I hope it’s not too soon to talk about the Coronation of King Charles III.
So far the date for the Coronation has not been set but it will be sometime next year.
I heard that this will be more low key than his mother’s coronation.
HM The King
With that in mind I have some questions…
1. Do you think the gold State Coach of George III will be used? I hear it’s a rather bumpy ride and that might be too much for the King who will be 74 by then.
Golden State Coach
The Gold State Coach is an enclosed, eight-horse-drawn carriage used by the British Royal Family. Commissioned in 1760 by King George III, it was built in the London workshops of Samuel Butler. It was commissioned for £7,562 (£3.54 million = US$4.188 million in 2022, adjusted for inflation). It was completed in 1762.
This coach has been used at the coronation of every British monarch since George IV. The coach’s great age, weight, and lack of manoeuvrability have limited its use to grand state occasions such as coronations, royal weddings, and the jubilees of a monarch. Until the Second World War, the coach was the monarch’s usual transport to and from State Opening of Parliament.
2. Because of his age do you think the Crown of St. Edward may be too large and he’ll use the Imperial State Crown instead?
Crown of St. Edward
St Edward’s Crown is the centrepiece of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. Named after Saint Edward the Confessor, versions of the crown have been traditionally used to crown English and British monarchs at their coronations since the 13th century.
The original crown was a holy relic kept at Westminster Abbey, Edward’s burial place, until the regalia was either sold or melted down when Parliament abolished the monarchy in 1649, during the English Civil War.
This St Edward’s Crown was made for Charles II in 1661. It is solid gold, 30 centimetres (12 in) tall, weighs 2.23 kilograms (4.9 lb), and is decorated with 444 precious and semi-precious stones. The crown is similar in weight and overall appearance to the original, but its arches are Baroque.
After 1689, it was not used to crown a monarch for over 200 years. In 1911, the tradition was revived by George V, and subsequent monarchs (except Edward VIII, who was not crowned at all) have been crowned using St Edward’s Crown. A stylised image of this crown is used on coats of arms, badges, logos and various other insignia in the Commonwealth realms to symbolise the royal authority of the monarch.
When not in use, St Edward’s Crown is on public display in the Jewel House at the Tower of London.
Imperial State Crown
3. Speaking of the Imperial State Crown… Do you think the Imperial State Crown will be modified for the King other than size?
The Imperial State Crown made for Queen Victoria in 1838 is the basis for today’s crown. Made by Rundell and Bridge in 1838 using old and new jewels, it had a crimson velvet cap with ermine border and a lining of white silk. It weighed 39.25 troy ounces (43.06 oz; 1,221 g) and was decorated with 1,363 brilliant-cut, 1,273 rose-cut and 147 table-cut diamonds, 277 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 4 rubies, and the Black Prince’s Ruby (a spinel).
At the State Opening of Parliament in 1845, the Duke of Argyll was carrying the crown before Queen Victoria when it fell off the cushion and broke. Victoria wrote in her diary, “it was all crushed and squashed like a pudding that had sat down”. The empty frame of Victoria’s imperial state crown survives in the Royal Collection.
A new crown was made for the coronation of George VI in 1937 by Garrard & Co. The crown was adjusted for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, with the head size reduced and the arches lowered by 25 mm (1 inch) to give it a more feminine appearance.
King George VI wearing the Imperial State Crown with the higher arches.
Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Imperial State Crown with the lowered arches.
4. What crown will be used for Queen Camilla?
After the Restoration, wives of kings – queens consort – traditionally wore the State Crown of Mary of Modena, wife of James II-VII who first wore it at their coronation in 1685. Originally set with 561 hired diamonds and 129 pearls, it is now set with crystals and cultured pearls for display in the Jewel House along with a matching diadem that consorts wore in procession to the Abbey. The diadem once held 177 diamonds, 1 ruby, 1 sapphire, and 1 emerald. By the 19th century, that crown was judged to be too theatrical and in a poor state of repair, so in 1831 the Crown of Queen Adelaide was made for Queen Adelaide, wife of William IV, using gemstones from her private jewellery.
Queen Mary’s Crown
Thus began a tradition of each queen consort having a crown made specially for their use. In 1902 the Crown of Queen Alexandra, a European-style crown – flatter and with eight half-arches instead of the typical four – was made for Queen Alexandra, wife of Edward VII, to wear at their coronation. Set with over 3,000 diamonds, it was the first consort crown to include the Koh-i-Noor diamond presented to Queen Victoria in 1850 following the British conquest of the Punjab. Originally 191 carats (38 g) and set in an armlet, it was cut down to an oval brilliant weighing 105 carats (21 g), which Victoria mounted in a brooch and circlet.
The second was the Crown of Queen Mary; also unusual for a British crown owing to its eight half-arches, it was made in 1911 for Queen Mary, wife of George V. Mary paid for the Art Deco-inspired crown out of her own pocket and had originally hoped it would become the one traditionally used by future consorts. Altogether, it is adorned with 2,200 diamonds, and once contained the 94.4-carat (19 g) Cullinan III and 63.4-carat (13 g) Cullinan IV diamonds. Its arches were made detachable in 1914 allowing it to be worn as an open crown or circlet.
After George V’s death, Mary continued wearing the crown (without its arches) as a queen mother, so the Crown of Queen Elizabeth was created for Queen Elizabeth, wife of George VI, and later known as the Queen Mother, to wear at their coronation in 1937. It is the only British crown made entirely out of platinum, and was modelled on Queen Mary’s Crown, but has four half-arches instead of eight.
The crown is decorated with about 2,800 diamonds, most notably the Koh-i-Noor in the middle of the front cross. It also contains a replica of the 22.5-carat (5 g) Lahore Diamond given to Queen Victoria by the East India Company in 1851, and a 17.3-carat (3 g) diamond given to her by Abdülmecid I, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, in 1856. The crown was laid on top of the Queen Mother’s coffin in 2002 during her lying in state and funeral. The crowns of Queen Alexandra and Queen Mary now feature crystal replicas of the Koh-i-Noor, which has been the subject of repeated controversy, with governments of both India and Pakistan claiming to be the diamond’s rightful owners and demanding its return ever since gaining independence from the UK.
Love to hear your thoughts!