The Coronation Regalia Explained 

Ahead of one of the most bejeweled events to have been witnessed in a number of years, the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla promises to be full of the usual pomp and pageantry that we, as a nation, cannot help but be beguiled by. We take a look at the regalia involved in the day and delve a little deeper into the history and facts behind some of the key pieces of the Crown Jewels. 

All photos sourced and credited to Royal Collection Trust 

The Crown Jewels

Consisting of 142 objects which include seven sovereign crowns and 6 consort crowns, the Crown Jewels collection is made up of so many artefacts ranging from the 12th century to the more modern Elizabethan age. These pieces are usually on display behind secure, toughened glass at The Tower of London however, ahead of the Coronation, they have been moved, not least so that King Charles III can actually practice bearing the weight of St Edward’s Crown. 

St Edward’s Crown

At the centre of the Crown Jewels collection is St Edward’s Crown which will be the one used to crown Charles III at the forthcoming coronation.

st edwards crown

Photo credit – Royal Collection Trust

Designed and produced for King Charles II in 1661, this crown was made as a replacement for a medieval crown which had been melted down in 1649. 

It weighs a whopping 2.23kg and there have been monarchs that have been unable to carry its weight. Queen Elizabeth wore it only for a few moments at her coronation.

It is made of 22ct gold and is decorated with 444 semi precious and precious gemstones. 

After 1689 it was not used to crown a monarch until 1911 when King George V revived the tradition.

The Imperial State Crown

Once the ceremony is over, the King will swap St Edward’s Crown for the Imperial State Crown. This is the crown he will wear as he exits the Abbey. Many will be familiar with this crown as it was the one that was placed on the top of Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin. 

Photo credit – Royal Collection Trust

This crown was made for King Edward’s Coronation in 1937 and features three large stones, 2,868 diamonds in silver mounts as well as 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, and 269 pearls in gold mounts. 

It famously features the Cullinan II diamond which is also known as the Second Star of Africa. 

The Queen Consort’s Crown

Camilla, the Queen Consort, will wear a crown made by Garrard that was produced for Queen Mary when she was crowned Queen Consort in 1911 at the Coronation of King George V. This silver framed crown is lined with gold and is set with 2,200 diamonds.

Photo credit – Royal Collection Trust

This crown, produced in 1937 for the coronation of Queen Mary has not been worn by a Queen Consort since – it is the first time a consort crown will have been reused since Queen Caroline’s coronation in the 18th century.

The Sovereign’s Ring

The Sovereign’s Ring was produced in 1831 by Rundell Bridge & Rundell and is placed on the fourth finger of the monarch by the Archbishop of Canterbury during the coronation ceremony.

Photo Credit – Royal Collection Trust

Each sovereign since Edward VII has used the ring which was originally commissioned for William IV – traditionally sovereigns always had a new ring made however since , it is customary for this one to be used. Traditionally always belonging to the monarch and kept in their own private collection. This particular ring was given to the crown in 1901 by Queen Victoria and snow forms part of the Crown Jewels collection.

The Sovereign’s ring consists of a mixed-cut octagonal sapphire which is set in gold and overlaid with four rectangular-cut and one square-cut rubies. These are butted together in a gold strip setting to form a cross with a border of 14 cushion-shaped diamonds and a diamond on each shoulder, with a gold hoop.

The Sovereign’s Orb

Symbolising the Christian world, with its cross on the top and its globe shape, the Sovereign’s Orb represents the sovereign’s power. The band of jewels around the middle of the globe divides it into three sections to represent the continents that were recognised in medieval times. 

sovereigns orb

Photo Credit Royal Collection Trust

The orb is mounted with clusters of jewels – emeralds, rubies and sapphires which are surrounded by rose-cut diamonds and single rows of pearls. The cross is set with rose-cut diamonds. On one side in the centre is an emerald, on the other a sapphire with pearls at the angels and the end of each arm.

This piece is a key part of the coronation ceremony as it is placed in the right hand of the monarch as they are invested. 

The Sceptres

As the sovereign is the head of the Church of England, the sceptres will represent the King’s spiritual role. The dove on the top of the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Dove, represents the Holy Ghost. Also known as the Rod of Equity and Mercy, this is one of two sceptres that will be presented to the King Charles III during the ceremony. The other, the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross is topped by a cross to represent temporal power. 

Photo Credit – Royal Collection Trust

The entire collection features 23,578 stones which include the Cullinan diamonds I and II, the Koh-i-Noor, Black Prince’s Ruby, Stuart Sapphire and St Edward’s Sapphire. The oldest piece within the collection is a 12th century spoon, the most recent, Elizabeth II’s Armills added in 1953.

The current owner of the Crown Jewels is Charles III in right of the crown.