contain magnesium, which rubies lack.

The Black Prince’s Ruby set in the cross above the Cullinan II diamond at the front of the Imperial State Crown is a 170 carat red spinel. The spinel is one of the oldest pieces of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom and dates back to the middle of the 14th century. The Black Prince’s Ruby has been in the possession of England’s rulers since 1367 when it was given to Edward of Woodstock, the Black Prince.

The Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross has been used at every coronation since King Charles II’s in 1661. The Sceptre was transformed in 1910 for King George V with the addition of the brilliant Cullinan I diamond discovered in 1905 in South Africa. At 3106 carats, The Cullinan Diamond is the largest gem-quality uncut diamond ever found.

The South African government gifted the Cullinan stone to King Edward VII as a symbol representing the healing of the relationship between Britain and South Africa after the South African Wars from 1899-1902. The uncut stone was then cut into nine large stones and 96 smaller stones and took 8 months to complete. The two largest stones were named the Cullinan I and Cullinan II.

The Cullinan I stone is the pinnacle jewel in the Sovereign’s Sceptre (1661). Now at 530.2 carats, the Cullinan I is the largest colorless cut diamond in the world. 

The Cullinan II is prominently displayed in the front band of the Imperial State Crown (1937).

The Royal Gold State Carriage

The King and/or Queen travel to the Coronation Ceremony in the Gold State Carriage, commissioned by George III in 1760. The royal conveyance was delivered to the Royal Mews on November 24, 1762. The next day, the King rode in the golden carriage to the State Opening of Parliament.

Author’s visit to London, UK.

If you’d like to see the royal jewels, visit the Royal Collection when they are not in use. The Jewels are on public display in the Jewel House near the Tower of London, where they are seen by 2.5 million visitors every year.

The golden Royal Carriage is on display in the Royal Mews, a very interesting and worthwhile visit.

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