Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach, coronation, Diamond Crown, Jefri Bolkiah, King George IV of the United Kingdom, Prince of Brunei, St. Edward's Crown, State Crown of George I, State Opening of Parliament
Although I have already featured my top 12 Crowns I still will feature other crowns and regalia from time to time.
When King George IV of the United Kingdom was coronated on July 19, 1821 he did not use St. Edward’s Crown for the ceremony, nor did he use the State Crown of George I as had his immediate predecessors; instead he had a new and and extravagantly expensive crown built.
At 40 cm (16 in) tall and decorated with 12,314 diamonds, it was said to make him look like a “gorgeous bird of the east”. The innovative gold and silver frame, created by Philip Liebart of Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, had been designed to be almost invisible underneath the diamonds.
A plan to remove the traditional fleurs-de-lis and introduce the rose, thistle and shamrock, the floral emblems of England, Scotland and Ireland, was abandoned following objections by the College of Heralds. As a general rule, the maintenance caps in British crowns are made of crimson or purple velvet, but this crown differed in having a dark blue cap.
Because of the postponement of George IV’s coronation due to the trial of his wife, Queen Caroline, the final bill for the hiring of the stones came to £24,425. After his coronation, the king was reluctant to part with his new crown, and lobbied the government to buy it outright so he could use it for the annual State Opening of Parliament, but it was too expensive. The crown was dismantled in 1823 and has not been worn by any other monarch since then.
Emptied of its jewels and discarded by the royal family, the crown was loaned to the Museum of London by the Amherst family from 1933 until 1985. It was purchased by Asprey in 1987 and later acquired by Jefri Bolkiah, Prince of Brunei, who presented it to the United Kingdom. It had been valued at £376,000 in 1995 for the purposes of an application to export the crown to the United States.
The application was withdrawn during a review by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art. It is part of the Royal Collection and has been on public display in the Martin Tower at the Tower of London since 1996. Diamonds worth £2 million on loan from De Beers are displayed next to the crown to give visitors an idea of how it looked originally.
Although the frame of the crown is the only part that exists, a bronze cast of the crown was made.
A gilt bronze cast of the crown of George IV. The crown is surmounted by a monde and cross pattée above four half arches springing from four crosses, cast with oak leaves and acorns, interspersed with fleurs de lis and a circlet of foliage; with a purple velvet and ermine cap. The crown has a circular gilt-wood base with a glass dome and blue velvet cover Within the monde of the model is a parchment note giving details of its creation.
It was cast from George IV’s Imperial State Crown or Diamond Crown, supplied by Rundell’s for the coronation of 1821. The crown contained an extraordinary 12,314 diamonds. Although the frame of the original survives among the Crown Jewels, the stones were hired only for the coronation ceremony and were later removed from it. This model therefore gives the full impression of how it would have appeared.
George IV did purchase a bronze life-sized model of his crown for £38, on which the inscription reads: “Cast of the Rich Imperial Diamond Crown with which His Most Sacred Majesty King George IV was crowned on 19 July 1821”.