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History of the Crown of Scotland as it is placed on Queen Elizabeth’s coffin

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II was adorned with the Crown of Scotland as it laid at rest in St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh. The crown was placed atop the monarch’s coffin on September 12, during a sombre moment watched by King Charles III and Queen Camilla, the Princess Royal, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and Prince Andrew. It is one of four crowns that will play a role in her funeral arrangements.

Made with gold and freshwater pearls selected from rivers within Scotland, the crown also features 22 gemstones and 20 precious stones including garnets and amethysts. It features four gold arches that rise to an orb leading to a gold and enamel cross on top. The crown weighs 3.6 lbs (1.6kg) and was fashioned by Edinburgh goldsmith John Mosman.

The stunning piece has a 500-year-old history and is the centerpiece of the Honours of Scotland- the oldest Crown jewels in the United Kingdom. It was first worn by James V in 1540, at the coronation of his Queen Consort, Mary of Guise after being refashioned from an older, damaged crown of James IV which dated back to at least 1503.

The Honours also include a sceptre and sword. They were first used together in 1543 at the coronation of James V’s daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots, when she was just nine-months-old. It was also used for the coronations of James VI and Charles I, with both taking place at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

In 1651, Charles II also donned the crown for his coronation held in Scone. Following the English Civil War, the crown was moved several times to hide it from Oliver Cromwell’s army.

Cromwell had been determined to destroy the Scottish Crown Jewels and pursued them to Dunnottar Castle near Aberdeen. They were smuggled out and buried until Charles II’s restoration in 1660. The honours were then never used again to crown a sovereign.

The honours were also split up and buried for safekeeping during WWII.

The Crown of Scotland is usually on display in the Throne Room at Edinburgh Castle. It is currently on loan and will be returned in time for the sites reopening on Wednesday.

The Crown, along with the other Honours, were presented to The Queen in 1953, after her coronation, at a National Service of Thanksgiving at St Giles’ Cathedral.

The crown and coffin will remain there on display for 24 hours as mourners are invited to come to pay their respects.

The coffin has also been adorned with the Scottish Standard and a wreath made from flowers picked from the Queen’s Balmoral estate. The arrangement includes spray roses, freesias, chrysanthemums and dried white heather.

Queen Elizabeth’s coffin will leave Scotland on Tuesday and continue the journey to London. Her state funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey on Monday, September 19.

About author

Kylie is a writer, editor and royal commentator. She has written about the royals for some of Australia's best loved magazines including Marie Claire, Who, Royals Monthly and New Idea. When not writing, you'll find her searching for Sydney's best high tea spot. Follow her on Instagram @kyliewallacewrites