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The Crown of Scotland

The Crown of Scotland is part of the Scottish Crown Jewels, also known as The Honours of Scotland. It is the oldest crown in the United Kingdom and amongst the oldest in Europe. 

Commissioned by James V in 1540, goldsmith John Mosman remodelled the crown from an earlier crown of Scotland which was damaged and in a state of disrepair. 

The cap of the crown is made from red velvet, trimmed with ermine. Four arches featuring oak leaves made from red and gold enamel were added from the old crown, along with 41 ounces of Scottish gold taken from the Upper Clydesdale mine. The gold was added to the circlet at the base of the crown to create the crosses fleur and fleurs-de-lis, which were decorated with 20 precious stones and 22 gemstones, including amethysts, garnets, diamonds, taken from the old crown and 69 freshwater pearls taken from rivers of Scotland.

Taking centre place on top of the crown sits a beautiful ornate orb, believed to have been created by a French craftsman and purchased by James V during a trip to Paris in 1537. The orb is made from dark blue and gold enamel and decorated with tiny gold stars. A beautifully crafted gold cross was placed on top of the orb, featuring seven pearls and a large amethyst. The inscription ‘IR5’ is etched into the back of the cross, referring to ‘Jacobus Rex V.’

The finished crown weighed an impressive 1.64kg and was first worn by James V in 1540 at the coronation of Mary of Guise, which took place at Holyrood Abbey. 

In 1543, Mary Queen of Scots was the first Scottish monarch to be crowned with the new crown of Scotland. Since then, it has been used for most major royal ceremonial events. The most recent was Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral procession in Edinburgh, which took place on 12 September 2022.

The Honours: The Scottish Crown Jewels remain housed within Edinburgh Castle, with The Scottish Crown taking centre place.

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About author

Susan is an Actress, Vocalist, Voice-over artist and Writer. She graduated from the University of Salford with a BA (HONS) Music Degree and spent some time travelling around Europe with various choirs, during which time she also performed in the opening ceremony of the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games before pursuing her acting and writing career.