What are the crown jewels at King Charles’ coronation?

As the crown jewels from King Charles' historic coronation go on display at the Tower of London, we shine a light on the treasures that played a key role in the Westminster Abbey ceremony, from the Imperial State Crown to the Sovereign's Ring. How old are the crown jewels and what are they worth?

By Joshua Hendren

As the crown jewels that featured in King Charles’ coronation go on display at the Tower of London, we shine a light on the historic treasures that played a key role in the Westminster Abbey ceremony. From the Coronation Regalia – St Edward’s Crown, the Sovereign’s Orb, and the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross – to His Majesty’s most treasured keepsake, here are the extraordinary jewels spotted amidst the coronation splendour.

King Charles wears St Edwards Crown
The Coronation of Charles III and his wife, Camilla (Photo by Richard Pohle – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

King Charles’ Coronation Crown

St. Edward’s Crown (Photo by The Print Collector/Getty Images)

During the official ceremony, His Majesty will wear the St Edward’s Crown, which was last used for the crowning of his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1953.

Crafted of solid gold and 444 gemstones, including amethysts, sapphires, rubies, garnets and tourmalines, the coronation crown features a velvet cap with an ermine band. Weighing in at five pounds, it was originally made for the coronation of Charles II in 1661 to replace the medieval crown that was melted down in 1649 after the execution of King Charles I. As the centrepiece of the Crown Jewels, it is only taken out for royal coronations. It is worn briefly at the ceremony when the King is crowned and not worn again.

The Imperial State Crown (Photo by VCG Wilson/Getty Images)

Following the service, King Charles will return to Buckingham Palace’s balcony wearing the Imperial State Crown. Unquestionably the most famous royal crown, it contains nearly 3000 gemstones, including its central stone, the Black Prince’s Ruby, and the Cullinan II diamond. It was worn by Queen Elizabeth II on numerous occasions, including the state opening of parliament. Last September, the Imperial State Crown rested upon the late Queen’s coffin during her lying in state at Westminster and state funeral.

Queen Mary’s Crown

Crown of Queen Mary of Modena (Photo by GraphicaArtis/Getty Images)

Camilla, Queen Consort is to wear a modified version of Queen Mary’s crown for her official coronation ceremony. Made by Garrard for the 1911 coronation, Queen Mary’s crown was commissioned by Queen Mary, the consort of George V.

The Palace previously revealed that the controversial Koh-i-Noor diamond, seized by the East India Company in 1849 and presented to Queen Victoria, and which featured in the late queen mother’s crown in 1937, will not be included in Queen Camilla’s coronation headwear.

Sovereign’s Ring

The Sovereign’s Ring (Photo: Royal Collection)

As symbol of his ‘kingly dignity’ and religious commitment to the Church of England, King Charles will be presented with the Coronation ring – also known as the wedding ring of England – which is placed on the fourth finger of the Monarch’s right hand by the archbishop.

This ring was made for the coronation of King William IV in 1831, who commissioned the British jeweler Rundell, Bridge & Rundell to create the symbolic octagonal sapphire ring with four rectangular-cut and one square-cut rubies, set together to form a cross.

Sovereign’s Orb

The Sovereign’s Orb (Photo by The Print Collector/Getty Images)

When the Archbishop of Canterbury blesses, anoints, and consecrates King Charles, His Majesty will hold the royal orb in his right hand. It is then placed on the altar before the moment of crowning.

A symbol of sovereignty since the Middle Ages, the golden orb was made in 1661 and is studded with clusters of emeralds, rubies, sapphires, diamonds and pearls, with a large cross on the top.

Sovereign’s Sceptre

The Sovereign’s Orb and Sceptre (Photo by The Print Collector/Getty Images)

His Majesty will also hold the Sovereign’s Sceptre, a symbol of the crown’s power and governance originally made for Charles II’s coronation in 1661. In 1910, King George V added the dazzling Cullinan I diamond to the sceptre, the largest stone cut from the great Cullinan Diamond, the largest diamond ever discovered. 

King Charles’ Signet Ring

King Charles III, then Prince Charles, wearing his gold signet ring (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images)

There’s no doubt that King Charles will wear his signet ring, which has rarely moved from his left pinky finger since the mid-1970s. The golden heirloom dates back 175 years, and was last worn by Charles’ uncle, Prince Edward, the Duke of Windsor, who was the Prince of Wales before he ascended the throne.

Gold Armills

Queen Elizabeth II’s Gold Armills (Photo: Royal Collection)

You can also expect the archbishop to adorn King Charles with two gold armills, one on each wrist, which symbolise the monarch’s bond with his people. The shimmering gold bangles are lined with red velvet and were originally made by Garrard for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953.

What are the Crown Jewels worth?

In terms of value the royal jewels are priceless but in monetary value they are valued at between £1.5 and £6 billion

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